Since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes almost five years ago, Alex Simmons has worked to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) — and like in basketball, he has succeeded in a major way.
Alex, a freshman at Washington-Lee High School, has raised over $45,000 for the foundation. Every year, Alex along with his family, friends and basketball teammates join “Alex’s Terminators” for the JDRF walk in D.C. This year’s JDRF walk will be held on Sunday, June 5.
Over the past five years, about 100 people have helped Alex raise funds, participating in donation parties, 3-v-3 basketball tournaments, a silent auction and other events.
“The basketball community in Arlington has been happy to support Alex and his family,” said Bill Maddox, a family friend and Alex’s former coach. “He is a special kid and talented athlete who does not let the challenges of diabetes keep him from working hard on and off the court.”
Aside from his prolific fundraising, Alex spends much of his time on the basketball court, playing on Arlington Travel Basketball and AAU teams along with his school teams — previously at Gunston Middle School, now at Washington-Lee. In 2014, he received the travel basketball program’s Russell Quinn MVP award for his athleticism, sportsmanship and skill.
“When I found out I had diabetes, what I most worried about was if I could play basketball. I really enjoy basketball and it has helped me go through this process with diabetes because the activity required to play the game helps me maintain a stable blood sugar level,” said Alex.
Because of his diabetes, Alex has to check his blood sugar levels regularly and he also needs to inject himself with insulin six to eight times a day. Along with the constant shots and finger pricks, he also finds it difficult to maintain stable blood sugar levels due to growth and his love of food.
Throughout it all, however, Alex has maintained a positive attitude.
“I am not on this journey alone, and my close friends, family and relatives make this process much easier for me,” he said. “I know that people donate money to JDRF not only for me, but for all the children throughout the country who don’t have it as easy as I do.”
Photos courtesy Kathy Mimberg
Buyers Found for Market Common — A pair of buyers has reportedly been found for the Market Common mixed-use development in Clarendon. Regency Centers and AvalonBay are said to be partnering to buy the shopping center and apartment complex for $410 million. [GlobeSt.com]
Lyon Park Gun Store Opens — After a month of controversy, Nova Armory opened its doors on Saturday, with dozens of gun enthusiasts showing up to support the store. In a rally nearby, local lawmakers urged residents to continue the fight against the store, but said that due to Virginia law there was nothing else they could legally do to prevent the shop from opening. [Washington Post]
Teen Employment Expo Scheduled — Teens seeking summer jobs and employers seeking seasonal help will be meeting next month at Arlington’s 2016 Teen Summer Expo. The expo, on April 23 at Wakefield High School, is expected to attract some 1,200 teens looking for summer jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities. [Arlington County]
Arlington Tech Event Tomorrow — There’s one day left before ARLnow.com’s Arlington Tech discussion and networking event. The event is taking place starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Highline RxR (2010 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City. Food and a drink will be provided. [Eventbrite]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The Arlington County Fair is generally a fun, family-friendly event, but violence prompted police to close it early Friday night.
Officers assigned to provide security at the fair called for backup around 10:15 p.m. Friday after several fights involving groups of teenagers broke out.
Police arrived, detained several teens and made the decision to shut it down before the 11 p.m. closing time.
“Due to the fights and the threat to the public, the fair was closed about half an hour early,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “Officers escorted patrons off the fairgrounds. The crowd was dispersed and there were no additional incidents.”
The teens who were detained by police were banned from the fair and turned over to their parents, Sternbeck said.
Police continued to maintain “a visible presence at the fair” over the weekend as planned. No other incidents of note occurred Saturday or Sunday, according to Sternbeck.
