One of the county’s best-known Christmas tree sellers, the Optimist Club of Arlington, is expecting a record number of sales this year, according to the Sun Gazette. The club has ordered 1,200 trees from forests in North Carolina — 100 more than last year, when all trees were gone by Dec. 18.
The Optimist Club sells its trees from the parking lot of the Wells Fargo bank at Glebe Road and Lee Highway. Other Christmas tree sellers around town include the Boy Scouts (6000 Wilson Blvd), the Lions Club (Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive), and the Knights of Columbus (830 23rd Street S.), according to a recent forum thread.
Of course, not everybody opts for the real deal. Freshly-cut trees require water, care and some sort of vehicular transportation, in addition to an annual investment. Artificial trees, on the other hand, can be purchased once, stashed in a closet and set up year after year with nary the risk of getting tree sap all over one’s hands.
Arlington’s polling places have been open for about four hours, and so far election day appears to be proceeding without a hitch.
As of 9:00 a.m., Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg reported being very busy but said there had been no significant issues to report. Although not a major incident, people at the Barrett Elementary School (4401 N. Henderson Road) polling place reported the school’s principal pulled campaign signs out of the ground, claiming they weren’t allowed to be there. After witnesses made a few phone calls to lawyers and the superintendent, the principal learned he was incorrect and apologized for taking down the signs.
Last week, Lindberg noted that already there had been an increase in absentee voting over the 2009 election. This morning she said is was still too early to estimate how many people might turn up to vote in person.
“It’s been pretty steady, that’s about all we know at this point,” Lindberg said. “It’s not outrageous, just pretty steady.”
Voters, however, have been reporting short lines at places like Barrett Elementary.
“I was pretty surprised at how few people were here,” said Melanie Papasian. “After the long lines last year, I expected to see more. Hopefully they come in more by the end of the day.”
“Last year, I got in line at 7:30 a.m. and left the polling place at 9:45,” said Brian Lemak. ”I know off-year elections aren’t as big but I got in and out in 10 minutes, which I was really surprised by.”
At the River House (1600 S. Joyce Street) polling place in Pentagon City, voters repeatedly expressed particular interest in voting in this gubernatorial race, compared with others in recent years.
“This is an important election,” said Dan Bailey. “The governor of Virginia can set a tone and I haven’t liked the tone we’ve had for the last few years.”
Haydn Kuprevich recently moved to Arlington and wanted to fulfill his civic duty.
“It’s something I do every time there’s an election,” said Kuprevich. “It’s important for me to understand the issues people are talking about and what their positions are.”
“I was passionate about everybody having equal rights, I was passionate about women’s rights, I was passionate about looking out for all the people and not a select group in the state, because the governor represents everybody,” said Mary Elizabeth Boyd. “I think the whole country’s going in a certain direction right now and we just have to settle it down and keep hanging in with what we believe in.”
Polls in Arlington remain open until 7:00 p.m. More information, including sample ballots, can be found online.
Metro Keys Stolen from Arlington Fire Truck — Two men wearing masks and black clothing stole keys to secure areas of the Metro system from an unattended Arlington County fire truck last week. The theft happened during a medical call in Crystal City, and the thieves also stole a forcible entry tool called a Hydra Ram. [NBC Washington]
New Wakefield Aquatics Center Debuts — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new aquatics center at Wakefield High School on Sunday. The center is expected to draw a larger crowd than the aging, existing Wakefield aquatics facility it replaces. The cost of entry is up to $5.50 per day for Arlington residents. [Sun Gazette]
Ft. Myer Heights Playground Opening Imminent — A new playground in Ft. Myer Heights, with slides made to look like hollowed-out logs, is set to open as soon as Wednesday. The playground also features a sand pit and picnic benches. [Ode Street Tribune]
New Poll Shows McAuliffe With Lead in Gov. Race — Democrat Terry McAuliffe is leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli 47-39 among likely votes in the Virginia governor’s race, according to a new Washington Post poll. Cuccinelli had a 10 point lead in a poll conducted this spring. [Washington Post]
Lt. Gov. Debate in Arlington Tonight — The candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor — Republican E.W. Jackson and Democrat Ralph Northam — will face off in a live debate in Arlington tonight. The 90-minute debate will take place at 7:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Founders Hall Auditorium in Virginia Square. [George Mason University]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
Cupp, who is one of the four co-hosts on the show, told the packed party crowd that, when she recently moved to Arlington from New York City, she didn’t realize she was moving to the “Hoboken of Washington.”
Hoboken, N.J. is a city of 50,000 situated on the Hudson River across from Manhattan. The city is noted for its upscale shops and condominiums, and bills itself as “America’s most walkable city” and a “bicycle friendly community.” The city’s website prominently features a flyer for the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival and a public service announcement about cleaning up pet waste.
Photo via Twitter
Washington Business Journal has today’s scoop that Ben’s Chili Bowl will be opening a new location in Rosslyn.
The new Ben’s will be located in at 1725 Wilson Blvd, in the former Ray’s Hell Burger space, WBJ reported.
But will the idea of scarfing down a chili half smoke closer to home be enough to drive Arlington residents to the new restaurant? Or is part of Ben’s allure tied to the original U Street NW location — whether it be the location’s history or proximity to popular bars?
After it opens — early next year, according to WBJ’s Rebecca Cooper — which Ben’s Chili Bowl will you be more likely to go to?
Photo via Facebook
The low temperature at Reagan National Airport this morning was a chilly 60 degrees. Despite lots of sunshine, we’ll be lucky to reach 80 degrees this afternoon.
