Normally around this time of year, readers and watchers of local news are bombarded with warnings about the dangers of turkey fryers. Those dangers still exist — see below — but the Arlington County Fire Department says there’s another Thanksgiving danger that often goes un-publicized: distracted cooking.
“Burnt food or food on the stove calls are more frequent than turkey fryer incidents,” ACFD spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl told ARLnow.com. “Distracted cooking is hazardous.”
Distracted cooking leads to almost daily fire-related calls to houses and apartment buildings in Arlington. Most food-on-the-stove calls just result in lots of smoke or minor fires that are quickly extinguished, but some can lead to full-scale fires.
The department offered the following cooking safety tips for the holidays and beyond.
Don’t be distracted while cooking. Guests and other distractions can take your attention from cooking which could result in a fire or injury. Don’t leave any cooking unattended.
Wear short sleeves or fitted sleeves. Loose fitting sleeves can contact heat sources and catch fire.
Turn pot and pan handles away from the stoves edge to prevent burns and scalds.
If you are going to fry a turkey follow all recommendations by the manufacturer for the fryer. Do not use the fryer on a deck or close to a residence.
Have a “kid free zone” 3 feet around the stove or areas where cooking is being done. Keeping the children away will help prevent burn and scald injuries.
On the inevitable topic of turkey fryers, Karl cautioned against a new indoor turkey fryer that seems safer than the traditional kind, but which is susceptible to the same fire hazards.
Karl said the popular Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer, seen in the video below, can still cause a fire if overfilled with oil.
“We do not believe they are any more or less hazardous than a regular deep fat fryer,” he said. “The same risks still exist frying a turkey indoors or outdoors. We ask people read the manufacturers recommendations and be certain the turkey is completely thawed before frying.”
“We wish everybody a safe Thanksgiving,” Karl added.
Thanksgiving Closures — Most county offices and facilities will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Arlington courts, meanwhile, close at noon today. Community centers will be closed, except for Barcroft and Walter Reed, which will both be open on Friday. ART and Metro will run on a holiday schedule. Trash collection will operate as normal. [Arlington County]
Streets to Close for Turkey Trot 5K — The Lyon Park neighborhood will host its 7th annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving (Thursday) morning. The race, which has sold out, will result in several street closures in the area. [ACPD]
Library Technical Difficulties Update — Arlington Public Library is still struggling to recover from a system crash on Friday. “The catalog/accounts system and research databases will remain unavailable through Wednesday morning at the earliest,” the library said on its web site last night. All items due between Nov. 10 and Nov. 26 are now due Dec. 1. [Arlington Public Library]
County Plans for Bikeshare — Arlington has created a 6-year “Transit Development Plan” for Capital Bikeshare, the first such plan for a bikesharing system in the United States. The county will now submit the plan to Virginia with the hopes that Capital Bikeshare will be eligible for state transit funding. [Mobility Lab]
Pike Taekwondo Studio Celebrates Anniversary — U.S. Taekwondo College, the martial arts studio in the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse building at 932 S. Walter Reed Drive, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Grandmaster Myung Hak Kang, an immigrant from Seoul, South Korea, established the business in 1972. “I didn’t know how popular Taekwondo would be in a foreign country,” he said in an email. “I wanted to share a passion of mine and hoped the fitness and discipline aspect would catch on.”
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
People around the country and here in Arlington have already begun heading to their Thanksgiving destinations. In the D.C. metro area, the number of travelers is expected to be slightly higher than last year.
More than 1 million local residents are anticipated to travel 50 miles or more for the holiday, according to AAA. That’s a 1.3 percent increase over last year.
“The consistently solid travel numbers since the 2008 drop, despite high gas prices and a struggling economy, is impressive and reassuring,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The ‘recovery’ rate of the number of holiday travelers has out-paced the economic recovery and, as Thanksgiving is primarily a family holiday, speaks to the importance of family in good times and bad.”
Meade noted that travelers should plan accordingly if driving to areas such as New York or New Jersey, which have been hurting for gasoline due to Superstorm Sandy. She spoke with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office and was informed that gas rationing was supposed to end yesterday (Sunday), but might need to be re-evaluated today.
“If gas rationing is going on, if there’s not enough gas for the people who live there, certainly bringing in other people who need gas will only make the situation worse,” Meade said.
AAA predicts air travel in the metro area will decrease by a little more than 1 percent, even though it shows air fare is about 11 percent lower than last year.
According to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the Thanksgiving travel rush began on Friday (November 16) and will continue through Monday, November 26. The busiest days are anticipated to be tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday, in addition to the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving.
Peak travel times are typically in the early morning from 5:30-8:00 a.m. and late afternoon from 3:30-5:30 p.m. There could also be a mid-day peak from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Travelers are advised to arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight, especially during these peak times.
Student Ambassadors and Travelers Aid volunteers will be at Reagan National Airport to offer directions and answer traveler questions. The Student Ambassadors will be wearing distinctive yellow shirts and the Travelers Aid volunteers will be wearing blue blazers.
MWAA offers the following tips for travelers:
- Confirm the status of your flight directly with your airline before coming to the airport. Weather here or in other parts of the country can affect airline schedules across the route network.
- Print out your boarding pass in advance. Some airlines also offer electronic boarding passes.
- Bring government issued photo ID to the airport for all adult passengers.
- Expect full flights and full luggage bins on board.
- Pack wisely – no prohibited items in carry-on luggage; and no valuable items in checked luggage. Label your luggage so your name is plainly visible.
- Reagan National customers can check parking availability on the airport’s website or at 703-417-PARK. Economy tends to fill during holiday periods.
- For travelers not familiar with the airport, a printable one-page information sheets is available in the “Travel Tips” section at the airport website. Travelers can also follow MWAA on Twitter for updated information.
Major crime in Arlington took a bit of a holiday over the long Thanksgiving weekend. One weekend assault and battery incident was somewhat notable, however, for the fact that the victim is a Clarendon bar bouncer and the alleged perpetrator is listed online as an amateur mixed martial arts fighter.
ASSAULT AND BATTERY-ARREST, 11/27/11, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. On November 27 at 1:20 am, a man assaulted a bouncer at a bar. Grayson Rowny, 29, of Alexandria, was charged with Assault and Battery and released on a summons to appear in court.
As always, all suspects listed in the Arlington County crime report are innocent until proven guilty. The rest of the report, after the jump.
Despite the fact that 29 percent of Americans say they’re seriously trying to lose weight, there are few signs that people are actually cutting back on their annual Thanksgiving feasts.
This year, the National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys would be consumed on Thanksgiving — that’s almost 3 pounds of turkey per person, given the average weight of 16 pounds per bird.
Did you indulge in a big Thanksgiving meal, or did you try to cut back this year?
Whether you’re celebrating the holiday in Arlington or out of town, ARLnow.com wishes you and your family a very happy, abundant and safe Thanksgiving.
We’ll be back on Friday with a special Black Friday edition of the Morning Notes, followed by normal coverage on Monday. And, of course, we’ll be here should any significant breaking news happen over the holiday weekend.
According to AAA and the Associated Press, Thanksgiving airfare and the cost of filling a tank of gas are both up 20 percent this year.
Nonetheless, 42.5 million people nationwide are expected to hit the roads, rails and airways for Thanksgiving — the highest number since the beginning of the recession. Here in the Washington region, more than 1 million people are expected to travel for the holiday, and the vast majority of them will be getting to their destination via highways, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Are you among the intrepid Thanksgiving travelers?
The Arlington County Fire Department has issued a list of six simple tips for keeping safe while cooking your Thanksgiving dinner.
Spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl says these tips are in response to calls the department receives on a regular basis around this time of year.
Thanksgiving Cooking Safety Tips
- Be alert when cooking. Do not allow yourself to be distracted or walk away from food on the stove. Stove top fires can spread quickly to cabinets and areas surrounding the stove.
- Turn pot and pan handles inward so children and pets cannot pull these items from the stove.
- Wear clothing that has fitted or short sleeves. Loose fitting sleeves can contact hot surfaces and begin to burn.
- Use caution with open flame cooking devices. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for use of the device. Check county and state fire codes for safe distances and areas the devices can be used.
- Have a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed fire extinguisher and be familiar with the operation of the extinguisher in the event of a fire.
- Be certain all smoke alarms are tested and functioning properly.
The Arlington County Fire Department wishes everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
Washingtonian’s Best Arlington Bars — Washingtonian magazine is out with its list of the best bars and nightlife in Arlington. The list includes old favorites like Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) and CarPool (4000 Fairfax Drive) and newcomers like Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd) and Rustico (4075 Wilson Blvd). [Washingtonian]
Bill to Consider Life at Conception — The first bill pre-filed for the 2012 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly would establish that, under Virginia law, human life begins at conception. The bill will be considered by what is now an all-Republican legislature. [Virginia LIS]
Turkey Trot Race Sold Out — The 6th annual Arlington Turkey Trot 5K race is sold out, but organizers are still seeking volunteers. The race, meanwhile, kicks off at 8:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning (Nov. 24), and a number of road closures are planned in the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights neighborhoods.
Editor’s Note: This column is the first in a series of sponsored articles written by Doug Rosen, owner of long-time Arlington wine store Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).
Every year around late November, the phrase “Okay, you bring the wine for Thanksgiving” strikes fear into the hearts of millions of Americans. Thanksgiving dinner is the culinary equivalent to Dante’s Inferno and poses a distinct pairing challenge.
Why is Thanksgiving dinner so difficult? Well, let’s face it — turkey is pretty bland. We brine it, marinate it, stuff it, spice it, and perhaps even deep-fry it. Then we throw the entire kitchen pantry at it in an effort to add some flavor to the Thanksgiving meal.
To further complicate the Thanksgiving conundrum, the meal can be completely different in every home. It’s not easy to try to find the right wine for the hodgepodge that is each of our Thanksgiving dinners. Like a favorite pair of jeans, each of us has familiar and comfortable “traditional family” dishes, without which Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same.
From my experience, most Thanksgiving meals are distinctively sweet. Adding sweetness in any form — cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, marshmallows — changes the wine equation.
So here’s the vinous equivalent of a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card: If anything, and I mean anything, on your Thanksgiving table is sweet then you can’t serve a bone-dry wine. It doesn’t matter whether it’s red or white, if there’s anything sweet on the plate, a bone-dry wine will clash with the food.
A great wine selection would be a fruit-focused or fruit-forward California or Oregon pinot noir that is not oaky, like the 2010 Angeline (California) or 2009 Artisanal (Oregon). If you want a little wood, try a California zinfandel like the 2009 Quivira, which has lots of fruit.
If your Thanksgiving dinner is truly savory, then I would opt for a delicious glass of food-friendly Beaujolais like 2009 Chateau Prety, or Red Burgundy (Bourgogne) like 2009 Jean Michel et Laurent Pillot. Another delicious French pinot noir is the 2009 Grosbot-Barbara Chambre d’Edouard from the Loire Valley. Overall 2009 was an outstanding vintage throughout France.
Be sure to stay away from reds with aggressive grape tannins such as young red Bordeaux, Argentine malbecs or most California cabernets. The tannins make turkey taste metallic.
Looking for a way to give back this holiday season?
The county’s Volunteer Arlington program lists several holiday-related volunteer and donation opportunities that are open to interested members of the public.
- Thanksgiving Meal Delivery — The Arlington Knights of Columbus chapter is feeding some 2,000 needy people on Thanksgiving, and they need volunteers to help deliver meals or serve food in their North Arlington facility.
- Angel Tree Program Setup, Sorting and Distribution — Help the Salvation Army provide gifts to needy children and elderly citizens who would otherwise be left out on Christmas.
- Gift Wrapping at Pentagon City Mall — A gift wrapping service provided to shoppers at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City by Arms Outstretched Ministry. Proceeds benefit wounded warriors, deployed military personnel and their families.
- Secret Santa/Adopt-A-Family — Help provide gifts to needy families via the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing.
- Arlington DHS Secret Santa — Donate gift cards to the Arlington Department of Human Services to make the holidays “a little happier for some of Arlington’s most vulnerable residents.”
The Thanksgiving holiday travel rush — an 11-day stretch that’s considered one of the busiest times for air travel around the county — will begin on Friday, according to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
If you’re flying out of Reagan National Airport this weekend, however, plan on the trip taking a bit longer than usual. Scheduled track work on the Blue and Yellow Lines will close the Crystal City, Reagan National Airport and Braddock Road Metro stations from 10:00 Friday night through the end of Sunday.
To help accommodate DCA passengers during that time, Metro will run three different airport bus routes. One route includes stops at Pentagon City station, Crystal City station and the airport. Another runs between King Street and the airport. And the third runs from the airport the Metro Center station. There will also be a bus route between the Pentagon City, Crystal City, Braddock Road and King Street stations for local, non-airport riders.
Metro customers are asked to anticipate about 30 minutes of extra travel time.
“Historically, the weekend of November 18-20 is not an especially busy weekend for Metrorail ridership at Reagan National,” Metro said in a press release. “Metrorail service at the airport will operate normally with no scheduled track work throughout the busy Thanksgiving week, beginning Monday, November 21, and continuing through Sunday, November 27.”
Once you get to the airport, MWAA has a comprehensive list of travel tips to help get you through the crowds and security checkpoints smoothly.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
AFAC expects to distribute some 1,800 frozen turkeys between today and Saturday, when the distribution ends. The organization is also distributing stuffing and mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, in addition to its normal weekly food distribution (eggs, milk, pasta, canned goods, etc.).
Rep. Jim Moran joined volunteers at AFAC’s Shirlington distribution site this afternoon. The 66-year-old congressman helped to distribute food to AFAC clients, in an effort to draw more attention to the group’s mission.
“I’m hoping to bring a little extra visibility to what AFAC does so that more people will support it financially and through volunteerism,” Moran told ARLnow.com. “This is the best, most extensive feeding program for Arlington residents… who don’t have the material resources to adequately feed their family. [AFAC] uses the least public money, has the most volunteers and is run the most efficiently.”
AFAC is handing out Thanksgiving dinners at all 12 of the group’s distribution sites in Arlington. Executive Director Charles Meng says this week is typically the busiest time of the year for the organization. Since AFAC recently set an all-time high for the number of families it served in a week, Meng expects it may set another record this week.
“Our demand is still increasing and the growth has not yet stopped,” Meng said. “So something’s happening in the community that’s still driving people to us.”
Meng says he believes “underemployment” is a problem for a significant number of AFAC clients — many who were formerly unemployed have found jobs, but the jobs they’ve found aren’t paying enough (often minimum wage) to allow them to buy all the food they need for their families.
“The bottom line is that people don’t really want to come here,” Meng said. “Yes, we’re giving out food — it’s free – but you really don’t want to come here. You’d prefer to go to a local grocery store, get your own food, select what you want.”
New AFAC clients must first be referred to the organization by Arlington’s Department of Human Services, Arlington Public Schools, churches or some other social service agency.
Despite worries about long lines and delays, catching a flight at Reagan National Airport was a relative breeze this morning. Parking at the Clarendon Whole Foods, on the other hand, is a disaster zone.
The heavy volume of shoppers stocking up for Thanksgiving dinner is overwhelming the five (count ‘em) neon-vested parking attendants who are currently working the lot.
So far it looks like smooth sailing at Reagan National Airport.
Currently, the FAA is not reporting any significant arrival or departure delays at the airport. As of about 9:00 this morning, the security lines at Terminal B were virtually non-existent.
In fact, the only thing crowded at the airport was the media truck parking area. We spotted at least 10 media vehicles parked on either side of the terminal.