Arlington Scores Lidl HQ — Arlington County will be the home of the new $77 million U.S. corporate headquarters of Lidl, a discount German grocery chain that’s seeking to expand in the United States. The headquarters is expected to create 500 new jobs in Arlington and will anchor the National Gateway office development near Potomac Yard. “Lidl chose Arlington for its U.S. corporate headquarters because of our commitment to diversifying our economy, a terrific workforce, regional transit connections and access to a major airport,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. [Arlington County]
Arlington Teen Advances in Singing Competition — Kenmore Middle School student Samantha Rios, who is competing on the Telemundo singing program “La Voz Kids,” has advanced to the semifinals and is now being coached by Reggaeton musician Daddy Yankee. [Washington Post]
Young Republicans Blast Anti-Gun-Store Tactics — Opponents of a gun store that’s trying to open in Cherrydale are urging their supporters to confront the owners of the store and the shopping center in which it’s opening in person. That has Republicans crying foul. “Having exhausted reasonable avenues, the anti-gunners encourage their flock to harass property owner,” said the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans. [Twitter]
Immigration Center to Open in Crystal City — A planned immigration services center in Crystal City, which has been delayed due to legal wrangling over President Obama’s executive action deferring the deportation of certain illegal immigrants, is now reportedly set to open soon. Hundreds of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will be working out of the office building at 2200 Crystal Drive, processing immigration applications and petitions. [Breitbart]
Praise for ‘Alice’ Production — The Encore Stage and Studio production of “Alice in Wonderland” is garnering critical kudos for its star, Brandi Moore, a Harvard-bound Washington-Lee High School senior. The show wraps up its run this weekend at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre at 125 S. Old Glebe Road. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Rosslyn Jazz Fest Street Closures — A number of lane and street closures will be in place for most of the day on Saturday for the 2013 Rosslyn Jazz Festival. The festival itself runs from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. The closures will be in place from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., in the area of Gateway Park. [Arlington County]
Road Closures for 9/11 5K Race — Several roads in the Pentagon City area, including parts for Route 110, Army Navy Drive, Washington Blvd and S. Joyce Street, will be closed Saturday night for the annual Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff Memorial 9/11 5K race. The closures will first go into effect at 5:45 p.m. [Arlington County]
‘Cheesemonger’ Katie Carter Profiled — Katie Carter, the cheesemonger for Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway), recently placed third in a national cheese contest. The honor was the culmination of the D.C. native’s nearly lifelong love of cheese and cheesemaking. (Now expecting her second child, Carter is taking a break from her “Your Cheesemonger” column on ARLnow.com.) [Washington Post]
Teen Tutors Needed — Affordable housing nonprofit AHC Inc. is again looking for volunteer tutors. AHC’s tutoring program has served at-risk teens in Arlington for more than 15 years. [AHC Inc.]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
Alcohol use among Arlington teens is down, and a recent trip for a group of high school students was organized to help continue that trend.
Data from the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families shows that the percentage of Arlington high school students that reported recently drinking alcohol decreased by eight percent from 2004 to 2010. In an effort to keep that number declining, Arlington’s READY Coalition sponsored a trip for Arlington students and their School Resource Officers — Arlington County police officers assigned to schools — to attend the 29th Annual Youth Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP) conference last week.
Ten students were selected by their SRO, and two additional students were chosen by the READY Coalition, which paid the registration fee to send the group to Longwood University, in Farmville, Va., for the week.
“Each high school resource officer picked the people they thought would be good leaders in trying to get their peers to get on board with an anti-drinking and anti-drug club and to help spread the message,” said Corporal Jim Tuomey, who accompanied the students to the conference.
APS students have attended this conference before, but last week was their first appearance in over ten years.
“We decided to take a group of teens to the conference for the purpose of trying to find better ways to outreach to the high school community,” said Phillip Leverett, the Youth Outreach Coordinator for the READY Coalition.
The 2013 results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey are still pending, but the 2011 YRBS shows that two thirds of Arlington teens do not consume alcohol on any given weekend, a surprising number considering that a decade ago teen drinking appeared to be on the rise.
Hundreds of students attend the YADAPP conference — which is presented by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control — every year to listen to speakers and participate in workshops. Students work in teams of four and create a Strategies To Act Now (STAN) prevention plan specific to their community that they will implement upon their arrival home.
