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Volunteer Program Looking for Help to Close the ‘Meal Gap’

There are 17,000 Arlingtonians living without access to affordable, nutritious food, but the planners behind the “Master Food Volunteer” program are hoping you can help change that.

The Master Food Volunteer (MFV) program is run through the Virginia Cooperative Extension. The program offers 30 hours in training on nutrition, meal planning, cooking techniques, food safety and working with a diverse audience. In turn, the volunteers are expected to perform 30 hours of community service using their training to help underserved populations become more familiar with affordable healthy eating practices.

The training takes place on four Fridays throughout October. There is a $120 fee for the program that covers the cost of lunches, training materials, an apron, tote bag, and supplies. Applications are available at the Master Food Volunteer website. Applications are due by Aug. 27.

“We do a lot of work with organizations like the Arlington Food Assistance Center to provide food demonstrations at their food distribution site using ingredients many people are not familiar with,” said Jennifer Abel, senior extension agent for Arlington and Alexandria. “That way people can take the recipes and learn how to use vegetables they might not be familiar with, like summer squash and eggplant.”

Many MFV activities are aimed at helping Arlington’s senior citizens who may have limited access to grocery stores. The MFV program is also active in Arlington’s farmers’ markets, like the Aug. 25 market at Courthouse and the Sept. 8 farmers’ market at Arlington Mill.

“In general, vegetable consumption among Americans is lower than it should be, while sugar consumption is much higher,” said Abel. “We’re doing pretty well on fruits, because they’re nice and sweet, but it’s tougher a lot of times to get people to eat a zucchini.”

Photo via Virginia Cooperative Extension

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Volunteer Group TreeStewards Looks for Trainees

TreeStewards, an organization that works to advocate and care for trees, is looking for new volunteers to train in Arlington.

Volunteer efforts include activities, such as planting and pruning, along with education and advocacy initiatives, like holding neighborhood “Tree Walks” and informational booths at farmers’ markets and festivals.

Training will kick off on Oct. 2 and is split into four modules. Each module includes between two and four mandatory classes and one field session.

The first module covers topics such as fall tree identification and correct tree planting methods. The fourth and final module begins April 16, and will cover topics like pests, diseases and care of mature trees.

Those interested should apply online by Aug. 22.

Photo via Facebook

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Morning Notes

County Raises $40,000 for Citizenship Fund, Urges Donors to Give Elsewhere — Arlington officials say they have more than enough money in a newly created fund to help immigrants afford fees associated with the naturalization process. Only four people have applied for the money so far, and the county is recommending residents save their money for other nonprofits instead. [Washington Post]

Flooding Hits Arlington… Again — Last night’s intense storms prompted yet more flooding, including some scary conditions on Lee Highway. Some indoor flooding was even on tap for SER Restaurant in Ballston. [Twitter, Twitter]

A Soft Opening for New Japanese Barbecue Restaurant in Clarendon — Gyu-Kaku, on N. Hudson Street just across from Don Tito, is now accepting customers by reservation only. The first D.C.-area location for the chain previously ran into some permit problems, but is now back on track. [Washington City Paper]

Dockless Scooters Vex Local Policymakers — Just as Arlington officials were caught a bit off guard by the arrival of Bird’s electric scooters last month, other localities are mulling the best way to craft policies for the vehicles. Alexandria has started to see some scooters from both the county and D.C. pop up in its borders, but leaders are taking a “wait and see” approach. [Washington Business Journal]

Police Target Solo Drivers on I-66 Inside the Beltway — Virginia officials want to crack down on anyone violating the HOV policies on I-66 in the morning and evening rush hours, in a bid to make sure the new tolls are working as intended. [WTOP]

County Volunteers Get a Round of Applause — Volunteer Arlington held its second annual “Arlington Cares” event in Ballston to laud people giving back around the county. [InsideNova]

Photo via @thelastfc

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Mentorship Program for At-Risk High Schoolers Seeks Volunteers

Local professionals have the opportunity to contribute to the Arlington community through new a mentorship program managed by Arlington’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Services Unit.

