Press Club

(Updated on 5/18) A local family raised nearly $2,000 holding a yard sale this past weekend to help children impacted by the war.

Constantin, a Ukrainian-American who lives in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood and flew flags on 1-66 overpasses earlier this year, held the sale in his front yard Saturday morning in support of the D.C. area non-profit United Help Ukraine.

The funds will specifically go to the Hibuki Therapy Project, a program that pairs toy stuffed dogs and specialized therapists with children impacted by the ongoing war.

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“It’s important to [bring] attention to the victims of the war,” Constantin told ARLnow via phone as he was rehanging Ukrainian and American flags over I-66. He asked his last name not be used for safety concerns.

He placed flyers for the yard sale near the Westover Library, the Lee-Harrison shopping center, and Nottingham Elementary. They attracted attention.

It was a “very strong turn out,” Constantin says, with neighbors donating both items and money to the effort. In all, he believes they made at least $1,600, though probably more since some folks donated money without buying items.

He held the yard sale not only to raise money to help those back in his homeland, but to show his own children how they can make a difference.

“I wanted to show my children how… they can take a specific thing, sell it, make money, and how it can go to a specific cause in Ukraine,” he says.

All of the money went to United Help Ukraine, which focuses on providing medical supplies and basic needs to Ukrainian refugees.

The local nonprofit has raised $25 to $30 million since Russia’s invasion in late February, President Maryna Baydyuk tells ARLnow. Through the Hibuki Therapy Project, 1,000 toy dogs have already been distributed to Ukrainian refugee children. The hope is to manufacture and distribute 6,000 in total, Baydyuk says, as well as train dozens of counselors who can help while the kids are at the refugee camps.

“Children are the most vulnerable group of refugees, so we want to focus on their psychological help,” Baydyuk says.

This yard sale won’t be the end of Constantin and his family’s efforts. He’s currently planning a block party fundraiser for early June that will give his East Falls Church neighbors. Even after close to three months of war, Constantin said it’s clear to him that Arlingtonians are still very much aware of and concerned about the ongoing human toll from the invasion.

“It’s very heart-warming as an American to see the number of Ukrainian flags going up in Arlington,” he said. “They are still everywhere.”

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Morning Notes

Columbus Day Closures — “Most Arlington Transit routes are closed, with the exception of routes 42, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87, which will run on Saturday schedules. Parking meters won’t be enforced, but all other parking violations will be. The public schools will not hold classes; it’s a professional learning day for staff. Government offices and the public library are open.” [WTOP]

Local Yard Sale Funds Acts of Kindness — “Susan Thompson-Gaines is like a fairy godmother who magically appeared in Marjorie Gonzales’ life to help her conjure up a dress for the ball. ‘Just came out of nowhere,’ said Gonzales, who was in need of a homecoming dress… Thompson-Gaines uses every penny of her profits — more than $12,000 this year — to fund random acts of kindness throughout her community.” [CBS News, InspireMore]

Proposal for Better W-L Baseball Field — “This fall, Healy is working with director of student activities Carol Callaway on a project proposal that they hope to present to county officials in the coming weeks. His vision is of something similar to Waters Field, a multi-purpose artificial turf field that can host games for baseball and rectangular field sports and serves as a central hub in the Vienna community… ‘You could call it a total facelift,’ Healy said. ‘You name it, we need it. You can’t even stand up in the visitor dugout, and the press box is almost a safety hazard.'” [Nova Baseball Magazine]

GMU Groundbreaking Planned — “GMU plans to break ground on the nearly $250 million expansion of its Arlington campus in January. The primary addition to the Virginia Square campus will be the 360,500-square-foot home for the Institute for Digital Innovation (IDIA), its tech research hub, and the coming School of Computing… Bethesda-based Clark Construction will serve as general contractor on the project, which is scheduled to be complete by April 2025, with students moving in by July of that year.” [Washington Business Journal]

Changes Planned for GMU Plaza –“The ‘stay-the-course’ proposal will aim to make the large plaza fronting Fairfax Drive a more useful gathering space, perhaps with a café attached, while potentially adding a mid-level connection between Smith and Van Metre Halls to effectively combine them as one. That was the vision outlined by Gregory Janks, who has led the 18-month planning process for the three main Mason campuses.” [Sun Gazette]

New Art at Central Library — “Arlington residents and Library patrons are in for a visual treat when entering the second floor at Central Library. The newly installed artwork titled ‘North Lincoln Street, Arlington, Virginia’ by Arlington artist Jason Horowitz, features a playful, 360-degree view of a re-imagined Ballston neighborhood landscape.” [Arlington Public Library]

Marymount 5K Race on Wednesday — “Marymount University Doctor of Physical Therapy program hosted the first Marymount 5K in the spring of 2015… Join us in 2021 for the sixth annual Marymount 5K supporting the DPT Program’s foundational pillars of Global Perspective, Service to Others, and Intellectual Curiosity.” [Marymount University]

Nearby: Shooting in Arlandria — From Alan Henney: “500 blk of Four Mile Rd off Mt. Vernon Ave in the City of Alexandria. 15 yr-old boy shot in stomach taken to a trauma center in serious condition. Several suspects fled the scene on foot.” [Twitter, Twitter]

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Morning Notes

A deer and a fox in the rain, near the Arlington-Fairfax border (photo courtesy Marc Roth)