Kateri Gajadhar, a student at the conference and chair of the Teen Network Board’s Drug and Alcohol Committee, is laying the ground work for an “Above the Influence” club at Washington-Lee.
“It helped me see ideas that have worked and things that didn’t work,” said Gajadhar about YADAPP. “It was good to interact with people who are doing the same things in different places to see what we can do here to effectively expand to older age groups.”
Fish and Wildlife Office to Leave Arlington — On the heels of the decision to move the National Science Foundation from Arlington to Alexandria, the General Services Administration is expected to announce soon that the Fish and Wildlife Service is leaving, as well. The Dept. of the Interior agency, which occupies three office buildings in Ballston, is “seeking a less expensive space option outside Arlington.” [Washington Business Journal]
Restaurant Fire in Crystal City — A fire broke out in the kitchen of Cafe Manna in Crystal City around 5:30 last night. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the office building at 2345 Crystal Drive. A sprinkler system helped to extinguish the flames before they spread, but the restaurant suffered smoke and water damage.
Mary Marshall Scholars Announced — Arlington County has named the eight local high school students who will receive $1,500 college scholarships as part of the Mary Marshall scholarship program. The scholarships, awarded to those who are pursuing careers in public service, are named after former House of Delegates member Mary Marshall. [Arlington County]
Teen Battle of the Bands This Weekend — Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) will host a teen battle of the bands competition on Saturday. The competition, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., will feature at least 8 local teen bands. The concert was organized by D.C.-area high school seniors as part of a month-long internship at Artisphere. Tickets are $5. [Artisphere]
Army Celebrates Birthday — Today (Friday) is the U.S. Army’s 238th birthday. The occasion will be marked with a wreath-laying ceremony from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. [U.S. Army]
Flickr pool photo by Martin Humm
An officer responded to the 3500 block of N. Nottingham Street around 9:40 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, for a report of a loud party, according to police. Upon arriving, the officer approached the house and observed a large number of young people.
“Numerous” party-goers then began fleeing from the home by jumping over fences into nearby yards, while others started throwing beer cans and bottles at the officer, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Backup units arrived on scene and the remaining partyers were rounded up. In all, 43 people between the ages of 15 and 18 were charged with underage consumption of alcohol.
“Many of them were rude and uncooperative,” Sternbeck said. Another 16 juveniles were released into the custody of their parents without charges after a voluntary breath test revealed no traces of alcohol, Sternbeck said.
“Let’s just say there were a lot of unhappy parents responding to the 3500 block of N. Nottingham Street that night,” said Sternbeck.
No charges have been filed against the homeowner, who was not present at the time of the party but was later reached by police via phone. Police were unable to locate the suspects who threw the cans and bottles at the officer, Sternbeck said.
National Volunteer Week Begins Sunday — The week to honor the thousands of volunteers who serve their communities begins this Sunday, April 21, and runs through Saturday, April 27. County Board Chair Walter Tejada is scheduled to speak at an event on Sunday to thank Arlington volunteers. Opportunities to help out around the county can be found on the Volunteer Arlington website.
Teen Summer Job Expo — On Saturday, April 20, teens and their families can attend an expo to learn about jobs, internships and community service opportunities that are available during the summer. The free event takes place at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. More info can be found online.
Arlington Celebrates Earth Day — Earth Day is on Monday (April 22) and there are a number of green events going on around the county to celebrate. Tomorrow, April 20, is the E-CARE recycling event at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road) and Sunday is the Green Living Expo and Community Earth Week Fair at George Mason Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive). Information about these events and others throughout next week can be found online.
With a little more than a week until Valentine’s Day (February 14), now is a good time to make some plans so all the good reservations aren’t taken. Many restaurants offer special menus for the big day, but there are plenty of other options for celebrating in Arlington besides going out to dinner.