It’s a continuation of yesterday’s fall-like weather, which tied for the 4th-coolest Aug. 14 in recorded D.C. history, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
From rooftops to parks to bridges, many spots attract loyal fireworks watchers who come back to watch the festivities across the Potomac year after year.
What’s your favorite place to watch the fireworks display?
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Why should Arlington County stop at backyard hens?
That’s the question posed by the author of a letter to the editor in the Sun Gazette this week. Arlington Public Schools, writes local resident William Johnson, should start keeping goats on school grounds.
The goats could be milked for school breakfasts and lunches, could help the schools “save funds on lawn maintenance,” and could help educate children about animal husbandry.
“Assuming the School Board will approve this as a pilot program, I will consider funding the purchase of the first few goats — assuming I receive naming rights for the animals,” Johnson writes.
Putting aside whether the school system would ever approve such a plan, and assuming for the moment that the letter-writer is making a serious proposal, would you be in favor of raising goats at Arlington Public Schools?
Photo via Wikimedia
As the Sun Gazette reports, the higher rate is due to a 1 percent increase in the state sales tax — a tax hike that’s earmarked for transportation projects. In all, half of the 10 percent tax will go to the state, while the other half will go the Arlington County.
Arlington’s restaurant tax revenue includes 4 percent for the county meals tax and 1 percent for the county’s share of the sales tax.
While a 1 percent tax hike is relatively tiny, there may be a psychological impact from the tax line on your check hitting the double digit mark. Will you be less likely to go out to eat once the total tax on meals hits 10 percent?
The holiday was first conceived in the early 20th century in order to complement Mother’s Day. While it was celebrated informally in the intervening years, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon made it an official, permanent national holiday.
So what are you planning to do for dad this weekend? Select the option that represents your primary Father’s Day present this year.
As reported by the Sun Gazette, the proposal would lower the speed limit on the key arteries, between Washington Blvd and Route 110, from 30 to 25 miles per hour.
The lower speed limit is in keeping with the county’s Master Transportation Plan, which calls for a 25 mile per hour speed limit on streets with lots of development and pedestrian activity.
The 17-year cicadas of Brood II, which last appeared during the Clinton Administration in 1996, would emerge en masse from the ground once the soil temperature was warm enough, disturbing the peace with their collective mating calls and littering lawns with their crunchy carcasses.
Alas, in Arlington, it seems like Brood II might be a bust. While points south and west of here do indeed have near-biblical-scale cicada infestations, it appears that most of Arlington has escaped unscathed.
If Arlington is to be invaded by cicadas, it’s most likely to happen during Brood X, which hit the D.C. area in 2004 and will return in 2021.
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
An otherwise cool May has given way to the usual D.C. summer combination of temperatures in the 90s and uncomfortable humidity.
With a “soupy and sultry” weekend in store, how do you plan to beat the heat?
The organization forecasts that 873,500 area residents will travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend, down nearly 2 percent from 890,600 last year.
Of those traveling, 795,000 (91 percent) will travel by car and 58,500 (6.6 percent) will travel by plane, AAA said. The air travel forecast is 10 percent below the 65,106 residents who traveled by air around this time last year.
The association blamed the drop in travel on the federal government sequester.
“Call it the ‘sequester siesta’ or ‘sequestration frustration’ and it is pulling down government spending across the national capital area,” AAA said in a press release. “Although they traveled at this time last year, many would-be travelers say they are cutting back on their vacation and sunny day travel plans for the time being. The sequester is lasting longer than first expected, and now most local workers are assuming the across-the-board federal spending cuts will continue throughout the summer months, the busiest travel season of the year, and it appears they are adopting a wait-and-see attitude.”
Of those traveling this weekend, almost two thirds are visiting family or friends. AAA says a third of all local travelers are going to a waterfront destination like the Maryland or Delaware shore.
So are you taking a “sequester siesta,” as AAA calls it, or are you planning to travel out of town this Memorial Day weekend?
Election Officials Seek Funding for Scanners — County election officials hope the County Board approves funding for bar code scanners that could speed up voter check-in at the polls. The scanners would read the codes on voters’ drivers’ licenses and voting cards, which would more quickly bring up residents’ information. A final County Board decision might not happen until the end of the fiscal year. [Sun Gazette]
Local Woman to Appear on Jeopardy! — Arlington resident Mary Jo Shoop will compete tonight on America’s popular quiz show, Jeopardy! During her time taping the show, Shoop was able to meet and get photos with host Alex Trebek. The episode will air tonight (Friday) at 7:30 p.m. on ABC 7 (WJLA).
APS Requests $0.005 Tax Rate Increase — (Updated at 10:00 a.m.) — Thursday night’s School Board meeting began with the announcement that the schools have asked the county for a one-half of one cent increase in the tax rate, which adds up to about $3 million. The funds would cover shortfalls in the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget of $520 million. APS Board Chair Emma Violand-Sanchez said the spring 2013 enrollment figures were higher than expected, prompting the need for more county money. [Arlington Mercury]
School Board Appoints Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations — John Chadwick was named the new Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations at last night’s (March 21) School Board meeting. He has served as the interim assistant superintendent since Feb. 1, and has served as the APS Director of Design and Construction since 2011. “John is a calm and reassuring leader as he has worked to collaborate with staff and the community on initiatives such as our recently-adopted ten-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). He has also been an adept manager for all of our recent capital improvement projects, including the construction at Yorktown and Wakefield and the planning of a new elementary school to be built on the Williamsburg site and the addition at Ashlawn,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy. “John’s leadership over the past two years for our ‘More Seats for More Students’ deliberations, as well as his support for the work of our new Multimodal Transportation Committee and our many other collaborative efforts with the Arlington County Government have been a tremendous asset to APS.”
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann