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Alexandria Bulletin July 17-23

The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) has awarded the City of Alexandria $15.2 million in new funding to help make homeownership more affordable for households with members who live or work in the City. To be eligible to participate in the City’s homeownership programs, individuals must be first-time homebuyers, and the home to be purchased must be located within the City of Alexandria. For more information, call the City of Alexandria’s Office of Housing at 703-838-4622.

The Space of Her Own (SOHO) program is seeking adult female volunteers for its art-based mentoring program for fifth grade girls. Each mentor is responsible for designing the new room, incorporating her mentee’s artwork, and developing ample lighting and study space, using a shoestring budget of just $250. Prospective volunteers are required to attend one of two orientation sessions on Thursday, Aug. 14 or Thursday, Aug. 21, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Art League Annex, 1 Duke St. RSVP for one of the two orientation sessions by e-mailing SOHO@alexandriava.gov. This year’s program begins on Sept. 25 and concludes on June 11.

The City of Alexandria reminds visitors of its “Wireless Alexandria” service. The service allows any user with a wireless device in the coverage area to access the Internet at no charge. Wireless Alexandria is also available at all Alexandria public library branches.

The Alexandria Community Services Board is in need of volunteers to serve in the following positions:

* Friends of the Alexandria Mental Health Center Board Members: Friends is seeking new members who will take an active role in fund-raising, building relationships with the business community and helping coordinate Friends community events. The Board meets one Wednesday evening every other month with occasional subcommittee meetings and additional time required for leading or assisting with projects.

* Mural Artists: Alexandria Vocational Services is seeking a mural artist or group of artists to paint a portion of a 30’x 60’ concrete wall in a warehouse that houses the Sheltered Workshop Program. Program participants complete projects such as labeling, envelope stuffing and film recycling. Some funds are available for supplies.

* Representative Payees: Payees receive Social Security checks and pay bills for persons with an intellectual disability or mental illness. A separate bank account is opened with automatic deposit and there are few monthly transactions. The duties require two hours per month, per account.

For more information about these volunteer opportunities, contact Jennifer Cordero at jennifer.cohen-cordero@alexandriava.gov or 703-838-4455, x 161.

Beginning in July 2008, the City of Alexandria and Arlington County will conduct maintenance work, including the removal of excessive vegetation and sediment along the Four Mile Run flood control channel. This maintenance effort is required to ensure flood protection for residents and businesses along lower Four Mile Run.

The City of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services will install state of the art multi-space parking meters in the East Eisenhower-Carlyle area throughout July. These meters will provide short-term parking to support ground floor retail space. Effective July 1, all parking meter rates in the city will be $1/hour, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Seniors 50 years of age and over are eligible to enter the 2008 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics to be held Sept. 20-Oct. 2. Registration information is available now at local senior centers, community centers, senior residences or by calling 703-228-3600, ext. 9996. They can also be downloaded online at www.novaseniorolympics.com. Registration deadline is Sept. 5.

The City of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services announces new permit and fee amounts effective July 1. These rates are comparable to other municipal jurisdictions in the surrounding area. For more information, contact the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services at 703-838-4324 or visit www.alexandriava.gov/tes.

There is a pet calendar contest to benefit the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. All pets are eligible and all entries will appear in the calendar. $25/pet, which includes one calendar. Entry deadline is Aug. 22. Visit www.alexandriaanimals.org or 703-838-4774.

Nonprofit organizations and other grantseekers in Alexandria looking for funding sources now have access to a valuable new collection of resources through Alexandria Library. The Foundation Center’s core collection includes The Foundation Directory Online and Foundation Grants to Individuals Online. All four Alexandria Library branches have access to the two databases through their catalog computers. The complete Cooperating Collection of print and electronic resources is held at the Barrett Library, located at 717 Queen St. For more information visit visit www.alexandria.lib.va.us .

The City of Alexandria has partnered with Alexandria City Public Schools to obtain a grant for $70,000 to retrofit approximately 40 school buses with clean air technology that reduces pollutants emitted by diesel engine school buses. For more information about the Retrofit Grant Program, please contact Erica Bannerman, Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, at 703-838-4334 or David Rose, Alexandria City Public Schools, at 703-461-4169.

The Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA) invites youth (6th – 12th grades) and adults who live in the City of Alexandria or work with Alexandria youth to complete a short online survey that asks for perceptions and opinions about youth substance abuse in our community. Incentives are provided for youth participants, and adult survey participants have access to recent statistics on youth substance abuse in Alexandria. Community members are asked to complete one of the seven questionnaires, which are all available at alexandriava.gov/sapcasurvey and can be completed in about 10-15 minutes.

The 4Paws Rescue Team is allowed to keep foster cats at the Petco in Alexandria to increase their chances of finding a loving home. Petco volunteers are asked to commit to one evening or morning each week to care for 2-4 cats. Currently are in dire need of Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning volunteers (until noon), but volunteers for other shifts are encouraged to apply as well. 
If interested, contact info@fourpaws.org or by phone at 703-715-6369.

The Northern Virginia Review is accepting entries for the next issue, slated for publication in March 2009. The Review, an annual journal of essays, fine art, photography, poetry and short stories, accepts submissions from residents of the Northern Virginia and the greater Washington metropolitan area.

People may submit two essays, two works of fiction, three pieces of artwork and four poems, with a limit of five items per person. The deadline for entries is Sept. 18. Additional guidelines can be found at http://www.nvcc.edu/depts/nvreview/nvr-submit.htm. The Review is funded by Northern Virginia Community College, the NVCC Educational Foundation, individuals and corporate sponsors. Contributions are tax deductible and all donors are recognized in the publication. To make a donation or learn more about the journal, contact Managing Editor Steve Drasner at sdrasner@nvcc.edu.

The Alexandria Archaeological Commission (AAC) is now accepting nominations for the Bernard “Ben” Brenman Archaeology in Alexandria Award. The Brenman Award is open to businesses, organizations, families, professional preservationists, volunteers, students and other individuals who have demonstrated work or efforts in archaeological investigation, research, site protection, education, public interpretation, open space design, collections, or conservation. Nomination forms are available at www.alexandriaarchaeology.org or by calling the Alexandria Archaeology Museum at 703.838.4399. The deadline for nominations is June 30.

Alexandria Library now offers its patrons a chance to write their own reviews of almost all of the Library holdings (books, movies, music, and other materials) on the Alexandria Library Web site online catalog at www.alexandria.lib.va.us. To access the online catalog, visit www.alexandria.lib.va.us , click on “Library Catalog,” and begin browsing. To write a review, simply register and type your review for all to read. For more information, contact Mark Schwartz at 703-519-3498, or e-mail mschwartz@alexandria.lib.va.us

The Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is seeking persons who are diplomatic, assertive, and good communicators to serve as volunteer ombudsmen. Volunteers are assigned to a specific local nursing home or assisted-living facility in the City of Alexandria and make weekly visits, meeting one-on-one with residents. For further information and to obtain an application, call 703-324-5422, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/LTCOmbudsman.

Have an attic or basement full of treasures collecting dust? Put them to good use instead by donating them to MV Big Flea. The Big Flea benefits the Mount Vernon Community School PTA in Alexandria's Del Ray neighborhood. Here's how it works: You donate items to the school PTA. They sell them and keep the proceeds. You receive a tax-deductible contribution. Donations can be dropped off on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at 409 E. Alexandria Ave. If possible, send an email to joseph.lamountain@gmail.com and let Joe know that you are coming and what you plan to bring so we can plan accordingly. You may also contact Joseph LaMountain at 202-288-5124.

The Alexandria chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) meet at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, at the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center, 1108 Jefferson St. Contact 703-684-6190 or visit www.naacpalexandria.org.

Greenlight Toastmasters International meets every second and fourth Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Mount Vernon Rec Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave. Visit greenlight.freetoasthost.info or 703-569-4810.

Every Saturday, 7–9 a.m. there are bookmark distributions in Del Ray and Old Town to promote awareness about domestic violence. For more information contact Stephanie Romonchuk at Stephanie.romonchuk@alexandriava.gov or 703-838-4911.

Come and volunteer at the The Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC) headquarters offices in Alexandria. Again this year, CFNC staff and volunteers will be preparing our holiday solicitation mailing. We need your help to hand-address, collate stuff and stamp over 2500 letters. We always have a wonderful time working on this project, talking, snacking and getting to know each other. We would love to have you join us. CFNC relies on the funds from this mailing to help provide no cost preschool and family services to those children and their families living at or below the poverty level in Alexandria and Arlington. Please call Patricia Chapman at 703-836-0214, or e-mail to pchapman@cfnc-online.org.