Here is a sampling of some of the more unique ways to treat your Valentine:
- Sip on a special cocktail at TNT Bar‘s (2413 Columbia Pike) “My Bloody Valentine” event, featuring cocktails inspired by “terrible horror movies.” Drinks such as the “Candyman 1992” and “Love Object 2003” can be purchased individually or as part of a tasting menu for two.
- Put on your skates and hold hands while taking a few laps around the ice skating rink at Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce Street). The rink is open until 10:00 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.
- Pacers is spreading the love a little early, with the Love the Run You’re With 5K on Sunday (February 10). Runners will receive colored bibs based on their relationship status — green for single, red for in a relationship and yellow for “it’s complicated.” The race begins at 9:00 a.m. at Pentagon Row and costs $40. Registration is available online.
- Valentine’s Day isn’t just for adults. Teens are invited to take part in the Broken Hearts Party at the Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on February 14. The celebration of love, affection and loss will include decorating broken heart cookies, playing trivia games, listening to music and rating which tear-jerker books require the most tissues. The free event runs from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
- Hire a singing telegram from Potomac Harmony Chorus. A women’s quartet will sing two songs for your loved one and present him or her with a card and box of candy. Pricing is available online. All orders must be placed by this Friday, February 8.
- The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) is serving up wine, comedy and two showings of The Princess Bride. For $8, customers can take in a stand-up comedy show followed by a viewing of The Princess Bride. Tickets are available online for both the 7:00 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. events. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for an optional wine tasting.
Between the successful ballot initiatives that legalized casual marijuana use in Colorado and Washington state, and the news that a seven-year-old child is among those legally using marijuana for medicinal purposes, it might seem like American society is moving toward a more permissive attitude toward pot.
That’s exactly what Arlington’s READY Coalition is trying to fight.
The group — whose name stands for Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol and Drug Use by Youth — will be holding a “town hall meeting” this week called Marijuana in Arlington: What’s the Big Deal? The event will seek to remind teens that marijuana can be harmful.
“In the most recent surveys from Arlington teens we see a disturbing decrease in perceptions of harm regarding marijuana and increasing numbers of teens saying they have used marijuana,” the READY Coalition said in a press advisory. “This forum provides a dialogue about a subject that is typically underrepresented in our community. It will explore some of the dangerous consequences of teenage marijuana use.”
The town hall will feature a panel that includes an Emergency Room doctor from INOVA Fairfax Hospital, a scientist from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an Arlington County police officer, and a “young man with extensive experience with marijuana use in Northern Virginia.” The event will be held at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29.
A 2010 survey found that nearly half of all Arlington 12th graders had, at some point, used marijuana, while just over 1 in 4 had used marijuana in the past 30 days.
Family Remembers Homicide Victim — As Arlington police search for the man who killed a Columbia Pike jewelry shop owner on Friday, the family of the victim is speaking out. The victim’s daughter said her dad, 52-year-old Tommy Wong of Herndon, had owned Capital Jewelers at 3219 Columbia Pike for the past 5 years. “I just want to know why didn’t he take what he needed and leave my dad alone,” she said tearfully in a TV interview. [WUSA 9]
Tobacco Use Down Among Arlington Youth — Arlington youths are using less tobacco but are using more marijuana, according to the latest survey by the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. The survey results point to a continuation of a decade-long trend of declining tobacco use and increasing marijuana use among Arlington youth. [Sun Gazette]
Obituary for Local Business Leader — An obituary has been published for Syd Albrittain, the chief executive of local developer Dittmar Co., who died at the age of 82 last month. In addition to helping Arlington achieve its vision for transit-oriented development, Albrittain gave millions to local organizations like Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School, the Catholic Archdiocese of Arlington, Virginia Hospital Center and the Arlington Free Clinic. [Washington Post]
The show will features eight bands from high schools around the D.C. region, including two from Arlington: New Metro (Yorktown H.S.) and Challenger Deep (Washington-Lee H.S.). Each of the bands in the show writes and performs their own music.
