(Updated at 10:55 a.m.) A new Arlington-based nonprofit is looking to make the lives of female military personnel overseas more comfortable.
Spa Swag for Warriors is a women-owned charity that sends high-quality bath products — such as lavender-scented face wipes, skin creams, loofahs, shampoo, conditioner and lotion — to female service members serving abroad.
CEO and founder Lacey Chong said she started the organization after speaking with her friend Becca, a Marine Corps officer who was helping with the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The Marine told Chong about the limited access to bath products, which prompted Chong to collect items and send them over for Becca and other women to use “after a hard day of work serving our country.”
“Female soldiers put up with a lot overseas — unsanitary conditions, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual assault and long hard days,” Chong said in a press release. “I think women instinctively understand that providing restorative products to deployed female service members can have an immediate impact on their morale and well-being.”
The nonprofit’s goal is to bring comfort to female service members, Chong said.
“We… aim to improve the morale and well-being of deployed female service members by providing high quality bath and body products,” she said.
The organization has mailed care packages across the world, including to countries in West Africa, East Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“The items are hand-picked from socially responsible companies,” said the press release. “So far, the organization has been successful in securing donations of most-wanted items from companies such as Cate McNabb, Tom’s of Maine, Murad and Arbonne.”
The non-profit is looking for donations of the most-wanted bath products, including dry shampoo, eye cream, makeup remover and sleep masks. Donations can be mailed to Spa Swag for Warriors at P.O. Box 17207, Arlington, VA 22216.
Photos via Spa Swag for Warriors
NORAD Flyover Exercise Tonight — NORAD will conduct a flyover exercise tonight that may be noticed by Arlington residents. The exercise will take place between midnight and 2:00 a.m. [Twitter]
Bean Kinney Attorney’s Attack Detailed in Court — In court testimony in Fairfax County, attorney Leo Fisher and his wife, Susan Duncan, described the vicious home invasion attack allegedly carried out by the husband of an attorney Fisher fired at the Arlington law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman. Fisher said the man “slit my throat” and Duncan described being stabbed repeatedly in the upper body and being nearly shot in the head. [Washington Post]
No ‘Real Solution’ Yet for Pike Transit — An urban design and transportation writer is alleging that Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt has yet to propose an effective alternative to the planned Columbia Pike streetcar system he helped to scuttle. [Greater Greater Washington]
More School Board Endorsements — In the race for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board, candidates have picked up some key endorsements in the past week. Former School Board member and current County Board member Libby Garvey says she’s endorsing Sharon Dorsey, as is former School Board member Frank Wilson. Reid Goldstein, meanwhile, has picked up the endorsements of County Board Chair Mary Hynes and former School Board member Ed Fendley.
Flickr pool photo by Alves Family
New Democratic County Board Contender — A field of six has been finalized for the Democratic Arlington County Board primary. The candidates include all five who spoke before the Arlington County Democratic Committee earlier this month, plus Bruce Wiljanen, “who is largely unknown to the Democratic political establishment.” [InsideNova]
New Tenant for Fmr. Marvelous Market Space — Empty for years, the former Marvelous Market storefront at 888 N. Quincy Street in Ballston has a new tenant. The space is being built out as an office for the real estate sales and marketing firm Smith | Schnider.
