Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Confusion Over Governor’s Mask Order — “At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam emphasized that Virginia’s new indoor mask requirements weren’t intended to be criminally enforced. But the text of the order (released ~3 hours later) defines a violation as Class 1 misdemeanor.” [Virginia Mercury, Twitter]

Virus Hits Latino Communities Hard — “Fredys Medina, a diabetic construction worker from Arlington County, waved off his wife’s suggestion that he had the virus after he developed a cough and fever in late April, and he continued to work. Two weeks later, he collapsed on the living room floor. By the time paramedics arrived, Medina, 56, was gone. His wife, Leonor Medina, an unemployed hotel housekeeper, was left with an $8,000 funeral bill.” [Washington Post]

Clement Questions County Board Actions — “An independent candidate for the Nov. 3 Arlington County Board race contends that current board members are overstepping their bounds in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Audrey Clement says that the board’s May 19 vote continuing emergency operations gives the government far too much power for too long.” [InsideNova]

Volunteer Award Winners Announced — “Volunteer Arlington, a program of Leadership Center for Excellence, is honored to announce the recipients of the 2020 community volunteer awards which will be presented virtually at Arlington Cares on July 14.” [Volunteer Arlington]

Alleged Armed Robbery in Crystal City — “At approximately 2:56 p.m. on May 23, police were dispatched to the late report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 9:30 p.m. on May 15, the victim was in the area of 18th Street S. and S. Bell Street when he was allegedly approached by seven suspects. One suspect displayed a firearm and threatened the victim. The suspects stole the victim’s phone and wallet then fled.” [Arlington County]

Man Rescued from Potomac Near Chain Bridge — “A man is in the hospital in serious condition this morning after being pulled from the Potomac River [early Tuesday morning] in a daring rescue operation. The incident occurred just north of the Chain Bridge in an area that is extremely difficult to access from land.” [WJLA]

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Morning Notes

Arlington Nat’l Cemetery Time Capsule Opened — “An interdisciplinary team recently unsealed a memorabilia box more than a 100 years old at Arlington National Cemetery, in honor of the Memorial Amphitheater’s centennial. And now, a peek inside the old copper box, along with its historic relics, are available virtually, as ANC hosts it’s first-ever online exhibit starting this week.” [U.S. Army, Washington Post]

Bus Protest on I-395 — A caravan of buses made its way up I-395, through Arlington and into D.C. yesterday. The buses were heading the the National Mall to protest a lack of federal help for the motorcoach industry. [@hhowardWTOP/Twitter, @STATter911/Twitter]

Whitlow’s Reopening Friday — “Open for carry out daily starting this Friday from 4-8pm! Cocktails, Jell-O shots, frozen boozy slushees and a limited menu! Check out the menu and our new online ordering store.” [Facebook]

Rosslyn BID Offering Reopening Consulting — “Today, the Rosslyn BID announced the launch of Rosslyn Ready, a multifaceted program to support and organize businesses in promoting proper safety measures when people are welcomed back into the neighborhood… In just under a week since launch, 90 businesses and restaurants have signed up to be part of the program.” [Press Release]

New Org Looking for Drivers — “Cooperative for a Hunger Free Arlington is looking for volunteers to deliver meals to local Arlingtonians on Thursdays and Fridays for the next few weeks. You must have your own car and a valid license.” [Facebook]

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In celebration of National Volunteer Week, Arlington Free Clinic (AFC) would like to say THANK YOU to our amazing volunteers!

Our 450+ volunteers are the foundation that allows AFC to provide free, high-quality care to our low-income, uninsured neighbors in normal times, and they have enabled us to continue caring for those most vulnerable to being overlooked and forgotten during the COVID-19 crisis. When it would be easy to say, ”I need to look out for me,” they have instead said “What can I do to help?”

From the moment we announced our new protocols last month, volunteers have stepped up — whether it’s a provider offering to learn our new telehealth system, an interpreter signing up to be “on-call” for virtual visits, pharmacists coming in to make sure our patients’ prescriptions get filled, or nurses making check-in calls to ensure patients and their families all are well, informed and have the resources they need.

Thank you for your incredible work and dedication to our mission.

Learn more about Arlington Free Clinic’s continued work during the COVID-19 crisis here.

If you’d like to support us financially, please consider a gift in honor of our volunteers for Volunteer Week.