RISE — an acronym for respect, integrity, self-esteem and empowerment — pairs at-risk kids with an adult in their community. Mentors help their mentees develop social, emotional and practical skills, program coordinator Erika Yalowitz wrote in an email to ARLnow.

“The objective is to provide young Arlingtonians a path to achieve their dreams,” Yalowitz wrote.

Yalowitz says participants in the program are usually Arlington high school students with histories of delinquency or status offenses, like breaking curfew or skipping school, or those who have been otherwise identified as at-risk. Participation is voluntary for mentees.

The group of mentors and teens typically meets in the evening on the first Wednesday of every month to participate in activities like hiking, bowling or mini-golf. Those interested in mentoring must commit to the program for a minimum of one year, submit to background and criminal record checks and attend on-site training.

Local businesses can also support the program by donating to help cover the cost of meals and activities. Anyone interested can contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Photo courtesy Erika Yalowitz

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Volunteers Wanted as Metro Plans ‘Full-Scale’ Emergency Exercise Sunday

WMATA is gearing up to test how first responders would handle a major Metro emergency in Arlington, and officials are looking for some help.

Metro is planning a “full-scale exercise” at the Crystal City Metro station (1750 S. Bell Street) on Sunday, June 3, and is looking for volunteers to make the event feel more real for participants. Check in for the event begins at 6:30 a.m., and it’s set to wrap up by 1 p.m, according to an event listing.

Volunteers will get the chance to “act out the role of a Metro rider who is on the train at the time of the emergency and will be able to see first-hand how regional emergency responders handle the situation.”

Metro is offering up free parking and light refreshments for anyone looking to participate; WMATA is also willing to provide documentation or certification for anyone who needs it after participating, “including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and other service organizations.”

More details on the event from the listing, after the jump.

Volunteer Participation

  • Metro will provide volunteers with a safety briefing prior to boarding the train.
  • Volunteers who are able to do so will walk back to the station platform.
  • Volunteers without mobility concerns should expect to be accessing the roadway under the direction of the fire department. We anticipate the fire department utilizing special carts to transport any volunteers with mobility concerns.
  • Participation is limited to those 13 years of age and older.
  • Anyone younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Registration

  • Sign-in will begin at 6:30 AM at the Crystal City Metrorail Station.
  • Prior to the exercise WMATA will provide a volunteer waiver form to all registered volunteers via email. Please sign and bring this form with you to the exercise.
  • At the end of the exercise, no later than 1:00 PM, volunteers will be right back where they started their day and can leave after their debrief.

WMATA will provide volunteers with the following throughout the exercise:

  • Free parking (Parking Information will be shared prior to the exercise)
  • ID badge for the exercise
  • Refreshments on the morning of the exercise and water during the exercise
  • Safety training before the exercise
  • Debrief with the opportunity to provide feedback after the exercise
  • WMATA can sign for or provide documentation for volunteers who require it for certifications or program participation, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and other service organizations – just bring your form!

Safety Considerations

For your safety, volunteers should consider the following:

  • Wear sturdy shoes. You will be walking in the roadway. Even though Metro will shut off the power, the roadway has uneven surfaces and trip hazards. Please do not wear sandals or flip flops – wear sneakers or other sturdy closed-toe shoes instead. If you do not have appropriate footwear you will not be able to participate in the exercise.
  • It will be warm on the train. We are expecting a summer weather day so the weather may be warm for some volunteers. Please wear layers to help you stay cool. We will provide you with drinks, but there will be no restroom on the train.
  • Wear durable clothing and closed-toed shoes. We recommend that you wear clothing that you do not mind getting dirty as well as closed-toed shoes. You will be accessing the roadway and will likely come in contact with brake dust and other materials that can get you and your clothes dirty. If you do not have closed-toed shoes you will not be able to participate in the exercise.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Roosevelt Island, Gravelly Point to Get Bikeshare — The County Board approved a deal with the National Park Service to allow Capital Bikeshare stations on Theodore Roosevelt Island and at Gravelly Point. Although the stations are on NPS land, the county will install and maintain them. [Arlington County]

