Arlington administrative and human services offices, libraries, and schools will be closed on Monday, Jan. 20. Parking meters will not be enforced. Courts and the Sheriff’s Office will be closed on Friday and Monday.
The Arlington Mill Community Center will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., but all other community centers will be closed.
Arlington will hold its annual tribute to Dr. King from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Washington-Lee High School auditorium (1301 N. Stafford Street).
“The program, now in its 45th year, will feature live music from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir, dance from Lesole’s Dance Project and spoken word from Arlington’s own Joan Trumpauer Mulholland,” according to the county website.
Disclosure: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute is being advertised on ARLnow.com.
The top 8 retail centers in Arlington, including the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and Ballston Common Mall, alone house 644 stores. Arlington retailers recorded a total of $3.27 billion worth of taxable sales in 2012.
The holidays are obviously a crucial time for retailers, providing on outsized portion of annual sales and profit. But with retail sales growth sluggish compared to the growth in online sales, and with the large regional malls in Tysons Corner and outlet stores elsewhere continuing to lure shoppers, the holidays could be a struggle for some local stores.
Nearly 2.4 million people, or about 41 percent of the metro region’s population, are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the time period from this Saturday, December 21, through Wednesday, January 1. That’s a small increase of 0.1 percent over last year. This will be the fifth consecutive year for such an increase, and the highest recorded travel volume for the winter holiday season.
“Unfortunately, a number of Washingtonians sat out three of the first four holiday travel periods of the year as an upshot of all the political drama in the nation’s capital and the economic stress it engendered. But they will not be denied nor deny themselves or their families during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel period,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
Air travel is expected to slightly decline to 129,300 travelers, compared with 130,400 last year. The number of people traveling by train or bus is also down this year, by about two percent. Automobile travel, however, is expected to increase by 0.3 percent, to more than 2.1 million people.
D.C. metro area residents plan on traveling an average of 965 miles for the holidays. That’s up from 805 miles last year.
ACPD reminds drivers to use seat belts, drive safely and pay attention to the roads. In addition to an increase in drunk drivers and distracted drivers around the holidays, police report 32 percent of drivers are more likely to drive more aggressively during this time.
Police had noticed an uptick in drunk driving incidents last month, just before Thanksgiving. During the Thanksgiving weekend alone, Virginia had 11 traffic fatalities. The ACPD hopes drivers will heed its safety message in order to avoid a similar scenario around the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays.
Here are the safety tips offered by ACPD:
- Buckle up — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than half of the people killed nationwide in traffic collisions were not wearing seatbelts.
- Protect Child Passengers — The safest place for child passengers is in the back seat. Be sure they have a child safety seat and that it is used the correct way.
- Don’t Drink & Drive — Every 45 minutes in the U.S., someone dies from an alcohol-related crash. Be responsible and don’t drink and drive. If you do drink, designate a sober driver or take a cab or public transportation. The Arlington County Police Department is participating in the annual “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over” enforcement initiative that continues through the New Year’s holiday.
- Avoid Distractions — 10% of fatal crashes and 18% of injuries caused by crashes were distraction related in 2012. Distractions to avoid while driving include, but aren’t limited to, cell phone use, texting, eating, drinking, and using in-vehicle technologies or portable electronic devices.
- Prepare for Inclement Weather — Last year, 4% of car crash fatalities over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend were weather related. Be sure your car is weather ready and fully serviced. Should the weather be bad, avoid driving. If you are driving, be sure to drive slowly and know your vehicle.
The department added the following greeting: “From our family to yours, the Arlington County Police Department wishes you a safe, happy, and accident free holiday season.”
There’s an immediate need for people to help this week with sorting and distributing donated coats, or next week with distributing donated children’s holiday gifts. In the coming months, people are asked to help out with tasks like income tax preparation.
Numerous opportunities can be found on the Volunteer Arlington website, such as the following:
- Children’s Gift Distribution — Volunteers have already sorted most of the donated children’s gifts for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree holiday program, but help is needed for distributing the items. Distribution takes place next Wednesday, December 18. Volunteers must be at least 13 years old, and those between the ages of 13 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Contact Luisa Slay at 703-979-3380 or online.