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Morning Notes

Meridian Pint Closes Temporarily — “I regret to inform you that one of our employees has contracted COVID-19. He was hospitalized and tested positive on Sunday, April 19th after not working in the restaurant for 9 days. In an effort to keep the rest of our staff healthy, as well as ensure the safety of our guests, we have decided to shut down until further notice.” [Facebook via @fritzhahn]

DCA Is a Ghost Town — A series of photos of emptiness at Reagan National Airport can make one envision tumbleweeds blowing through the terminals. [PoPville]

Beyer Critical of Administration’s Supply Chain Management — “A group of House Democrats today raised serious issues with the Trump Administration’s handling of the supply chain for COVID-19 response, and sought improved transparency and federal coordination to mitigate the inadequate, harmful, and dysfunctional engagement.” [Press Release]

Arlington Chamber Holds Volunteer Day — “Local volunteers from various Chamber member businesses and organizations lent a helping hand to area nonprofits as part of the 21st Annual Arlington Chamber Volunteer Day… The projects provided were in accordance with the CDC guidelines to ensure that participants were practicing social distancing.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

No Word Yet on APS Graduation — “Will members of Arlington Public Schools’ Class of 2020 have an in-person send-off to celebrate their achievements? That remains an open question. Bridget Loft, the school system’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, on April 16 said the school system was looking for ‘creative ways’ to celebrate graduation – and neither ruled in nor ruled out some sort of communal send-off ceremony.” [InsideNova]

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This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

(Updated 04/13/2020) Utilizing existing resources and equipment from another program, for the last week Arlington Arts has been sewing masks to be distributed through Arlington County Department of Human Services and the Arlington County Police.

The basic, non-medical grade cloth masks resulting from this effort are being supplied to high-risk populations ranging from homeless shelters and the County jail.

The initiative was conceived and coordinated by the Director of Arts Enterprise, Joan M. Lynch. A professional costumer who formerly ran the Arlington CostumeLab, Joan has many stage and film credits to her name. Working at a safe distance from one another, she and sewing partners Andrea Blackmon and Sharon McDaniel of Arlington Weaves, and Tessa Luque of the Washington Opera started turning out about 50 masks per day. In the week since first posted to social media, the program now has over 100 volunteers.

More volunteers are welcome, and they will be supplied with instructions, fabric, elastic and thread for pick-up, and arrange to drop them off for weekly distribution.

Interested volunteers or those with elastic or fabric to donate toward the effort may email: [email protected].

Arlington Arts is grateful for the outpouring of support from the Community. While there is currently an abundance of volunteers, we still welcome donations of elastic or all-cotton fabric.

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Arlington and Fairfax counties are continuing to report an expected — but concerning — upward trajectory in COVID-19 cases as testing continues to ramp up.

As of noon on Wednesday, Arlington had 46 known coronavirus cases, an increase from 36 cases on Tuesday. Neighboring Fairfax County, meanwhile, saw its reported cases jump to 76, from 43 on Monday.

Statewide, the Virginia Dept. of Health reported 391 cases Wednesday, an increase of about 100 cases compared to one day prior. The state is also reporting 59 hospitalizations, 9 deaths, and 5,370 people tested overall. Most of the known cases are in Northern Virginia.

Arlington is continuing to provide a public outreach effort that includes a local hub for COVID-19 information and a hotline: 703-228-7999. It is also seeking volunteers, via the county’s Medical Reserve Corps, to help with the response to the outbreak.

“Arlington Medical Reserve Corps volunteers have been engaged and supporting the Public Health Division’s COVID-19 response since early February,” Arlington Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick told ARLnow today. “Nearly two dozen volunteers have contributed nearly 400 hours in the past three weeks alone to support call center operations, risk assessment and monitoring, and case investigations.”

Arlington and other Virginia localities are currently taking applications from prospective volunteers.

“We have seen a substantial increase in new volunteers with over 75 new applicants in the past month,” Larrick said. “We are fortunate and proud to have this dedicated team working in our community.”

The county, meanwhile, accepted a grant for the Medical Reserve Corps at its meeting this weekend. From a press release:

The Board accepted $115,000 in federal Urban Area Security Initiative funds for the current fiscal year that will fund a Medical Reserve Corps coordinator position currently funded by the County. The coordinator conducts public health outreach recruitment and training. The County’s Medical Reserve Corps is one of the first groups activated in a public health emergency. Their primary mission is to support the response of the County’s Emergency Support Function 8: Public Health and Medical Services – which is currently activated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coordinator ensures the County has enough pre-credentialed, trained volunteers to deal with pandemics and other health emergencies.

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Morning Notes

It’s Primary Day — Today is Super Tuesday, the presidential primary day in Virginia and 13 other states across the U.S. In Arlington, polls are open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Arlington public schools are closed to students today. [Arlington County, Twitter]

Beyer, Lopez Endorse Biden — Following his decisive victory in the South Carolina primary, former Vice President Joe Biden has picked up endorsements locally from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D). Lopez and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe were stuck in an elevator in Richmond for a half hour yesterday while heading to a Biden event. [Press Release, Twitter]

County OKs Five Scooter Companies — “The lone applicant seeking to provide electric-bicycle service in Arlington has been rejected by county officials, but five operators of electric-scooter devices did make the grade, County Manager Mark Schwartz told County Board members on Feb. 25. The five e-scooter firms – Bird, Jump, Lime, Razor and Skip – were among eight that had sought permission to operate in the county. The other three were rejected for various reasons, including having no speedometers on their devices.” [InsideNova]

Cristol Encourages Volunteering for Erik — “As you may have seen in the news, our colleague and friend, Erik, is facing a tough health challenge…  here’s what we can do for him: Go to a civic association or commission meeting. Volunteer. Embody Erik’s example & make this place better by showing up. And take a picture, and tag it #HereForErik so we can share.” [Twitter]

I-66 Tolling Deemed a Success — “About 700 more people each day total are commuting along the Interstate 66 corridor inside the Capital Beltway now compared to before tolls for solo drivers and an expanded rush-hour period began, and there are also fewer car trips each morning… Virginia state officials have said the goal of the tolls has been to move more people in the corridor, and see the higher count of commuters as a sign the system is working.” [WTOP]

Coworking Space Coming to Courthouse — “Flexible workspace provider Venture X is making its first foray into the Washington, D.C., market, after reaching a deal to take the top floor of the Navy League Building in Arlington, Virginia.” [CoStar]

Cupid the Cat Now Up for Adoption — “Two weeks after undergoing emergency surgery to remove an arrow from his head, Cupid is ready to find a new home. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s veterinary director cleared Cupid on Monday, March 2, for adoption.” [Patch]

ACFD Assists With McLean FireUpdated at 8:25 a.m. — Arlington County firefighters helped Fairfax County’s fire department battle a massive house fire in McLean last night. [Twitter]

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Arlington’s RISE program is looking for volunteers to mentor court-involved high school students.

The program aims to provide a support system for young adults in Arlington County who might not have one at home, program coordinator Erika Yalowitz said. RISE also welcomes the siblings of at-risk students to participate in the activities.

RISE — which stands for Respect, Integrity, Self Esteem and Empowerment — offers group and one-on-one mentor-mentee interactions in sessions that are both recreational and formational, to build lasting quality relationships, Yalowitz said. One part of the program is about self-improvement and planning for the future, while another aspect is mentors and mentees bonding via activities like going to a movie theater or carving pumpkin.

The mentorship program’s goal is to build relationships that will benefit the mentees even after they graduate high school.

“Most [mentees] have stayed at least until they complete high school,” Yalowitz said. “And then when they find a job or when they want to go to college, they have someone in addition to their parents, or their uncles or aunts or teachers at school to give them recommendation letters for a job or for college, and that is very valuable because we are creating a support structure that they didn’t have before.”

The program is currently in need of male mentors. Many of the mentors are women, while a majority of the mentees are boys. Preferably, the program coordinators would like to partner boys with male mentors and girls with female mentors, Yalowitz said.

Those interested in applying can reach out to Yalowitz via email at [email protected].

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John Mingus, an Arlington youth soccer coach, was named National Volunteer of the Year by US Youth Soccer on Saturday.

Mingus began coaching soccer when his first daughter began playing in the spring of 2001. He coached both of his daughters until they began high school. He continued to coach kindergarten boys, first grade and high school girls even after he stopped coaching his daughters’ teams.

He is currently the club manager of the Northwest Lions, the largest club in the Arlington Soccer Association. As club manager, Mingus places new players in separate teams, he recruits the coaches for each team, and sets policies and procedures for the program.

“I love volunteering because I believe strongly in [Arlington Soccer]’s mission,” Mingus said. “I believe Arlington rec soccer is an incredible program that offers kids of all ages to play soccer. It is important to have a program that provides regardless of their ability.”

Mingus began playing soccer mostly as a neighborhood pick-up player growing up, and later played intramural soccer in college and grad school.