Arlington, Falls Church Men Arrested in Drug Bust — Williamsburg police arrested 10 people at the College of William & Mary — including one student from Arlington, two from Falls Church and a professor — during a large drug bust during which they confiscated LSD, cocaine, mushrooms, opioids, amphetamines, steroids, hashish, marijuana and $14,000 in cash. Police launched a months-long investigation when they heard that increased drug use was causing unreported sexual assaults. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Tree Canopy Dispute Grows — Environmental activists have intensified their cries about the county providing misleading information on the size of Arlington’s tree canopy. Activists confronted County Board members at their Saturday meeting, armed with claims of “alternative facts” and a “war on science.”  [Inside NoVa]

Outstanding Park Volunteers Honored — The County Board gave awards to Joanne Hutton, John Foti and Friends of Aurora Highlands Park for their efforts to support county parks and natural resources. The honorees have led service projects, helped to expand field use and promoted public open spaces. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn Vying for Amazon HQ2 — Rosslyn is being pitched as a possible destination for Amazon’s second headquarters, alongside Crystal City and other Northern Virginia locales. Rosslyn’s main downside is a lack of space for Amazon’s growth ambitions, but the neighborhood does have a sizable office development pipeline, close proximity to Georgetown and D.C., monumental views and numerous transit options. [Washington Business Journal]

Metro Approves Service Guarantee — “Metro’s Board of Directors today approved the Rush Hour Promise program, a first-of-its-kind service guarantee for Metro customers. Beginning with tomorrow morning’s rush hour commute, on Friday, January 26, if a Metrorail or Metrobus customer using a registered SmarTrip card is delayed by 15 minutes or more, Metro will credit the customer’s SmarTrip card for future travel.” [WMATA]

Fire in Cherrydale — Arlington County firefighters extinguished a chimney fire in the Cherrydale neighborhood last night. The fire did not spread and no one was hurt. [Twitter]

Nominations for Park Volunteer Award — Nominations are being accepted through Friday, Feb. 2 for Arlington’s Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Award. The award “was established to pay tribute to lifelong parks volunteer Bill Thomas and to honor and encourage those residents who also demonstrate a passionate dedication and support for [Arlington parks] programs, natural resources and public open spaces.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Closures, Celebrations Planned for MLK Day

Most Arlington County facilities and services are slated to close or operate on altered schedules on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed next Monday, Jan. 15, the county said. Though metered parking will not be enforced on those days, recycling and trash pickup is scheduled to go ahead per normal. The call center will also be closed.

ART buses will operate on a Saturday schedule on routes 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87. Park grounds will remain open, although administrative offices, classes and centers will be closed.

Arlington will hold its annual tribute to Dr. King, titled “Martin Luther King, Jr: The Man and the Mission,” on Sunday at Wakefield High School from 5-6:30 p.m. The program features musical and dance performances from Duke Ellington School of Arts, spoken word artist Kim Miller and students from local schools.

On Monday, Volunteer Arlington is organizing a community-wide day of service at the Arlington Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive). Interested participants can register to take part in community service activities from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The inaugural event encourages people from all walks of life to work together to find solutions to pressing problems of the day.

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Wreaths Across America Ceremony Set for December 16

Tens of thousands of volunteers will again head to Arlington National Cemetery later this month to honor veterans’ graves with wreaths this holiday season.

The annual Wreaths Across America ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 16, as part of a nationwide effort by the nonprofit to lay wreaths at veterans’ gravesides.

Organizers hope to lay a wreath at all 245,115 veterans’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery. And according to its website, more than 29,000 volunteers have already committed to laying more than 196,000.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer can sign up online, and anyone wishing to donate to sponsor a remembrance wreath can do so, to honor a veteran, alive or dead, or to have a wreath placed at a specific marker.

The opening ceremony for the day of wreath-laying begins at 8:15 a.m. From the event website:

For those wanting to observe the arrival of the Wreath Truck Convoy, which will arrive at approximately 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, ANC will begin their screening process at 7 a.m. at the ANC Welcome Center. Those screened early will be directed to holding areas near the Opening Ceremony location which will be held in front of the Women In Military Service for America Memorial at the end of Memorial Drive starting at 8:15 a.m. All gates into Arlington Cemetery grounds will be opened to the general public at 8:30 a.m. after all Wreaths Convoy Trucks have been staged. Wreath placement will begin at 9:15 a.m.

If you are interested in attending, there will be special wreath layings conducted at the Columbarium at 10 a.m.; at the President William F. Taft Monument in Section 30 at 10:30 a.m.; at the President John F. Kennedy Memorial in Section 45 at 11 a.m.; at the USS Battleship Maine Monument in Section 24 at 11:30 a.m.; and a formal Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 12 p.m. (noon).

The cemetery’s welcome center garage will open at 7 a.m. that day, but only those with an authorized ANC Family Pass and vehicles with valid Handicap Permits will be allowed to park there. Metrorail will open at 7 a.m. that morning, and organizers are encouraging attendees to take the train to the Arlington National Cemetery Metro station instead of driving.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Residents Urged to Report Water Main Breaks — “With colder weather in the offing, Arlington government officials are asking the public to serve as a first line of defense against catastrophic water-main breaks… County residents who see a problem are asked to immediately call the 24-hour emergency hotline at (703) 228-6555.” [InsideNova]

Remy’s New Parody Video — “Arlington Rap” guy Remy released a new music video on Halloween, a “Thriller” political parody called “Trigger.” [YouTube]

Airbags, Doors Stolen from Car — Thieves broke a window of a car in a Crystal City apartment building parking lot overnight this past Friday and proceeded to steal two of its doors and the airbag. Police said it was “clearly the work of professionals.” [Fox 5]

Preserving the Arlington Woods — Ecologist Joan Maloof is working to preserve the remaining 12 acres of the once 600 acre Arlington Woods on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, along with other old-growth forests. [Washington Post]

Programs at Arlington County Jail — Inmates have access to a number of programs during their typically short stays at the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse, including English language training, special education, chaplain and library services. For some of the instructors, running their programs is just as rewarding for them as it is for the inmates. [Falls Church News-Press]

Glebewood Neighborhood Profiled — “When house hunters encounter the Glebewood neighborhood in Arlington County, they tend to express admiration for its location, schools, amenities and transportation. That the townhouses, duplexes, apartments and some single-family homes are reasonably priced for North Arlington only adds to the appeal.” [Washington Post]

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AHC Seeks Volunteers For After-School, Teen Tutoring Programs

Local affordable housing provider AHC Inc. is still seeking volunteers to work in its education programs ahead of school resuming next week.

Spaces are still available to help in AHC’s After-School and Teen Tutoring programs, which help educate young people from kindergarten through 12th grade.

In the After-School program, volunteers work with elementary school students to build literacy and math skills, and to help with homework. AHC asks for a commitment of one hour once a week between 4 and 6 p.m.

Teen Tutoring helps foster both academic and life skills to help teens graduate from high school and maximize their potential. Tutors are paired with one student during the school year, and meet for one hour once a week between 6 and 8 p.m.

There will be several orientation sessions in the coming days for both programs:

  • September 6 – After-School Orientation, 6-7 p.m. (Gates of Ballston, 4108 4th Street N.)
  • September 12 – Teen Tutoring Orientation, 6-7:30 p.m. (Gates of Ballston, 4108 4th Street N.)
  • September 14 – Teen Tutoring Orientation, 6-7:30 pm (Gates of Ballston, 4108 4th Street, N.)

In addition to these schemes, AHC offers various others through its resident services program. Earlier this year, 15 high school graduates in the pilot year of its college mentoring program celebrated finishing the program and advancing into higher education.

For more information, potential volunteers should contact Cindy Rozon at [email protected].

Photo via AHC

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Morning Notes

Metro Delays This MorningUpdated at 9:25 a.m. — A disabled train outside of the Pentagon Metro station caused significant delays on the Blue and Yellow lines during part of this morning’s rush hour. Meanwhile, a signal problem outside of the Rosslyn station caused delays on the Orange and Silver lines at the tail end of the rush hour. [Washington Post, Twitter]]

Arlington Men Charged With Murder Updated at 10:40 a.m. — Two young Arlington men have been arrested and charged with the fatal shooting of a Silver Spring man. Police say the Arlington men, ages 19 and 21, and a 19-year-old Maryland man went to the victim’s house to rob him of marijuana. [WTOP, Washington Post]