- Coat Drive Distribution — Nauck Community Services Center has collected hundreds of coats and had them cleaned, and now volunteers are needed from 7:00-9:00 p.m. this Friday, December 13, to help sort the items. Volunteers are also needed from 8:00-10:00 a.m. this Saturday, November 14, to help neighbors in need pick out the perfect coat for themselves and family members. Contact Bri Sheffey at 703-229-5650 or online.
- Ship Bicycles to Africa — Bikes for the World is looking for people to help load hundreds of donated bikes and bike parts into 40 foot shipping containers. The items are used for health, education and jobs programs in Africa. Training will be provided. A number of dates are available over the next few months. Contact Yvette Hess at 703-740-7856 or online.
- Income Tax Assistance — Volunteers are requested by the DC EITC Campaign for helping people with income tax preparation early next year. A number of positions exist, including tax preparer, client coordinator, greeter and savings promoter. Training will take place in January and helpers must pass an IRS volunteer test. Shifts vary throughout the 2014 tax season. Contact Elizabeth Rosenberg at 202-547-7773 or online.
- Tutor Young Adults — Helpers are needed for assisting students in trying to earn their high school diplomas. Communities in Schools of Northern Virginia requests tutors to work on-site at a local high school to assist students with English, reading, science or math. A commitment of 2-10 hours per week is required. All tutors must be 18 or older and have a high school diploma. Volunteers must also complete a background check. Contact Daphne Charles at 703-228-8694 or online.
The Arlington County Police Department responded to 14 DUI incidents this weekend. On Sunday afternoon alone, there were four DUI hit and run cases. Police say that number is more typical of a Friday or Saturday night, not a Sunday afternoon.
“This is not a typical shift, with four similar DUI hit and runs. We were able to locate the individuals and apprehend them a short time after the incidents,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “This is unusual for a Sunday afternoon.”
One of the incidents involved police receiving calls about a car on I-66 westbound with what appeared to be one missing tire. Officers checking out the reports saw the driver of the vehicle hit another vehicle and attempt to leave the scene. She then reportedly hit the concrete barrier, which stopped her car near Glebe Road.
Officers had to remove the woman from her vehicle because they said she was unable to stand or hold up her own head. She was taken to the hospital as a precaution but did not have any serious injuries. Blood drawn at the hospital showed the woman had a blood alcohol level of .36. She was arrested for DUI and hit and run.
All of the drivers in the other three hit and run incidents were also tracked down and arrested for DUI and hit and run, among other offenses.
ACPD cautions drivers that DUI incidents tend to increase during holiday weeks. The department will have addition patrols out this week checking for drunk drivers in light of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“If you’re driving, please don’t drink,” Sternbeck said. “If you do drink alcohol, please use a sober designated driver and wear your seatbelt.”
The gift cards, distributed by the county’s Department of Human Services, will help foster children, people with disability and low-income buy gifts or food for the holiday season.
Cards from grocery stores, drug stores, clothing stores and department stores like Target are encouraged. DHS requests gift cards instead of gifts to empower the recipients to buy what they need most.
The gift cards should be of no more value than $25, but Secret Santas can send multiple gift cards. The gifts should include the value of the card and be sent by Dec. 17 to:
Secret Santa Program c/o Kurt Larrick
Department of Human Services
2100 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22204
If you include a return address or email address, the county will send back a thank you note and a tax receipt.
No Metro Work This Weekend — In an occurrence that’s somewhat rare these days, there is no Metro rebuilding work planned on the Blue, Orange or Yellow Lines this weekend. [WMATA]
New Rosslyn Cafe to Open Monday — Caffe Aficionado, a new independent coffee shop at 1919 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn, is scheduled to officially open on Monday, according to owner Adiam Berhane. The cafe is also holding events for neighbors today and Saturday.
