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Community Briefs

To have news items listed in The Arlington Connection, mail to 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to arlington@connectionnewspapers.com or fax to 703-917-0991. Photos, especially color, are encouraged. Deadline is 2 p.m. the Thursday before publication.

<sh>Register for Emergency Alerts

<bt>Arlington County staff issued a reminder this week about disaster preparedness in the county. While Hurricane Charley largely passed the area by, it is still vital that Arlington residents and those who work for the county sign up for the Arlington Alert System.

The System is a free service delivering immediate emergency text messages to cell phones, pagers and PDAs within 90 seconds, even during power outages. The service can also send messages to e-mail accounts. Alerts are available in English or Spanish. To register, visit www.arlingtonalert.com. In addition, storm preparation information is available on county cable channel AVN 71 or online at www.arlingtonva.us.

<sh>County Fair This Weekend

<bt>The 28th annual Arlington County Fair will take place this weekend, from Thursday, Aug. 19 through Sunday, Aug. 22, at Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 S. 2nd St., Arlington.

The 2004 Arlington County Fair features:

* Pony rides, a petting zoo, pig races, carnival rides and a midway

* Demonstrations of skills by the County's police, fire and rescue professionals

* Food

* Art and Craft show and sale

* Exhibits by government, non-profit and commercial organizations

* Live entertainment

The air-conditioned Thomas Jefferson Community Center gym houses the competitions, an entertainment stage, and exhibits. Food vendors and various special contests and demonstrations take place on the sports field just outside the gym.

The fair hours will be: Thursday, 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

The Arlington County Fair is produced by nonprofit membership corporation, the Arlington County Fair Inc., together with Arlington County's Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources.

<sh>Arlingtonians Receive Two Governor’s Volunteerism Awards

<bt>This week, Virginia Governor Mark Warner bestowed the prestigious 2004 Governor's Community Service and Volunteerism Award to Citizen Corps Council leader, Kim Smith, and a group of singing senior retirees, the Songfellows.

Smith is chair of the Education Task Group of the Arlington Citizen Corps Council. She was selected as the Governor’s Award winner in the category of Homeland Security. CCC Chair Jackie Snelling praised her “countless hours of volunteer service to make our community safer through her work for the CCC and numerous other organizations.” The nomination was also supported by letters from County Manager Ron Carlee, and OEM Director Bob Griffin.

The Songfellows won the award in the category of Outstanding Government Programs. Founded in 1972, the Songfellows have volunteered more than 60,000 hours entertaining residents at nursing and retirement homes and performing for churches, civic groups, and at local venues like the Arlington County Fair.

Smith and the Songfellows will be presented their awards by Governor Warner Sept. 1 in Richmond during the Virginia State Conference on Community Service and Civic Engagement.

<sh>Tree Steward Class Offered

<bt>A 60-hour volunteer training program called Tree Steward starts September 14. The class is open to Arlington County and City of Alexandria residents on a first-come, first-served basis, at a $35 cost for the course,

Tree Steward is a volunteer training course for residents interested in preserving and protecting the urban forest. Graduates of the course become volunteers teaching others about preserving and protecting trees. Tree Stewards also assist the local jurisdictions with tree care needs such as planting, watering and pruning.

There are 13 classes on Tuesday evenings from 7-9:30 p.m. from Sept. 14-Nov. 16, as well as Saturdays Sept. 27, Oct. 9 and 23 from 9 a.m.-noon.

Certification as a Tree Steward follows completion of 25 hours of volunteer service which is included in the 60-hour description. Course content includes information on Tree Anatomy and Physiology, Tree Selection and Identification, Pruning, Maintenance, Planting and other topics. University and industry experts will serve as instructors.

<sh>Arlington Police Launch Drug Activity Tip Web Page

<bt>A new web page run by the Vice/Narcotics Section of the Arlington County Police Department will allow residents to submit drug activity information over the Internet. The tip page, located on the Department's Web site, is designed to encourage younger Arlingtonians to communicate with the police in the way most comfortable for them. It will collect information about drug use, dealing or trafficking. The form asks for where and when the activity occurred, descriptions of the persons involved, and whether weapons were used. People leaving the information may remain anonymous.

To access the Web page, go to www.arlingtonva.us, type "drug tips" in the search engine, and click on the top link in the search results.