Volunteers at the Knights of Columbus in Arlington (5115 Little Falls Road) prepared Thanksgiving dinners for more than 2,500 needy people on Thursday.
About 250 volunteers worked to make the turkey, stuffing and fixings, which was served at the Knights’ north Arlington facility and also delivered to older residents who couldn’t make the trip.
TV station WJLA (ABC 7) covered the preparations.
ARLnow.com is taking a day off for the holiday, but we wanted to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Thanks in part to the status of “Black Friday” as the most prominent shopping day of the year, Thanksgiving seems to be getting ever more commercialized. At its heart, however the holiday is about recognizing and giving thanks for the blessings of our lives.
If you’re taking a break between cooking dinner, watching parades and football, and reminiscing with friends and family, tell us what you’re thankful for this year, in the comments.
The annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K returns tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., and motorists hoping for an early Thanksgiving drive should avoid Lyon Park.
The race is organized by, and starts at, Christ Church of Arlington at 3020 N. Pershing Drive. The course takes runners west on Pershing Drive, turning around on 5th Street N. before heading back west on Pershing Drive. Runners will then turn left on N. Fillmore Street and right on 9th Street N. before turning on the southbound lanes of Washington Blvd.
The course goes along Washington Blvd until runners turn right at the intersection with Arlington Blvd. They will turn right on N. Bedford Street and continue until it turns into Brookside Drive and intersects again with Washington Blvd. Runners will turn off Washington on 3rd Street, turn right on Fillmore and end at the church on Pershing.
Roads are expected to close all morning in the area. There is no word from the Arlington County Police Department if the northbound lanes of Washington Blvd will be open to either one or both directions of traffic.
Michael Wardian, Arlington’s own champion distance runner, will both officiate and participate in the 5K, according to the race website.
More than 3,000 runners are expected to participate, and registration is full. Proceeds from the race will go to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center, Doorways for Women and Families and the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless.
VDOT has about 400 trucks staged in Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties this morning, in preparation for a storm that’s bringing a combination of rain and snow to much of the the east coast.
The timing of the storm, on one of the busiest travel day of the year, could create major problems on local highways and byways.
VDOT urges drivers to “use extra caution, particularly on bridges, overpasses, curves, hills and ramps, which become slippery first,” as the snow starts falling later today. Crews are not pre-treating roads since the rain would just wash the treatment away.
The snow is expected to start falling in Arlington as the storm begins to taper off, between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., according to the Capital Weather Gang. It’s expected to begin snowing this morning in northern and western parts of the region.
AAA Mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, is warning of the potential for “massive traffic woes and havoc on the treacherous roadways.”
“Wednesday can turn into a chaotic and frightening scene of events on the roadways along the East Coast,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend. “With over one million travelers in Washington, D.C., another 1.1 in Virginia, and nearly 900,000 in Maryland taking to the roads this Thanksgiving, AAA is warning motorists to heed all travel warnings and stay home until road conditions improve.”
Some 24 percent of weather-related crashes happen due to snowy or icy pavement, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
For those who do have to travel today, WJLA meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts is advising that the best time to head north is before 10:00 a.m., while the best time to travel south is after 7:00 p.m. All major area highways are expected to see weather impacts, Ricketts said.
Arlington Public Schools students have a pre-scheduled off day today for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Arlington County government offices, courts and schools will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Arlington Public Schools close Wednesday and remain closed until Monday, Dec. 1. Arlington’s Circuit Court, General District Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court will all close at noon Wednesday and reopen after the holiday break.
Arlington County Police Department won’t enforce parking meters on either day, but Saturday will be treated as a regular weekend day before parkers get another day off from meters on Sunday.
Park grounds will be open, but all parks and recreation classes, programs and indoor facilities, like community centers, will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Trash, recycling and leaf pickup will continue on a normal schedule, the county says, as will brush, metal and electronics pickup. Leaf pickup is cancelled for Thursday, but if you live in Zone 5, your service will resume on Friday.