Chamber Joins Small Biz Shopping Initiative — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the organizers of Arlington Small Business Day. The Chamber will help promote the holiday shopping day, which debuted last year and is scheduled for Nov. 30. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Arlington County offices will be open on Columbus Day (Monday).
County offices and libraries will be open for the federal holiday. ART buses and Metro will run on a holiday schedule. Courts will be closed.
Parking meters will be enforced. Arlington Public Schools and administrative offices will be open, but students will not have class.
The library recently began lending American Girl dolls and the toys are getting a lot of play time. Volunteers are needed for upkeep of the dolls, including combing their hair, washing their clothes and replacing worn out parts. The position posting reads: “We need someone who enjoys working with dolls and their belongings and who is dependable.”
There would be a weekly commitment, but hours are flexible. Ideal candidates are teens or a parent/child team. Those 18 years and older must consent to a background check.
Interested volunteers should contact Barbara Dean at 703-228-7688 or put in a request online.
Below are a few other new volunteer opportunities around Arlington:
- Community Picnic Volunteers — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is looking for helpers at a picnic it is hosting for residents at Columbia Grove on July 15. Volunteers would help with setup and cleanup, leading games for children, face painting, cooking and distributing food and drinks. The picnic is designed to help residents meet their neighbors and build a sense of community. The event runs from 3:30-7:30 p.m., but arrangements may be made for those who can’t stay the entire time. Anyone interested in helping should contact Liz McElwee at 703-851-3635 or send an online request.
- Angel Tree Family Registration — Although it’s summertime, the Salvation Army is already looking for people to help with its Angel Tree holiday gift program. The program identifies needy children and matches each one with a sponsor who will provide holiday gifts for the child. Volunteers will register needy families for the program and help make holiday wish lists. Helpers must be available on weekdays from September 16-October 11, but the schedule is flexible. Although volunteers who are available on a recurring basis are preferred, those who are only available on a one-time basis will also be considered. To sign up, call Brittney Drakeford at 202-756-2615 or send an online request.
- Spanish Academy Teacher Assistant — Volunteer teacher assistants are needed for Edu-Futuro’s Spanish Academy — a two week (August 12-23) summer immersion camp that provides cultural and academic enrichment and Spanish language skills to rising kindergarteners through fifth graders. Volunteers will perform tasks such as assisting with student registration, helping with classroom activities and watching over students during activities and recess breaks. Applicants should have Spanish language skills (verbal and written), experience working with children and must go through a background check. To sign up, contact Eneida Alcade at 703-228-2560 or send an online request.
Photo via Facebook
All courts, offices, human services facilities, libraries and schools will be closed. Parking meters will not be enforced.
Pools will be open on a holiday schedule. Arlington Transit will also operate on a holiday schedule. Metro will be operating on a holiday schedule, but will be boosting rail service due to the July 4 crowds.
Trash and recycling collection will proceed as normal, as will certain special collections.
All county offices will reopen on Friday, though General District Court will remain closed through the weekend, and the Circuit Court will close at 1:00 p.m.
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Also called Presidents Day, the holiday marks the end of a string of winter federal holidays. The next federal holiday is Memorial Day, on May 27.
In Arlington, all courts, schools, libraries and county offices will be closed. All community centers will be closed, with the exception of the Barcroft Community Center, which will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown pools will be open on a holiday schedule. Monday marks the last day before the pools start their spring schedule.
Trash and recycling collection will proceed as normal.
The Dec. 15 wreath laying, an annual holiday tradition in its 21st year, involved some 20,000 volunteers. The cemetery is hoping to get another good volunteer turnout from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday).
From a military press release:
On Sat., Jan. 26, volunteers are picking up Remembrance Wreaths that were placed on approximately 112,000 gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery, as part of Wreaths Across America.
The event will occur regardless of the weather. Metro use is strongly encouraged due to limited parking. Information on the Metro system is available at: http://www.wmata.com.
Arlington National Cemetery’s Welcome Center will open at 7 a.m. for volunteers. Wreaths Across America leaders will brief volunteers on the cleanup plan at 8:45 a.m. at the Memorial Amphitheater. Visitors, including those with permanent passes, will not be permitted to drive to specific gravesites to visit loved ones until after the wreath cleanup at approximately 1 p.m. Volunteers should expect to stay until 1 p.m. to ensure the wreath cleanup is complete.