Coming Soon: More Dedicated Bus Lanes — A mile of dedicated bus lanes for the new Metroway route are set to open in Arlington this summer. Another 1.3 miles of peak-hour bus lanes are also planned. The route runs from the Braddock Road Metro station in Alexandria to Crystal City. [Washington Post]
Medal of Honor Recipients in Arlington — On Tuesday, 26 living recipients of the Medal of Honor flew in to and then attended a luncheon at Reagan National Airport. The following day, on national Medal of Honor Day, they gathered for a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. [Army Times, Stars and Stripes]
Grant for APS Program — Arlington Public Schools has received a $25,000 grant from Rosslyn-based Graham Holdings to support the school system’s award-winning Traveling Trolley summer reading initiative. [Arlington Public Schools]
Chuy’s Eyes Arlington — “Quirky Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant chain” Chuy’s is reportedly eyeing a possible Arlington location. The company is hoping to nearly a dozen restaurants in the D.C. area by 2017. [Washington Post]
System Upgrades at Library — Due to system upgrades, Arlington Public Library’s online catalogs, account information and research databases are not accessible today. [Arlington Public Library]
ACPD Chief Defends Use of Military Gear — As a national debate continues over the use of military hardware by local police departments, Arlington County Police Chief Doug Scott tells CNN that such gear is necessary for ACPD and can save lives. [CNN]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
APS To Use ‘Big Data’ to Prevent Dropouts — Arlington Public Schools held a contest this summer for “big data” companies to analyze its student performance data, and plans to use the newly-released results to predict which students are at risk of dropping out of school. The winning company, Deep Learning Analytics, found that APS should refine its data collecting techniques. In addition, it found that, along with attendance, behavior and coursework, socioeconomic standing is a predictive indicator for school dropouts. [Arlington Public Schools]
Military Jet to Land at DCA — The Scorpion, a new military fighter jet, will land at Reagan National Airport on Saturday. The jet — manufactured by Textron AirLand LLC — will stay in a DCA hangar for a week, for marketing purposes. [InsideNova]
County Launches New Blog — Arlington County has launched “Natural Arlington,” a new blog to discuss environmental issues in the county. Recent topics include a discussion of green frogs, the environmental issues with dog poop, and a post about the sale of native plants at local nurseries. [Natural Arlington]
Road Closure for Street Fair — Part of 9th Street S. will be closed in the area of Walter Reed Drive for the annual Prio Bangla Potho Mela street fair. The event is taking place Saturday morning. [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Bill Ross
Traffic Impacts Due to Military Funeral — Military officials are warning of possible traffic impacts in Arlington due to a full honors funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene will be laid to rest today beginning at 2:00 p.m. A Falls Church resident, Greene was killed on Aug. 5 in Afghanistan; he’s the highest-ranking U.S. military casualty since Vietnam. Officials say Greene’s funeral could impact traffic on Washington Blvd at the Fort Myer exit and on Route 110 at Marshall Drive.
Partisans Support Nonpartisan Redistricting — Democrat Rip Sullivan and Republican Dave Foster, candidates for the 48th District House of Delegates seat, agree on at least one thing: that Virginia’s redistricting process should be nonpartisan. While support for nonpartisan redistricting may be growing, it is unclear if it could pass the General Assembly. [InsideNova]
Capriotti’s Opening Nears — Originally slated to open on July 29, the new Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop at 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn now has a new opening date. A spokeswoman says the shop — the Delaware-based chain’s first in Virginia — will first open to the general public on Monday, Aug. 25.
County Fair Carnies Profiled — Who are those smiling carnival workers working the rides and games at the Arlington County Fair? They’re fun-loving nomads who sleep in bunkhouses and travel throughout the East Coast and the South during fair season. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
(Updated at 6:00 p.m) A walk-in studio art facility for veterans and active-duty service members plans to open Oct. 15 in Crystal City.
Alexandria-based The 296 Project launched a Kickstarter on July 24 with a $30,000 goal to fund the 1,100-square-foot space, which it calls “A Combat Veteran’s Healing Place.” The studio will be located in a retail space at the Shops at 2100 Crystal Drive.
Kickstarter proceeds will go toward renovation materials, art supplies and equipment for the facility, which will cater to service members with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a press release.
“When the suffering is so strong words can barely describe it, when no one understands, when there’s no support system, this new facility allows our men and women in uniform to tell their stories with a paintbrush, clay, pen and pencil, chalk, through music, digital design, 3D design, spoken word or through poetry,” Scott Gordon, executive director of The 296 Project, told ARLnow.com in an email.
The project plans to give service members a place to explore art as well as socialize. It plans to provide art therapists with a space for seminars, art classes and group therapy sessions, although it will not be a therapy-providing entity, according to The 296 Project spokesperson Rebekah Wiseman.
The general public will be allowed in, according to the organization, so it can learn more about the community of service members with PTSD and TBI who are helped by art and expressive therapies.
“With or without a PTS/TBI diagnosis, our facility, our seminars, workshops, etc., will be therapeutic,” Wiseman wrote.
Service members will have to provide records to prove that they are or were members of the military, said Wiseman. The facility plans to be open six days of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
“We believe we can save thousands of lives in the Northern Virginia area alone,” Gordon said. “This is just too important not to support.”
The Kickstarter will accept contributions until Sept. 22. Currently, the project has six backers and has raised $710.