With the prize, Mingus received a pass to get free Chipotle burritos for one year.

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Arlington Free Clinic is looking for a few good dentists to join their volunteer team.

The clinic, which is located just off Columbia Pike at 2921 11th Street S., wants to serve more patients than its current paid dental team can handle, and is seeking volunteers to help out.

Arlington Free Clinic is a nonprofit that provides medical care to low-income adults who do not have health insurance. The clinic is volunteer driven and a majority of its funds are donated by people and businesses from the community. It provides primary care, mental health services, physical therapy, and a pharmacy for its patients.

“About five years ago we started a modest dental program,” said Alicia Nieves, the Director of Development and Communications at the clinic. “We gradually filled out our new space using a grant from the Virginia Health Care foundation to increase our staff, dig into dental and truly meet our patient’s needs.”

The clinic also received a $250,000 donation for dental care from a retired Arlington special education teacher in 2018.

More from a press release:

Arlington Free Clinic (AFC) is the only nonprofit providing free, high-quality medical and dental care to low-income, uninsured Arlington adults.

AFC has been caring for Arlingtonians in need for over 25 years. In 2015, AFC expanded beyond medical care and launched a dental program. For the first three years, AFC delivered dental services 24 hours per week using space donated by Arlington County.

AFC took its early success in dental – and the knowledge that patient needs far outstripped the capacity of the modest, offsite program – to make a case for successfully raising the $1.5M needed to grow our dental program and move it onsite.

Since January 2019, Arlington Free Clinic has been ramping up operations in its new, onsite, three-chair dental clinic. We added Dentist and Dental Assistant hours, hired a Dental Hygienist, and began integrating Hygienist Students and Dentist Volunteers.

Currently, operating at maximum paid staffing levels, we are able to provide 250 dental visits per month. The only way we will be able to add additional visits and see more patients is by supplementing the paid dental team with volunteers.

On the medical side of our organization, the majority of care is delivered pro bono by providers who come onsite to see patients or agree to see patients for free in their private offices throughout the community. We have had over 25 years to establish and solidify connections within the medical community, but we are just beginning to form relationships with local dentists.

If you or a dentist you know is interested in learning more about volunteering with Arlington Free Clinic’s Dental Program, we encourage you to get in touch. The commitment can be anywhere from four hours once/week to every other month. We have daytime, afternoon, and evening hours, and are open Saturday mornings in the dental clinic, and would welcome volunteer dentists any time.

  • To get involved as a volunteer dentist, call Jody Steiner Kelly at 703-979-1425, ext. 124
  • To learn more about becoming a patient, call 703-979-1400
  • To support financially, call the development department at 703-979-1425, ext. 121
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While placing wreaths on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery may be a more festive volunteer activity, there’s still as much of a need for help removing the wreaths.

The cemetery is calling for volunteers to help “retire” the wreaths with dignity this weekend. The removal event is taking place Saturday starting at 8 a.m.

Due to stepped up security all volunteers will need to bring photo IDs.

More from the cemetery’s website:

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) will hold its annual removal of wreaths, known as “Wreaths Out,” Saturday, Jan. 11 beginning at 8 a.m.

Thousands of volunteers are expected to help remove the more than 245,000 wreaths placed Dec. 14 by approximately 35,000 volunteers. The high volume of volunteers may create traffic congestion and delays on nearby streets and at the cemetery’s entrances.

This is a special day where the wreaths placed at these hallowed grounds during the holiday season in remembrance and honor of our nation’s fallen service members and their families will be respectfully removed by volunteers. We encourage volunteers to use three entrances to access the cemetery which include Memorial Avenue, South gate and for DoD cardholders, the Old Post Chapel gate.

There will be no vehicular access permitted on cemetery grounds until 3 p.m. Family pass holders and volunteers with handicapped placards only will be permitted to park in the Arlington National Cemetery parking garage beginning at 7 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Volunteers must remain in their vehicles until the cemetery opens at 8 a.m. Ride share and taxi drivers using Memorial Avenue must drop off adjacent to the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop.

Tips for Volunteers:

  • Give vehicles and heavy equipment the right of way and let them pass in roadways.
  • Remove only WAA wreaths. Leave all other wreaths or decorations in place.
  • Place wreaths in dumpsters positioned throughout the cemetery and pack them tightly.
  • When dumpsters are filled, do not pile wreaths next to them. Carry wreaths to unfilled dumpsters.
  • Do not jump or climb on wreaths in dumpsters to compress them

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