Arlington’s main event is the Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade. The free event starts at 8:00 p.m. More than 40 local groups will march in the event, some with floats and the quintessential beads. The parade will run along Wilson Blvd from N. Barton St to N. Irving St. The following street closures will be in effect:
- Wilson Blvd from N. Veitch St to N. Barton St will be closed from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Adams St and Wayne St, between Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd, will be closed from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Blvd from Barton St to Irving St will be closed from 7:45-9:30 p.m.
In addition, street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. Parade-goers are encouraged to use Metro.
If standing outside for a parade isn’t your style, perhaps some of these other options will pique your interest:
- Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Rd) promises a celebration of Bourbon Street proportions. The Lundi Gras Party and Dinner kicks things off on Monday at 6:00 p.m. An all-inclusive four course dinner is offered, along with jazz music. On Tuesday, the party starts at 5:00 p.m. with “Parade Route Fare” like gumbo, muff-a-lottas, crawfish etouffee and oysters. Various ticket options are available for food, alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks. Contact the restaurant for ticket options at 703-243-2410 or online.
- Union Jack’s (671 N. Glebe Rd.) is turning the obligatory Mardi Gras bead throwing into a contest to see who can collect the most. Prizes and specials are available throughout the night, and the evening’s grand prize will be a New Orleans trip.
- You don’t have to have a night out to enjoy some king cake. Pick up one of the fruity, colorful concoctions from Heidelberg Bakery (2150 N. Culpeper St) and enjoy hunting for the plastic baby in the comfort of your home. The bakery is taking advance orders.
- Maybe you can’t wait until Tuesday to begin celebrating. In that case, Lucy’s ARL (2620 S. Shirlington Rd) may be the answer, with its N’awlins-style Mardi Gras on Saturday. Starting at 8:00 p.m., jambalaya, oyster po’ boys and a crawfish boil will be accompanied by festive drinks and music. Free pool will be offered all night, and bead contests take place every half an hour. Tickets can be purchased online.
- Piola (1550 Wilson Blvd) is also starting the festivities early, in addition to focusing on Rio instead of New Orleans. Its 5th Annual Carnival Party takes place on Saturday starting at 9:00 p.m. Brazil’s national cocktails, caipirinhas and caipiroskas, will be served while a live band gets people moving to samba music. Feathers, costumes and masks are encouraged. Contact the restaurant for reservations.
- A number of churches mark Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, with traditional pancake suppers. Because in ancient times people used up all the sugar, fat, flour and eggs in their homes to observe fasting during Lent, many made pancakes. One of the churches having a pancake feast is St. John’s Episcopal Church (415 S. Lexington St). Everyone is welcome from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under 6. A food donation of cereal is also requested. St. George’s Church (915 N. Oakland St) will also hold a pancake supper. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 2-12 or $15 for a family.
Soccer Field to Close for Summer – The synthetic turf field at Virginia Highlands Park, used extensively for soccer games, is expected to be closed for much of the spring and summer so that the turf can be replaced. [Sun Gazette]
Church to Celebrate 50th Anniversary — St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (4250 N. Glebe Road) will be holding a concert next weekend to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Man Killed by Dump Truck — Prince George’s County Police are investigating the death of an Arlington County man who was hit by a dump truck in Capitol Heights on Wednesday evening. [Gazette.net]
Someone had the nerve to break into the Greenbrier Baptist Church and steal a laptop last week, according to the latest Arlington County crime report.
BURGLARY, 01/05/12, 5400 block of S. 7th Road. Between 7:30 pm on January 4, and 6:20 am on January 5, an unknown subject entered through a basement window of a local church. A laptop computer was stolen. There is no suspect description.
Also last week, someone was bold enough to break into at least five vehicles in the Pentagon City mall parking garage in the middle of the day.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES), 01/04/11, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. On January 4 between 9 am and 1:30 pm, an unknown subject broke into at least five vehicles in a mall parking garage. Various items were stolen. There is no suspect description.
The rest of this week’s shorter-than-usual crime report, after the jump.
Community leaders marked the grand opening of The Macedonian (2229 Shirlington Road), a new mixed-use affordable housing development in Nauck (Green Valley), with a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning.
The $12 million development consists of 19 one bedroom and 17 two-bedroom apartments, as well as 2,000 square feet of commercial space for the Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corporation (BAJCDC) and a planned business incubator/shared work space. It was developed by AHC Inc. on land owned by the next-door Macedonia Baptist Church with county, state, federal, private and nonprofit financing.
While some of the attention surrounding the Macedonian is due to its environmentally-friendly features — it has a green roof and other energy-efficient accouterments, earning it the first EarthCraft Virginia certification for a multifamily development — the building’s real mission is the preservation and economic development of the diverse Nauck community against the pressures of higher rents and gentrification. The church, the county and BAJCDC have been fighting to keep Nauck affordable, and speakers today described the Macedonian as an important step in that continuing effort.
“There are more sheep to tend, there are more neighbors to help,” said David Bowers, Vice President of Enterprise Community Partners, which helped to fund the development. “Our work is not done.”
Attendees this morning included Rep. Jim Moran, County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin of the Macedonia Baptist Church and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker — a former Arlington resident and friend of Rev. Hamlin.
The Arlington County bomb squad was called out to a grassy lot next to Faith Lutheran Church (3313 Arlington Blvd) in Ashton Heights this afternoon to investigate what looked like a hand grenade.
A bomb technician eventually determined that the object — which was found lying in the grass well away from the church — was not explosive and the scene was cleared within an hour. Based on initial descriptions, the object was likely a toy or a replica hand grenade.
County staff is recommending that the County Board approve AT&T’s request to put new cell phone antennas in a pair of North Arlington church steeples.
Last month the company went before the board to request permission to replace older antennas and equipment at 15 existing cell sites around the county. The equipment will allow AT&T to offer high speed ‘Long Term Evolution’ (LTE) data service to cell phone customers in Arlington. The board approved the replacement at 13 of the sites, but withdrew two for further consideration after a number of neighbors voiced opposition.
The two sites in question are both churches: the Westover Baptist Church (1125 Patrick Henry Drive) and Walker Chapel United Methodist Church (4102 N. Old Glebe Road). AT&T already has cell phone antennas in the steeples of both churches, but neighbors objected to what they saw as the possible health risks of the new antennas. Those opposing antennas at Walker Chapel also cited the historic nature of the 140-year-old church, even though the building itself is just over 50 years old.
Ultimately, county staff sided with AT&T, which argued that the new antennas will not be substantially heavier than the existing antennas — thus posing no anticipated structural problems — and will remain compliant with FCC regulations regarding radio frequency exposure.
“AT&T will contribute less than five percent of the maximum permissible exposure allowed,” staff wrote in the board report. The company agreed to annual, independent electromagnetic emission tests at all 15 sites to ensure compliance.
Last week’s revelation that the World Health Organization now considers cell phone use to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” however, will likely only serve to increase the resolve of antenna opponents. Even if the County Board wanted to decide the matter on the basis of health concerns, however, it is legally prohibited from doing so. According to the board report, federal law “prohibits localities from basing decisions on the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions if the facility complies with FCC regulations.”
The board is scheduled to consider the cell antenna requests on Saturday.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd) will be holding a mock New Orleans-style funeral on Sunday in celebration of the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy.
“The anticipated 400 to 600 attendees will participate in a faux burial of a large scroll representing the DADT policy, accompanied by a genuine brass band and decorated umbrellas,” the church said in a press release. “Following the formalities, we will provide revelry with live music and hors d’oeuvres.”
Admission to the event is free. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP online. The church says the service will honor those who have served in the military and those who worked to repeal the policy.
“UUCA has invited all who are in sympathy with its inclusive vision to honor former and current military service members and veterans, [the] Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network, U.S. Congress members who voted for the repeal of DADT, and local elected officials,” the church said.
The “funeral” will take place at the church on Sunday, April 3 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith will preside over the ceremony. UUCA describes itself as “a liberal religious community of 900 members.”