Images courtesy The 296 Project
Arlington County has hired a lobbying firm to help facilitate a planned land swap between the county, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Department of Defense.
As outlined in a memorandum of understanding last year, the county is planning to hand over the right-of-way for Southgate Road, near the Air Force Memorial, to the DoD, which plans to use the land — along with the former Navy Annex grounds and part of the state’s current Columbia Pike right-of-way — for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery’s burial grounds.
As revealed in a recent public disclosure, the county has hired Alexandria-based lobbying firm Congressional Strategies LLC to help move the transaction along. The land swap has already passed the House of Representatives and is now included in the under-consideration U.S. Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, according to Brian Stout, the county’s federal liaison.
The county’s contract with Congressional Strategies calls for a $5,000 monthly retainer for all services and runs through October, with an option to be extended through June 2015, according to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius.
“The purpose of the lobbying contract is to facilitate and bring to closure the Navy Annex Land Exchange project,” Curtius said. “This involves advocacy in both the legislative and executive branches to supplement the efforts of County staff.”
The land swap will benefit the county in several ways.
Arlington will receive a sizable parcel of land south of Columbia Pike, on which the county hopes to build an Arlington County and Freedman’s Village history museum, additional parking and facilities for the Air Force Memorial, and other amenities that do not detract from “the dignity, honor, and solemnity of Arlington National Cemetery.”
Also, the exchange will facilitate a realignment of Columbia Pike and its intersection with S. Joyce Street. The realigned Pike will take a more direct path to S. Joyce Street, through the former Navy Annex parking lot, and will provide a better alignment for the future Columbia Pike streetcar.
In addition to an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery, the DoD plans to use some of the land in the swap, near the Pike/Joyce intersection for a future visitor center for the Pentagon Memorial. The Senate is expected to vote on the NDAA later this year.
Residents and out-of-town visitors alike took part in Memorial Day observances around Arlington this past weekend.
Warm and sunny weather helped drive large crowds for stalwart annual events like the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally and the wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
Thousands of bikers participated in Rolling Thunder, which first rumbled into Arlington Friday afternoon and culminated here with a large rally in the Pentagon parking lot Sunday morning. The motorcyclists, who ride in remembrance of American service members killed, missing or taken prisoner during war, later rode across the Memorial Bridge into the District for a speakers program and concert.
On Monday President Barack Obama — who had just returned from visiting troops in Afghanistan — traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The wreath-laying was followed by the annual Memorial Day service at the cemetery’s amphitheater, during which the president thanked troops and veterans for their service to the country.
In Clarendon Monday afternoon, Arlington’s VFW Post 3150 and American Legion Post 139 together dedicated a new plaque at the Clarendon War Memorial. The plaque commemorates the Arlington County residents who have given their lives during the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Chief Petty Officer Joel E. Baldwin, USN, Iraq (December 21, 2004)
- Captain Michael P. Cassidy, USA, Iraq (June 17, 2010)
- Lance-Corporal Niall W. Coti-Sears, USMC, Afghanistan (June 23, 2012)
- Specialist Adam M. Kuiligowski, USA, Afghanistan (April 6, 2004)
- Second Lieutenant Sean P. O’Connor, USA, Iraq (October 19, 2008)
- Lieutenant Colonel James J. Walton, USA, Afghanistan (June 21, 2008)
Do you have other photos of Memorial Day observances around Arlington? Add them to our Flickr page or upload them in the comments.
About 50 members of the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment delivered nearly 700 pounds of donated food to the Arlington Food Assistance Center this morning.
In case the donation wasn’t impressive enough, the soldiers delivered the food on foot, marching 4 miles from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall to AFAC’s building in Shirlington with rucksacks on their backs.
The 3rd Infantry Regiment is also known as the Old Guard. The donation was made by the Old Guard’s 4th Battalion, which consists of ceremonial companies, a military police company, and the guards of the Tomb of the Unknowns, among others.
The food will be distributed ” to the 1,800 families that seek food from us each week,” according to AFAC communications manager Clare McIntyre.
Photos courtesy Clare McIntyre/AFAC
The newly renovated ice rink at Pentagon Row will celebrate a special holiday event for military families on Friday (November 22).
Tomorrow is Military Tribute Night from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the rink. All members of the military and their families will skate free with a military ID.