The audience will decide who wins the Battle of the Bands showcase. The winner will receive 32 hours of professional recording time at 4Mile Studios in Arlington.
The show will be held at Artisphere’s Dome Theatre at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. Tickets are $5 and are available online.
The Battle of the Bands is being produced by four teen interns at Artisphere, including Yorktown students Burke Justice and Charlotte Raskovich.
“Artisphere’s Teens Work Experience is a month-long interactive internship for DMV area high school seniors,” Artisphere said in a press release. “The four participants in the program, mentored by Sasha Lord of Sasha Lord Presents, have learned through professional experiences and workshops various aspects of running a performing arts center with the main project being the curation and presentation of a Battle of the Bands.”
Defibrillator’s Batteries Weren’t Charged — Metro General Manager Richard Sarles has ordered a review of the agency’s automated external defibrillator (AED) program after it was revealed that the AED used to try to revive a man suffering a heart attack at the Pentagon Metro station on Monday had “insufficient battery charge.” The man later died. [Dr. Gridlock]
Favola Gets Top Business Rating — State Sen. Barbara Favola was the most “business-friendly” member of the Arlington legislative delegation in 2012, according to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. During her recent campaign Favola was criticizing for taking big donations from real estate developers. [Sun Gazette]
Clock Ticking for River Place Owners — It may be 40 years away, but owners of the 1,720 co-ops and apartments at River Place in Rosslyn may no longer have a home after 2052. That’s because the sprawling residential complex sits on land that the River Place Owner’s Association doesn’t own, but rather leases from an estate. [UrbanTurf]
Man Chases iPad Thief at Airport Metro Station — An alleged 18-year-old thief was eventually apprehended after he reportedly stole an iPad from an auxiliary police officer on a Metro train at Reagan National Airport. The auxiliary cop, whose day job is at the Pentagon, chased the thief and was able to get his iPad back. [Washington Post]
Teen Job Fair This Weekend — The 16th annual Arlington Teen Summer Expo is being held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The event brings Arlington teens, businesses and non-profits together to help teens find “the perfect summer job or volunteer experience.” [Arlington Teen Summer Expo]
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has proposed cutting the $455,000 program, which funds sex education and birth control for teens in seven areas with some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. McDonnell says the program has not worked.
In a statement, Favola said the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) helps teens make healthier decisions.
This is a recipe for unintended pregnancies and significant health risks to young women. Teens need good information to make healthy decisions, but not all of Virginia’s youth are receiving medically accurate information from trusted sources.
The prevention of teen pregnancy is a critical issue in Virginia. In 2010, 367,752 children were born to girls 15-19, nationally. That’s a rate of 34.3 pregnancies per 1000 women. In 2010, 10,970 of those teen pregnancies were in Virginia. That’s a rate of 21.1 pregnancies per 1000 women. Though Virginia’s teen pregnancy rate is below the national average, 28 cities and counties in the Commonwealth are above the national average, and the TPPI program targets areas that are most vulnerable.
TPPI has been a key part of Virginia’s teen pregnancy prevention efforts since 1994. It provides convenient, on-site access to wellness education and preventive health services. TPPI’s goal is for teens to receive medically accurate information, make healthy choices, and provide pregnancy prevention resources. TPPI aims to reduce teenage pregnancy through life skills training, education, health services, and awareness.
The program provides essential services to teenage girls in high-risk areas. It provides convenient, on-site access to wellness education and preventive health services. Not all parents feel comfortable having ‘the talk’ or discussing other topics important for our youth’s health and safety. The only way to ensure teen pregnancy rates continue on their long-term downward trend is to provide teens with the necessary education and resources so they are empowered to make healthy decisions. TPPI helps to inform teens with medically accurate information so they can make safe and responsible decisions.
The governor’s decision to eliminate TPPI’s funding does a great disservice to Virginia’s teens. His proposed budget cut will deprive teenage girls in the most high-risk areas of the state of the critical services and education necessary to make responsible and healthy life decisions.