DADT banned gays from serving openly in the military. It was repealed in December, although the policy has officially remained in place pending a review.
Speaking in front of TV cameras and about 15 audience members at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Route 50, immigrant advocates said the bills represent the kind of “divisive, partisan politics” that Virginia’s immigrant community has “always feared.”
“Now more than ever we cannot be silent, we have to act,” said Dr. Emma Violand-Sanchez, an Arlington County School Board member and a board member of Northern Virginia Community College. “We have to defeat all these anti-immigrant bills.”
Violand-Sanchez said she was particularly concerned about HB 1465, which passed the Virginia House of Delegates by a vote of 75-24. The bill would deny undocumented students the opportunity to attend public colleges, including community colleges, in Virginia. Violand-Sanchez said the bill would affect about 200 undocumented Northern Virginia Community College students who are currently paying the out-of-state tuition rate.
“We cannot create a permanent underclass of marginalized young people who are not allowed to continue to their education,” she said. “These students work hard to pay for their education… Will we close the door to them now?”
Melanie Maron Pell, Director of the American Jewish Committee of Washington, which supports immigrant rights, said there’s an economic argument to be made for the defeat of HB 1465.
A crew from Dateline NBC will be filming the evening mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in South Arlington on Saturday. The church is being featured for its upcoming humanitarian mission to Haiti.
A delegation of parishioners and Remote Area Medical volunteers will be leaving for a two-week trip to Medor, Haiti on Sunday. Together, the group will conduct a medical clinic for the cholera-ravaged town of 40,000. They will also repair roads and build an airstrip to allow air ambulances to deliver critical supplies.
“Medor has no running water, no sewage or trash disposal, impassable roads and inadequate agriculture,” the church said in a press release. “Like the rest of Haiti, the village has been devastated by a succession of hurricanes, earthquakes and now the deadly cholera epidemic this year.”
The earthquake and aftershocks that reduced Port au Prince to rubble earlier this year also damaged schools, medical clinics and churches in Medor. It also resulted in an influx of refugees to the area.
Our Lady Queen of Peace, located in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood, has supported missions in Medor since 1997.
The Dateline special is set to air on or around Jan. 12, the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who died at the age of 92 last Monday, was a towering figure in the Senate, even as his health began to deteriorate in recent years. He chaired the powerful Appropriations Committee and has twice served as Senate majority leader. He was derided as the “King of Pork” for his tireless efforts to steer federal funds to his home state of West Virginia. His passionate floor speeches against the Iraq war and in support of the Constitution are the stuff of legends.
Byrd, once a local leader in the Ku Klux Klan, filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His membership in the Baptist church would later prompt him to renounce intolerance and vote for the 1968 Civil Rights Act.
At this morning’s funeral at the Memorial Baptist Church on North Glebe Road, speakers focused more on Byrd’s Baptist beliefs than on his former bigotry.
“He described himself to me as a born-again, old-time-religion, Bible-based Christian,” Smith said, recalling a time when Byrd recited 20 Bible verses by memory following a church service.
A number of dignitaries were among those filling the wooden pews in the church’s sunny white sanctuary. They included Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), former U.S. senator Paul Sarbanes and Victoria Reggie Kennedy, wife of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Music played a central role in the service. The sounds of mountain fiddle music filled the church as mourners took their seats. A 21-person choir later performed “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It was a fitting tribute to Byrd, who was himself an accomplished fiddler and occasional singer.
Easter is traditionally a busy time for baptisms and initiations in the Catholic church. Thousands of conversions take place around the beginning of spring, a symbolic sign of Easter blessings, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
There are 428,417 registered Catholics in the Arlington diocese, which encompasses 21 northern Virginia counties.
Pool photo by brianmka.
Arlington County’s effort to build affordable housing on land owned by the First Baptist Church of Clarendon is facing tough opposition from neighbors who claim the development violates the separation of church and state. One resident has even filed a lawsuit — on constitutional grounds — against the church, the county and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
More from the Washington Post.