‘Kindness Yard Sale’ in Penrose — “Susan Thompson-Gaines wants to spread kindness. This weekend, she’s doing it through a big yard sale at her house. She says it’s hard to miss the home she shares with her husband, David — it’s the yellow house with purple trim at the corner of South Second and South Fillmore streets in Arlington… what makes this yard sale different is that the proceeds are all spent on acts of kindness.” [WTOP]

Flood Cleanup for Pike Businesses — From WUSA 9’s Matthew Torres: “A dental hygienist sent me this other video of the flash flooding in Columbia Pike in Arlington. Their business had to close today as they clean up the water that seeped through. Other businesses are having to do the same thing.” [Twitter]

More Vaccinations Added to State Stats — “Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has incorporated vaccination data from jurisdictions in Maryland. Virginians who received vaccinations in Maryland that were not reported through the Virginia Immunization Information System are now included in the locality and statewide dashboards. The updated data reflects an increase in COVID-19 vaccine first dose rates of 0.33% Alexandria, 0.46% Arlington, and 0.39% Eastern Shore.” [Virginia Dept. of Health]

AFAC Gets Donation from Library Program –“Representatives of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library (FOAL), together with the Arlington Public Library and Arlington County Department of Technology Services, presented a check for $4,525 to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). The donation represents the number of Library readers who successfully completed the 2021 Summer Reading Challenge. The Library’s popular Summer Reading program helps children avoid the ‘summer slide.'” [Arlington County]

Fmr. County Board Member Dies — “Jay Edwin Ricks, 88, passed away at home in Arlington, Virginia on July 18, 2021 due to complications of Parkinson’s Disease… In 1967, Jay was elected to the Arlington County Board where he served until 1971. During this time, he was active in transportation issues and Vice Chairman of Metro during the critical phase of planning the Metro system.” [Legacy]

Local Church Adapts to Pandemic — ‘As another wave of the pandemic comes at us, we are different as a congregation,’ said the Rev. Amanda Poppei, senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia… Poppei’s congregation began hosting outdoor events in spring 2021, including a handbell parade to ring in Pride Month in June and a Flower Communion in May, which they intentionally designed as a multiplatform event.” [UUWorld]

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The “IOTA Club and Cafe” sign has been removed but the shuttered music club in Clarendon still has one last event left.

After 24 years in business, IOTA is holding a “yard sale” to sell equipment and keepsakes.

The sale is being held from noon-6 p.m. Saturday at the club (2832 Wilson Blvd), according to a sign in the window.

Co-owner Jane Negrey Inge tells ARLnow.com that the sales will be cash only, with Virginia sales tax collected. The items for sale include: “Memorabilia, restaurant stuff, furniture, art stuff. Lots of women’s small and medium T’s. IOTA baseball caps. IOTA Pints. Yummy art work. Many items suitable for the cave.”

IOTA closed up shop after a last bash this past weekend. The club declined to renew its lease, citing rising rents and the cost of a temporary relocation while improvements are made to its building.

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Morning Notes

New Mexican Restaurant Coming to Clarendon — Less than a month after the closure of Market Tavern in Clarendon, we now know what will take its place. Fuego Cocina and Tequileria is expected to open in the space, at 2950 Clarendon Blvd, later this fall. The casual Mexican restaurant, which will apparently not serve burritos, will be run by the Passion Food Restaurant Group, which also runs Acadiana, Ceiba and District Commons in D.C. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Gay Pride Event at Pentagon — About 350 people packed a Pentagon auditorium yesterday for the Defense Department’s first celebration of Gay Pride Month. In a videotaped message, President Obama said the hour-long ceremony was held to honor openly gay service members. [Bloomberg]

AWLA to Hold Yard Sale— The Animal Welfare League of Arlington will be holding a “Mutts and Mittens” yard sale this weekend. “The yard sale will include items donated by the public including: art, jewelry, gently used clothing, household items, and more,” according to an AWLA press release. “Funds raised at the yard sale will help care for the birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, and dogs that enter the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s (AWLA) doors every day.” The sale will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 at the front yard of the AWLA offices at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive, near Shirlington.

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Morning Notes

Report on BRAC Impacts — With the Base Realignment and Closure Act-mandated relocation of Defense Department offices delayed, BRAC’s impact on Arlington County will be eased considerably, according to a new report from real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle. The report presents the drain of DoD offices from Crystal City and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor as a chance for building owners to update and redevelop. “If anything, we see this as an opportunity for Arlington County -as a whole – to reinvent itself somewhat, to update older inventory, and to cement its place as the leading submarket in the Metro D.C. area,” the report said. [Citybizlist]

Wakefield Groundbreaking Scheduled — The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking for the new Wakefield High School next week. The groundbreaking will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 9, outside the Aquatics Center. Construction of the new 380,000 square foot building is expected to begin next month, with students expected to start using the building in the fall of 2013. [Arlington Public Schools]

Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard Sale — The 33rd annual Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard sale will be held along the John Marshall/Ohio Street greenway from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. “About 100 local families and other vendors offer a wide range of items for sale, including plants, clothes, sports equipment, and furniture,” organizers say. [Craigslist]

Don Quixote OpeningSynetic Theater’s production of Don Quixote will have its opening night Saturday in Crystal City (1800 South Bell Street). The show starts at 8:00 p.m. The production runs through July 3.

Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White

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