Arlington, VA

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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Morning Notes

Beyer on Impeachment Vote — “Voting for these articles of impeachment is the only moral course of action, the only way to honor our oath of office. I have no doubt that the votes I cast today will stand the test of time.” [Press Release]

Car2go Bye Bye — “Share Now, the German company that manages the car rental company until recently known as Car2Go, has announced it will exit the North American market effective February 29, 2020… There are currently 150,694 users in D.C., according to a company official who isn’t authorized to speak on the record.” [DCist, Share Now]

Volunteers Read to Babies in NICU — “Studies show private neonatal intensive care unit rooms can be too quiet, with premature babies not getting enough sound and stimulation, so Virginia Hospital Center uses trained volunteers to read popular children’s books to its tiniest patients when their parents can’t be there.” [NBC 4]

Free Lyft Rides Starting TomorrowUpdated at 9 a.m. — “A regional nonprofit is again planning to offer free rides through Lyft to help keep drunk drivers off Alexandria streets during the holidays. Starting on Dec. 20, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will offer its annual Holiday SoberRide program nightly from 10 p.m.-4 a.m., until Jan. 1.” [ALXnow]

Water Main Break in Bluemont — Updated at 9 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a leaking 6-inch valve at 5650 4th St N. Some 100 water customers could be affected. Traffic is diverted around the work site. Estimated time of completion: no later than 7pm.” [Twitter]

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Over a dozen Arlington firefighters descended on U.S. Air Force veteran Frank Price’s house in Hall’s Hill on Saturday afternoon.

They weren’t there to fight a fire — but to decorate. The firefighters hung lights and ornaments and trimmings with the help of Decorate A Vet, a non-profit that helps area veterans with decorations and light yard maintenance for the holidays.

The group has decorated veteran’s homes for the holidays for 10 years, according to event organizer and board member Moe Jafari.

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Across Arlington, numerous families live with au pairs. What many don’t know is how au pairs have built a community of their own in Arlington.

An au pair is an young adult between the ages of 18-26 who moves to America from another country as part of a cultural exchange. They are matched with a host family, and the au pair lives with them and provides up to 45 hours a week of childcare.

“Having an au pair is definitely a kind of a lifestyle choice, and it’s not for everyone,” said Jennifer Bhartiya, who works part-time as the area’s Local Childcare Consultant (LCC) for Cultural Care Au Pair, where she pairs interested families with matching au pairs.

Currently, Bhartiya represents around 15 families with au pairs, and is constantly fielding requests from new families.

“I work with several [women] from Colombia, some from Germany, two from Argentina and one from Thailand,” said Bhartiya. “And we have some guys as well, who we like to call ‘bropairs.'”

The dynamic between an au pair and the host family is more intimate than a nanny or a babysitter, because it relies on a deeper level of trust, Bhartiya said. In addition to living with the family, au pairs are often authorized to pick children up from school, take them to the doctor, and have access to family credit cards.

It can be hard to adjust to America after growing up abroad, Bhartiya says, which is why she makes an effort to organize events that bring au pairs together and give back to the community.

Recently, a group of Arlington au pairs spent the day across the Potomac at DC Central Kitchen, where they prepared meals given to homeless shelters.

“We had such a good experience, and there’s such an interest from au pairs in Arlington for volunteer opportunities,” said Bhartiya.

A group of au pairs plan on volunteering during the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 27, and another local LCC is working to organize a book drive for charity.

“Through events such as community picnics, baseball games, and even fire safety meetings at the Cherrydale fire station, we’re hoping to provide these au pairs with cultural experiences,” said Bhartiya. 

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Morning Notes

Storms Expected Today — “Strong to locally severe thunderstorms are in the forecast Tuesday afternoon and evening, and the potential exists for this to be a significant severe weather event.” [Capital Weather Gang]

ACPD: Expect Police at Fair — “As in years past, the [Arlington County Fair] will have dedicated police staffing and resources and fairgoers can expect to see a visible police presence… There are no known threats to Arlington County, however, the public is encouraged to remain aware of your surroundings at all times.” [Arlington County]

Local Volunteer Firefighting Legacy — “Tucked inside the Clarendon fire station on N. 10th St. is a special closed-off room. By long-standing arrangement with the county, it is dedicated to honoring the station’s decades of reliance on volunteer firefighters. Today’s professionally staffed Fire Station 4 deploys ‘no active volunteers, but retains a volunteer presence.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Hotel Near HQ2 Sells For Big Bucks — “Host Hotels & Resorts sold the Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City, a 299-room high-rise property at 550 Army Navy Drive, for $99.1M in a deal that closed July 1, according to Arlington County property records.” [Bisnow]

Deer Rescued from Fence — “Last week, Officer Solano and several neighbors were able to safely untangle this juvenile deer from a soccer net in a resident’s backyard. The deer immediately ran away, uninjured, back into the woods nearby.” [Twitter]

Man Brings Loaded Shotgun to Pentagon — “A Kentucky man taken into custody at the Pentagon last week had a shotgun, ammunition and a machete in his pickup truck, according to court documents… While speaking to the officers, [the man] made ‘incoherent statements about being in the area for ‘liberty business.”” [Fox 5]

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Morning Notes

Amazon and Local Real Estate — “Amazon has yet to break ground in Northern Virginia for its second headquarters, but residents are already turning away persistent speculators, recalculating budgets for down payments on homes and fighting rent increases.” [New York Times]

Low Young Adult Home Ownership — “Arlington ties with Richmond for the lowest home-ownership rate among young adults in the commonwealth, according to a new analysis… only 16 percent of young adults living in Arlington were homeowners – perhaps not surprising given the cost of real estate in the county.” [InsideNova]

HQ2 Helps Va. Rank as Top State for Business — “CNBC has named Virginia America’s ‘Top State for Business’ in 2019. CNBC unveiled Virginia as the top state for business [Wednesday] morning during a live broadcast from Shenandoah River State Park, and Governor Northam was on location to discuss the announcement.” [CNBC, Gov. Ralph Northam, Twitter, Arlington Economic Development, Washington Business Journal]

Amazon Information Meeting — Officials from Amazon and Arlington County discussed the company’s HQ2 plan and its approval process at a public meeting near Shirlington last night. [Twitter]

More on 5G in Arlington — “Arlington is preparing its commercial corridors for the next generation of mobile broadband technology — 5G. The impact? Mobile download speeds for movies, video games, apps and more up to 100 times faster than today.” [Arlington County]

County Seeking Volunteers for Disaster Drill — “The County is seeking volunteers to participate in Capital Fortitude, a full-scale emergency exercise designed to evaluate the National Capital Region’s ability to dispense medication quickly in response to an anthrax attack. From 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, July 19, Arlington will join 24 jurisdictions around the region in hosting a Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise.” [Arlington County]

Flood-Damaged Road Reopening — “Update [on] July 10… Crews expect to have one lane of 18th St N between N Lexington St and N McKinley Road reopen to traffic this evening. Repairs to the other lane set for completion tomorrow. 20th St N at George Mason is [reopened] with minor repairs still pending.” [Twitter]

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