Career Center Open House

Parents of current or rising Arlington high school students are invited to attend the Arlington Career Center's parent information night from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today.

The session will include a brief overview of the Career Center's program series, tips on scheduling classes at the center and a tour of the school -- including the forensics lab, television studio and automotive technology bay. Light refreshments will be served.

The Career Center offers 25 classes in nine career fields: arts and communications, business and marketing, computer technology, transportation, construction, engineering, health services, public safety and human services. Students can fulfill lab science requirements for a high school diploma by taking Career Center classes. Through agreements with Northern Virginia Community College, several programs offer college credit for classes taken at the Career Center while students are still in high school. Some programs also offer state and local certification for students who successfully complete Career Center classes. Many students also take part in a wide variety of field experiences through internships and apprentice, mentor and work-study programs.

The Career Center is at 816 S. Walter Reed Dr., Arlington.

Writing to Dr. King

Arlington students can compete in the eighth annual "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Contest" through Dec. 2. Each contestant is to write a letter or poem to King. Each entry must begin with "Dear Dr. King, What happens to a dream deferred?" The official contest rules are available at

The contest is open to all Arlington residents, grades one through 12. A male and female first place winner will be selected in three categories: elementary school (grades one through five), middle school (grades six through eight) and high school (grades nine through 12). First place high school winners will each receive $100, middle school winners $75 and elementary school winners $50.

Each first place entry will be published in the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper with a photograph of the author. In addition, first place winners will read or recite their letters or poems at the 37th annual "Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 15, in the Thomas Jefferson Middle School theater. Winners will be notified by Jan. 9.

The contest is free, and entry forms are available at all Arlington Public Schools and Arlington County libraries and the centers listed below. Entry forms may be downloaded from the school system's Web site at All entries must be received by 5 p.m. on Dec. 2, at one of the following parks and recreation locations: Carver, 1415 S. Queen St., 703-228-5706; Drew, 3500 24th St. S., 703-228-5725; Fairlington, 3308 S. Stafford St., 703-228-6588; Gunston, 2700 S. Lang St., 703-228-6980; Langston-Brown, 2121 N. Culpeper St., 703-228-5210; Lee, 5722 Lee Hwy., 703-228-0550; Lubber Run, 300 N. Park Dr., 703-228-4727; and Thomas Jefferson, 3501 Second St. S., 703-228-5920. Entry forms are also available at the community relations office, Arlington Public Schools, 1426 N. Quincy St., Suite 106.

Arlington and Wildlife

Arlington is the first county in Virginia to be certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Community Wildlife Habitat.

The certification is awarded to communities whose residents designate a significant proportion of their lands as habitats that are beneficial to people, plants and wildlife. Each certified habitat must provide four basic elements: food, water, cover and places for insects and animals to raise young.

Arlington County Board members, along with hundreds of other county residents, have had their yards certified as wildlife habitats -- 403 yards in all, according to the county.

The National Wildlife Federation awarded the county the certification during ceremonies last week.

Eco-Friendly Alexandria

The Sierra Club has named Alexandria a "Cool City" for its efforts to reduce pollution that contributes to global warming.

Alexandria joins 187 cities nationwide that are taking action to introduce measures such as cleaner car fleets, greater energy efficiency and renewable energy, according to a city press release.

Becoming a "Cool City" requires four steps: taking a "Cities for Climate Protection" pledge, in which the mayor signs a U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement; conducting an inventory of global-warming emissions; creating a plan to reduce emissions and lower energy costs for the city; and implementing and monitoring the plan.

Initiatives the city has taken to protect the environment include buying 10 Honda Civic cars that use compressed natural gas and two Toyota Prius gas-electric cars; and installing a "green" roof on the Health Department's new office building at 4480 King St.

The Sierra Club recognized the city's efforts during a presentation at City Hall.