The rink’s grand re-opening celebration will still take place from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. There will be snow at the ice rink every night from December 7 through January 1, at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
More information about regular hours and pricing can be found online.
The congressman, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the military surge in Afghanistan, strongly supports a “surgical strike” against Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities. The Syrian government, which is battling rebel forces, is accused of killing nearly 1,500 civilians in a chemical attack outside Damascus.
President Obama has called on Congress to authorize a military strike, but public support is still thin and congressional authorization is in doubt. Moran blamed former President Bush and the Iraq war for the lack of American public support and the recent vote by the British Parliament against military intervention in Syria.
“I was adamantly opposed to the invasion of Iraq because I knew that the information being presented was specious… we were cherry picking information to reach a conclusion that the administration had already come to,” Moran told ARLnow.com Tuesday afternoon. “What’s happening today, the vote by the British Parliament and the reluctance of the American people to respond to what [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad is doing in Syria is a direct legacy of the Iraq war… the fact that the world was deliberately misled by the Bush administration to go into a war of choice.”
On Syria, however, Moran is convinced.
“The evidence is irrefutable, that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against innocent people,” he said. “There’s no question in my mind about the verifiability of that information.”
While supportive of the president and his call for military action, Moran said he would have preferred the president use his authority as Commander-in-Chief to strike Syria without congressional approval.
“I feel strongly that President Obama was right to draw a red line against weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “I’d like to see the president to follow through on his original instincts to execute a surgical strike against the capability of Assad’s military to ever use chemical weapons again.”
“Of course he should have” authorized airstrikes, Moran continued. “It’s what Reagan did and what Clinton did. I think that if the vote were held today, it would lose. That’s why the president was wrong to leave the credibility of the United States and the viability of his presidency in the hands of the most dysfunctional Congress in modern history.”
Is NSA leaker Edward Snowden a heroic defender of liberty or a reckless turncoat?
Fein — who served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Reagan Administration and called for the impeachment of President Obama in 2011 — is an outspoken supporter of Snowden and his disclosure of massive government surveillance programs. He also serves as the attorney for Snowden’s father.
Fein compared Snowden to Paul Revere at the Monday night event. That angered one woman in the audience, whose husband is on active duty in the military.
“[Snowden] has put military members like my husband, who is deployed overseas, in danger,” she said during the question-and-answer portion of the event. “If you ask people in the military intelligence community whether they consider him a whistleblower or a traitor, I can tell you overwhelmingly, they consider him a traitor.”
Fein was unapologetic.
“Your husband shouldn’t be there at all, he’s there because of a violation of the Constitution,” he said. “I think the greater crime was flouting the Constitution and sending people to send unconstitutional wars not for our liberty but for people who have no loyalty to the United States whatsoever and never will.”
Charles Hokanson, chairman of the Arlington County Republican Committee, took exception to Fein’s response, writing on Facebook at the time: “He just offended a military spouse so badly with his cavalier attitude to the safety of our soldiers abroad fighting in places he doesn’t think we belong that she just left the room.”
“I asked him to write her a letter of apology,” he continued. “I hope he does!”
A letter from Fein was later posted on the event’s Facebook page, sparking an intra-party debate over whether the letter was sufficiently apologetic or necessary in the first place. The discussion included more than 120 posts as of last night, but had been removed as of this morning.
Video via Bruce Majors
A grand jury returned the indictment this afternoon, a month after prosecutors dropped a sexual battery charge against Krusinski, who’s accused of grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman in Crystal City.
Prosecutors said changing the venue, from General District Court to Circuit Court, and changing the charge, from sexual battery to assault and battery, were largely procedural moves unrelated to the facts of the case. Krusinski’s arrest in May helped to spark a national conversation about sexual assault in the military.
A trial date is expected to be set on Thursday in Arlington Circuit Court.
Moran, Wolf Visit Gitmo — Last Friday, Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) visited the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, where suspected foreign terrorists are held and interrogated. Moran, who has said that keeping the facility open “is not worth the damage it continues to inflict on our international standing,” said after the trip that he hopes to work out a compromise with Wolf, who supports keeping the facility open. [Sun Gazette]
Shirlington Oktoberfest Date Set — This year’s Shirlington Oktoberfest, the largest of its kind in N. Va., will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5. Over 50 breweries will be represented. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]