Crystal City Library to Remain Open For Another Year — The “popup” library in the Crystal City Shops will remain open through June 2018, Arlington County announced this morning. Newly-renamed landlord JBG Smith reached an agreement with the county to keep it open, according to a press release. [Arlington County]

ACPD Releases Video With Talking Dog — The first Arlington County Police Department video promoting an upcoming public safety block party has been released, and it’s “narrated” by one of ACPD’s K-9 units. A highly-anticipated video featuring ACPD officers doing synchronized swimming has yet to be released. [YouTube]

Volunteer Arlington Awards — Earlier this week, the group Volunteer Arlington handed out its 2017 Volunteer Arlington Awards, celebrating dedicated volunteers in categories like “lifetime of service award,” “distinguished corporate service award,” and “distinguished county service award.” [Volunteer Arlington]

Clever Signs at AWLA — A sign outside of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in Shirlington is using pop culture references to help build demand for pet adoptions at the shelter. The latest: “They want to watch Game of Thrones too.” [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Homeless Population on the Rise in Arlington — “Most jurisdictions saw declines in homelessness from 2016, though the population… increased by 33 percent in Arlington County. Kathleen Sibert, the president and chief executive of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, noted that because Arlington has a relatively small homeless population, modest fluctuations can create dramatic-looking percentage increases or decreases.” [Washington Post]

More on New Rosslyn McDonald’s — The new state-of-the-art McDonald’s in Rosslyn has some food offerings not available elsewhere in D.C. It has an in-house bakery that serves fresh pastries; the other closest McDonald’s with a bakery is in New York City. Also, the restaurant will soon offer two special ice cream sundaes: turtle brownie and strawberry shortcake. [Rosslyn BID]

County Seeks Volunteers for ‘BioBlitz’ — “Arlington County is seeking dedicated volunteers to support its May 20 ‘BioBlitz,’ a quick-but-intense wilderness exploration that will produce a catalog of our natural holdings spotted within a 24-hour window. Think of it as a snapshot of the common-to-rare wildlife that can be found hiding in plain sight within our borders.” [Arlington County]

Drafthouse Continues to Critique Kennedy Center — Arlington Cinema Drafthouse owner Greg Godbout has penned another letter to customers that makes the case for why the Kennedy Center is competing unfairly for comedy acts. The letter also accuses the center of “lying” and a “cover up” after Godbout went public with his initial criticism. [Drafthouse Comedy]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

How to Fix a “Stuck” Homepage — A few users have been reporting that our homepage has been “stuck” for the past few weeks, frozen in time after March 31. This is a browser caching issue that is affecting a very small subset of users. To resolve it, press the “refresh” button on your browser.

Park Volunteers to Be Honored — Two Arlington residents will be recognized as “outstanding park volunteers” at tonight’s Arlington County Board meeting. This year’s honorees are Paul Holland and Yu-hsin Hsu. [Arlington County]

Two Added to Business Hall of Fame — Attorney and former County Board member John Milliken and former Arlington Chamber of Commerce president Rich Doud are being inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame on May 2. [InsideNova]

Video: Morning Activity at Trades Center — A time-lapse video shows the bustle of early morning activity at the Arlington Trades Center near Shirlington, where the county’s school buses and maintenance crews are based. [YouTube]

Flickr pool photo by GM and MB

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Morning Notes

Arlington Cemetery Metro station

Wakefield Boys Fall in State Tourney — An outstanding season for the Wakefield boys basketball team ended Friday when the Warriors fell to Bethel 62-56 in the state tournament quarterfinals. The Lady Warriors also lost in the state quarterfinals last week. [Twitter, Daily Press]

Logistics May Have Sunk St. Pat’s Bar Crawl — There’s no St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl in Clarendon this year, and the reason may be due to logistics, not lack of interest. Organizers might have been able to get bars on board and their permit applications in on time, one police official suggests. [CityLab]

Volunteers Needed to Bag Meals — The Clarendon United Methodist Church is seeking volunteers to help “pack 20,000 meals for distribution around the world” on Saturday. [InsideNova]

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