The library recently began lending American Girl dolls and the toys are getting a lot of play time. Volunteers are needed for upkeep of the dolls, including combing their hair, washing their clothes and replacing worn out parts. The position posting reads: “We need someone who enjoys working with dolls and their belongings and who is dependable.”
There would be a weekly commitment, but hours are flexible. Ideal candidates are teens or a parent/child team. Those 18 years and older must consent to a background check.
Interested volunteers should contact Barbara Dean at 703-228-7688 or put in a request online.
Below are a few other new volunteer opportunities around Arlington:
- Community Picnic Volunteers — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is looking for helpers at a picnic it is hosting for residents at Columbia Grove on July 15. Volunteers would help with setup and cleanup, leading games for children, face painting, cooking and distributing food and drinks. The picnic is designed to help residents meet their neighbors and build a sense of community. The event runs from 3:30-7:30 p.m., but arrangements may be made for those who can’t stay the entire time. Anyone interested in helping should contact Liz McElwee at 703-851-3635 or send an online request.
- Angel Tree Family Registration — Although it’s summertime, the Salvation Army is already looking for people to help with its Angel Tree holiday gift program. The program identifies needy children and matches each one with a sponsor who will provide holiday gifts for the child. Volunteers will register needy families for the program and help make holiday wish lists. Helpers must be available on weekdays from September 16-October 11, but the schedule is flexible. Although volunteers who are available on a recurring basis are preferred, those who are only available on a one-time basis will also be considered. To sign up, call Brittney Drakeford at 202-756-2615 or send an online request.
- Spanish Academy Teacher Assistant — Volunteer teacher assistants are needed for Edu-Futuro’s Spanish Academy — a two week (August 12-23) summer immersion camp that provides cultural and academic enrichment and Spanish language skills to rising kindergarteners through fifth graders. Volunteers will perform tasks such as assisting with student registration, helping with classroom activities and watching over students during activities and recess breaks. Applicants should have Spanish language skills (verbal and written), experience working with children and must go through a background check. To sign up, contact Eneida Alcade at 703-228-2560 or send an online request.
Photo via Facebook
All courts, offices, human services facilities, libraries and schools will be closed. Parking meters will not be enforced.
Pools will be open on a holiday schedule. Arlington Transit will also operate on a holiday schedule. Metro will be operating on a holiday schedule, but will be boosting rail service due to the July 4 crowds.
Trash and recycling collection will proceed as normal, as will certain special collections.
All county offices will reopen on Friday, though General District Court will remain closed through the weekend, and the Circuit Court will close at 1:00 p.m.
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Also called Presidents Day, the holiday marks the end of a string of winter federal holidays. The next federal holiday is Memorial Day, on May 27.
In Arlington, all courts, schools, libraries and county offices will be closed. All community centers will be closed, with the exception of the Barcroft Community Center, which will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown pools will be open on a holiday schedule. Monday marks the last day before the pools start their spring schedule.
Trash and recycling collection will proceed as normal.
The Dec. 15 wreath laying, an annual holiday tradition in its 21st year, involved some 20,000 volunteers. The cemetery is hoping to get another good volunteer turnout from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday).
From a military press release:
On Sat., Jan. 26, volunteers are picking up Remembrance Wreaths that were placed on approximately 112,000 gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery, as part of Wreaths Across America.
The event will occur regardless of the weather. Metro use is strongly encouraged due to limited parking. Information on the Metro system is available at: http://www.wmata.com.
Arlington National Cemetery’s Welcome Center will open at 7 a.m. for volunteers. Wreaths Across America leaders will brief volunteers on the cleanup plan at 8:45 a.m. at the Memorial Amphitheater. Visitors, including those with permanent passes, will not be permitted to drive to specific gravesites to visit loved ones until after the wreath cleanup at approximately 1 p.m. Volunteers should expect to stay until 1 p.m. to ensure the wreath cleanup is complete.
The ANC Welcome Center will open at 7 a.m. for volunteers but there will be no access to other locations within the cemetery until 8 a.m. There will be no vehicular access to the cemetery except through the gate to the parking garage until after the wreath cleanup at approximately 1 p.m.
Shuttle service will be available for a fee via ANC Tours by Martz.
Arlington will be accessible to pedestrians only from the following gates:
– Ord-Weitzel: south of the Netherlands Carillon and the Iwo Jima Memorial
– Main: Memorial Drive by the Women’s Memorial and Welcome Center entrance
– Service Complex: (south side) off Columbia Pike between the Air Force and Pentagon Memorials. This gate will close at 1 p.m.
– Fort Myer (northwest side, Fort Myer’s Old Post Chapel Gate) adjacent to the Old Post Chapel
– South Gate: Henderson Hall, Marine Corps Exchange/Service entrance. This gate will close at 1 p.m.
All vehicular access to the cemetery will be through the Welcome Center parking garage. Vehicular access into the cemetery will begin at 8 a.m. Family members with valid entry passes will enter the cemetery through the Welcome Center parking lot. Parking will be in designated areas only. Handicapped parking will be available in the Administrative Building parking lot.
Metro use is strongly encouraged due to limited parking. There are four Metro stops within a mile of a cemetery gate.
– Rosslyn: Orange & Blue lines (.7 mi) from Ord-Weitzel gate, via Iwo Jima Memorial
– Arlington Cemetery: Blue line – cemetery’s primary Metro stop
– Pentagon: Yellow & Blue lines – (.7 mi) access through south Service Complex gate
– Pentagon City: Yellow & Blue lines – (.9 mi) access through south Service Complex gate
TIPS FOR THE CLEANUP:
* Wear gloves
* Bring a device to collect/hold multiple wreaths (such as a broom handle, rake, rope with a board tied to one end) * Wear comfortable walking shoes * Wear weather appropriate clothing
It’s a season for giving, but apparently some scam artists are instead using the opportunity for taking. The Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office is warning residents to watch out for holiday scams, particularly those involving false charities and phishing.
Some groups use names that sound similar to legitimate charities and pressure consumers for donations. They might also offer particularly touching stories in an attempt to garner sympathy and contributions. The AG’s office said many consumers who would typically notice the sketchy “charities” may be too busy or distracted by the holidays to pick up on the normal cues.
Phishing involves using deceptive emails or text messages to obtain usernames, passwords and financial information from a victim. Consumers might receive an email or text message from someone posing as a representative from a bank or retail establishment, saying the customer’s account has been restricted due to unusual activity or too many unsuccessful online login attempts. The scammer then requests bank account numbers, passwords and/or a social security number to reactivate the account.
Some consumers have received fraudulent text messages, emails or phone calls stating they won a gift card from reputable companies such as Target or Best Buy. Scammers might also say the consumer entered a contest at a store. Both of these tactics are used to bait consumers into providing personal information.
In all cases, consumers should avoid handing over sensitive personal information, and should never feel obligated to donate to a charity under pressure. Ask charity representatives who approach you for more information, and do your own research, the attorney general’s office advises. Check the charity’s website, along with resources such as the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance or the National Association of State Charity Officials.
If a charity is legitimate, it will accept your donation at any time and will not need to pressure for donations. Never give cash, and if using a check, make it out directly to the charity instead of an individual person. Do not use money transfer companies to send money to a person you haven’t met.
“My office is committed to helping consumers protect themselves from falling victim to fraud. When it comes to charity scams, especially around the holidays, it is best that people do lots of research and only give money to charities and businesses they can really trust,” said AG Cuccinelli in a statement. “It is our hope that all Virginians can enjoy a joyful and safe holiday season without being taken advantage of by scammers.”
You can file complaints regarding scams on the consumer protection section of the attorney general’s website.
The closures will be in effect on December 24, 25, 31 and January 1, for Arlington County offices, libraries and human services offices. Courts are also closed those days; Arlington Circuit Court will be open from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on December 26, and Arlington General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts will be open from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on December 26.
The ART Information Center and all Commuter Stores will be closed on the previously mentioned four days. On December 24 and 31, ART 41, 42, 51, 77 and 87 will run on a Saturday schedule. On December 25 and January 1, ART 41 and 51 will run on a Sunday schedule. The STAR Call Center will be closed all four days and all standing order rides will be cancelled.
Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center will be open from 6:00 a.m.-noon on December 24 and December 31; all other community centers will be closed. On December 25 and January 1, all community centers, including Barcroft, will be closed.
Arlington Public Schools will be closed from December 24-January 2.
Trash and recycling schedules are as follows:
Dec 24 & 31
- Trash & recycling: normal operations
- Special collection: brush, metal, electronics – normal operations
- No cart repair or mulch delivery service
- Leaf bag collection – normal operations
Dec 25 & Jan 1
- Trash & recycling: regular services not provided. Services available for Tuesday customers on Wed 12/26 and Jan 2
- Special collection: scheduled services not provided
- Leaf bag, brush, metal, electronics, cart repair services available for Tuesday customers on Wed Dec 26 and Jan 2
- Call Center: closed
Dec 26 – 28
- Trash & recycling: normal operations – all services completed by COB 12/29
- Special collection: normal operations – all services completed by COB 12/19
- Call center: normal operations
- Trash & recycling: normal operations – all services completed by COB 1/5
- Special collection: normal operations – all services competed by COB 1/5
- Call center: normal operations
Metrorail will run on a regular weekday schedule on December 24. It will be open from 7:00 a.m.-midnight on December 25 and January 1, and will run on a Sunday schedule. MetroAccess subscription trips are cancelled for those two days. On December 31, Metrorail will run on a normal weekdays schedule, but will remain open until 2:00 a.m. to accommodate those celebrating New Year’s Eve.
Amidst the mad scramble to buy last minute presents or make New Year’s Eve plans, local residents have apparently been making a lot of travel plans. In fact, AAA predicts the region will experience “the greatest exodus from the Washington metro area in the 21st Century.”
More than 41 percent of local residents report travel plans of 50 miles or more during the holiday travel period from Saturday, December 22, 2012 to Tuesday, January 1, 2013. That’s a 2.3 percent increase over last year.
“During Christmas and New Year’s we will experience the highest travel volume this decade, especially by the roadways, the railways, and the waterways,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “The one exception is the airways, and this year, even that is making a comeback.”
90 percent of the travelers, or more than 2 million people, are expected to make their treks via automobile. About 130,000 people will fly out of D.C. area airports, which is about 5 percent higher than last Christmas.
AAA gives some credit for the travel boost to residents’ increased financial stability, along with lower gas and airfare prices.
The Washington Wizards, Mystics and Capitals hosted a holiday party for underprivileged D.C. area families at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston over the weekend.
The holiday party, held from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Sunday, is a tradition for team owner Monumental Sports & Entertainment.
“This year 21 families were adopted through Family-to-Family, an initiative created by the Wizards 16 years ago that provides holiday cheer to underserved, deserving families in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area,” Monumental said in a press release.
At the party, families were able to skate on the Capitals ice, play games, and meet Santa Claus, Wizards mascot G-Wiz, Wizard Girls, Capitals mascot Slapshot and the Red Rockers. The parents were also given gifts, to be opened in celebration of the holidays later this month. The presents were purchased during a $25,000 holiday shopping spree by Wizards and Capitals wives and girlfriends, funded by Monumental.
Photos courtesy Monumental Sports & Entertainment
National Chamber Ensemble’s Annual Holiday Concert — Dec. 16 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — The National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) celebrates the spirit of the holiday season on Sunday, December 16 with a show for the whole family. The performance will feature great music, an international guest artist and outstanding young musicians. An annual tradition, the concert will include seasonal favorites like Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”, a Hanukkah Medley and more. The event will take place at the Spectrum Theatre at Artisphere (1611 N. Kent Street).
Aurora Highlands will get a little brighter tonight, during the annual “Miracle on 23rd Street” holiday celebration.
Linden Resources, Inc. is hosting the holiday festivies including a Christmas tree lighting and holiday music. Santa Claus is scheduled to arrive on an Arlington fire truck.
The event is open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Linden Resources building (750 S. 23rd Street). In addition to the outdoor activities, guests are invited to take part in multi-cultural children’s activities inside the building.
Linden Resources employs and provides job placement for adults with intellectual, physical and mental health disabilities.
County Proposes Tax Cuts to Lure Advertising Firms — Arlington is proposing to eliminate its tax on media buy receipts in the hopes of luring a new advertising firm, and keeping the existing ones. Trying to reduce the tax in 2004 didn’t have the desired effect, and there are now fewer advertising agencies in Arlington than there were in 2004. The suggestion is to eliminate the tax by early 2013. [WTOP]
Gifts that Give Hope Fair — Fifteen locally based non-profit organizations will participate in the second annual Arlington Gifts that Give Hope Fair tomorrow (December 8) at Calvary United Methodist Church (2315 S. Grant Street). During the alternative gift fair, shoppers can choose to donate for a specific gift, such as an “apartment application fee for one family as they leave a shelter” or “a prescription for a sick child.” The fair runs from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and features holiday music, face painting, crafts, refreshments, special $5 items for children to contribute and a visit from Santa from 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Professional Racquetball Tournament — Some of the world’s top professional women’s racquetball players will participate in the 2012 Christmas Classic this weekend, including #11 ranked T.J. Baumbaugh of Reston and #39 ranked Paola Nunez of Falls Church. The event will take place throughout the weekend (today through Sunday) at the Crystal Gateway Sport and Health Club (1235 S. Clark Street). A list of start times for each player is available online.
Library’s Holiday Tunes Released — The Arlington Public Library has released its fifth annual “Too Cool for Yule Blog,” which includes about an hour of holiday tunes. While some of the songs are standard holiday favorites, the blog offers versions by some non-traditional artists (such as Cee Lo Green singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch). Purists, fear not. The list also features classics from Louis Armstrong, Andy Williams and the late Dave Brubek, who passed away on Wednesday. [Arlington Public Library]
Rosslyn Lights Up Tonight — The 19th annual Light Up Rosslyn night is tonight. The holiday event is taking place from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. in front of the WJLA building (1100 Wilson Blvd). Local officials will flip a big switch to “light up” the Rosslyn skyline. In addition, there will be musical groups performing and free hot cocoa, chili, cider and cookies. [Rosslyn BID]
Reduction in Blue Line Service Planned — Metro plans to further reduce service on the Blue Line when the Silver Line to Tysons Corner opens. With the Silver Line in operation, perhaps by the end of 2013, Blue Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and Largo, during both peak and off-peak hours. [Washington Post]
More Commuters Are Using Transit — Updated at 10:10 a.m. — There has been a significant jump in the number of Arlington residents using mass transit as their primary means of commuting to work, according to U.S. Census figures. In 2011, 28.4 percent of residents used transit, compared to 23.3 percent in 2000. [Sun Gazette]
Winter is Coming — This week is Winter Preparedness Week. Though the weather might have been warm over the past few days, Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management is advising residents to take steps to prepare for winter weather. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
From gift wrapping to assisting Santa, volunteers are needed to help with a number of upcoming holiday events. More information about the items listed below, as well as other volunteer opportunities, can be found online.
- The Holiday Project of the National Capital Area seeks volunteers for one-on-one visits with local nursing home residents on Christmas Day. Many of the residents will not have any other visitors during the holidays, so they consider this time a special treat. Children are welcome and pets are welcome with advance notice. For information or to sign up, contact Robin Wiley at 703-370-0370.
- Deliver gifts to local children with incarcerated parents as part of Offender Aid Restoration‘s annual Project Christmas Angel program. Volunteers pick up the gifts on Thursday, December 13 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. and deliver them from December 14 through December 23. Each child receives a gift with a personalized note from their parent. Volunteers must have a car and a valid driver’s license. A partner is suggested (though not required) because parking in some neighborhoods can be a challenge. Contact Emily Freeman at 703-228-7031.
- The Civitan Club of Arlington needs help at the Photos with Santa booth at the Ballston Mall. Volunteers are needed from now through December 24 and must be at least 15-years-old. Helpers will perform various tasks including processing orders, taking photos, printing photos and directing people through the process. Contact Leandra Finder at 703-473-7245.
- The Reading Connection (TRC) seeks “Gift Wrap for Reading” volunteers for various shifts from December 8-24. Volunteers will gift wrap purchases at the Clarendon Barnes & Noble in return for donations to TRC. Contact Stephanie Berman at 703-528-8317 x10 or sign up online.
The food drive will run from Saturday, Dec. 1 to Friday, Dec. 21. Firefighters will collect non-perishable food donations at fire stations in Arlington and Falls Church, and at the county government building at 2100 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse. The donations will then be sent to AFAC, which is based in the Shirlington area.
AFAC is most in need of items like cereal, flour, cooking oil, pasta or canned tuna, according to a press release. The organization serves more than 4,000 adults and children on an average week.
“It’s a myth that no one in Arlington goes hungry,” Arlington Fire Chief James Schwartz said in a statement. “Every week, thousands of families and children need our help, just to survive. The men and women of ACFD want to do what they can to help our community, especially during this special time of year.”
The fire department will not be participating in the annual “Toys for Tots” drive this year.
In addition to the ACFD food drive, Arlington County will be running its annual Secret Santa program, which collects gift cards to be donated to needy families, seniors and Foster children.