The ANC Welcome Center will open at 7 a.m. for volunteers but there will be no access to other locations within the cemetery until 8 a.m. There will be no vehicular access to the cemetery except through the gate to the parking garage until after the wreath cleanup at approximately 1 p.m.
Shuttle service will be available for a fee via ANC Tours by Martz.
Arlington will be accessible to pedestrians only from the following gates:
- Ord-Weitzel: south of the Netherlands Carillon and the Iwo Jima Memorial
- Main: Memorial Drive by the Women’s Memorial and Welcome Center entrance
- Service Complex: (south side) off Columbia Pike between the Air Force and Pentagon Memorials. This gate will close at 1 p.m.
- Fort Myer (northwest side, Fort Myer’s Old Post Chapel Gate) adjacent to the Old Post Chapel
- South Gate: Henderson Hall, Marine Corps Exchange/Service entrance. This gate will close at 1 p.m.
All vehicular access to the cemetery will be through the Welcome Center parking garage. Vehicular access into the cemetery will begin at 8 a.m. Family members with valid entry passes will enter the cemetery through the Welcome Center parking lot. Parking will be in designated areas only. Handicapped parking will be available in the Administrative Building parking lot.
Metro use is strongly encouraged due to limited parking. There are four Metro stops within a mile of a cemetery gate.
- Rosslyn: Orange & Blue lines (.7 mi) from Ord-Weitzel gate, via Iwo Jima Memorial
- Arlington Cemetery: Blue line – cemetery’s primary Metro stop
- Pentagon: Yellow & Blue lines – (.7 mi) access through south Service Complex gate
- Pentagon City: Yellow & Blue lines – (.9 mi) access through south Service Complex gate
TIPS FOR THE CLEANUP:
* Wear gloves
* Bring a device to collect/hold multiple wreaths (such as a broom handle, rake, rope with a board tied to one end) * Wear comfortable walking shoes * Wear weather appropriate clothing
It’s a season for giving, but apparently some scam artists are instead using the opportunity for taking. The Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office is warning residents to watch out for holiday scams, particularly those involving false charities and phishing.
Some groups use names that sound similar to legitimate charities and pressure consumers for donations. They might also offer particularly touching stories in an attempt to garner sympathy and contributions. The AG’s office said many consumers who would typically notice the sketchy “charities” may be too busy or distracted by the holidays to pick up on the normal cues.
Phishing involves using deceptive emails or text messages to obtain usernames, passwords and financial information from a victim. Consumers might receive an email or text message from someone posing as a representative from a bank or retail establishment, saying the customer’s account has been restricted due to unusual activity or too many unsuccessful online login attempts. The scammer then requests bank account numbers, passwords and/or a social security number to reactivate the account.
Some consumers have received fraudulent text messages, emails or phone calls stating they won a gift card from reputable companies such as Target or Best Buy. Scammers might also say the consumer entered a contest at a store. Both of these tactics are used to bait consumers into providing personal information.
In all cases, consumers should avoid handing over sensitive personal information, and should never feel obligated to donate to a charity under pressure. Ask charity representatives who approach you for more information, and do your own research, the attorney general’s office advises. Check the charity’s website, along with resources such as the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance or the National Association of State Charity Officials.
If a charity is legitimate, it will accept your donation at any time and will not need to pressure for donations. Never give cash, and if using a check, make it out directly to the charity instead of an individual person. Do not use money transfer companies to send money to a person you haven’t met.
“My office is committed to helping consumers protect themselves from falling victim to fraud. When it comes to charity scams, especially around the holidays, it is best that people do lots of research and only give money to charities and businesses they can really trust,” said AG Cuccinelli in a statement. “It is our hope that all Virginians can enjoy a joyful and safe holiday season without being taken advantage of by scammers.”
You can file complaints regarding scams on the consumer protection section of the attorney general’s website.