Forecasters say above-freezing temperatures should preclude more than an inch or so of accumulation locally. Still, the storm has the potential to have a major impact on Thanksgiving travel from Washington to Boston on Wednesday.
If you’re planning to travel for the holiday, is the storm affecting your travel plans?
Bond Chairs: Listen to Concerns — The co-chairs of the 2014 school bond committee warned Arlington School Board members that they should not take continued voter support for granted, despite the approval of a $105.8 million school bond earlier this month. The co-chairs told the Board that they should listen to voter concerns, including concerns about the cost of new school facilities. [InsideNova]
Post Tries ‘Divide’ Storyline Again — The Washington Post has published another article blaming a class and a racial divide between north and south Arlington on the cancellation of the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar system. A letter to the editor writer, in response, asks if the divide is worth the ink. “Where is the problem… is anyone’s goal to make South Arlington as expensive as North Arlington so that only rich people can live there?” [Washington Post]
New eBooks at Library — You can now download “Catch 22″ and “Team of Rivals” from the library. Arlington Public Library has added eBooks from publisher Simon & Schuster to its downloadable books collection. [Arlington Public Library]
Thanksgiving Eve Party in Clarendon — Clarendon Ballroom is hosting “Arlington’s biggest Thanksgiving Eve party” Wednesday night, starting at 8:00 p.m. The event will feature multiple DJs and “plenty of booze and fun to get you through a weekend with the family.” [Clarendon Nights]
Flick pool photo by Joseph Gruber
AAA Thanksgiving Travel Forecast — About 1.1 million Washington area residents will travel 50 more more miles this Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. That’s up 3.1 percent over 2013. About 90 percent of those travelers will journey to grandma’s house via automobile, AAA says. The lowest gas prices since Dec. 2010 are helping to drive some additional travel this year. [Reston Now]
What’s Next for the Pike? — Now that the streetcar is dead, articulated buses may be next for Columbia Pike. But that would require reinforcing the roadway and building a new bus depot. [Greater Greater Washington]
Beyer Joins ‘New Democrat Coalition’ — Arlington’s newly-elected representative in Congress, Don Beyer, has joined the House New Democrat Coalition, a group of pro-growth Democrats. [Blue Virginia]
Moran Laments Loss of Earmarks — Outgoing Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says earmarks, while demonized by the media and some politicians, actually helped the legislative process. The loss of earmarks has slowed Congress to a crawl, Moran said. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Wizards Practice Facility in Arlington? — There’s a potential plan for a Washington Wizards basketball practice facility in Arlington, reports NBC4’s Mark Segraves. However, the more likely plan for the practice facility is for it to be built in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis also owns the Washington Capitals, which has a practice facility at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [NBC Washington]
Arlington Warns of ‘Potential Severe Traffic’ — Arlington County is warning residents about “potential severe traffic” today due to the massive crowds expected for the Concert for Valor on the National Mall, along with Metrorail service changes and numerous road closures in D.C. that are in place for the Veterans Day event.
Cherrydale Abuzz Over Sound Check — The Cherrydale community email listserv was “going crazy with complaints about the sound check” for the Concert for Valor last night, a tipster tells ARLnow.com. We’re told the neighborhood could hear bass and feel vibrations from the sound check. “One person reported that the Arlington County police were getting so many calls they were telling people to call the D.C. police who then told people to call [U.S.] Park Police,” the tipster said.
Cost of Thanksgiving Dips in Va. — Virginia families will save about $5 per person this year on Thanksgiving dinner thanks to lower food prices, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. [InsideNova]
Lyon Park ‘Sewer Justice’ Petition — A group called Arlingtonians for Sewer Justice — which represents 11 Lyon Park households that are being compelled to pay $10,000-20,000 for a new sewer connection because the county says it will no longer maintain a failing, private sewer line behind their homes — has created a new petition. The petition, which has so far gathered 95 supporters, calls for Arlington County to pay for the upkeep of privately owned sewer lines via a bond referendum. [Change.org]
Flickr pool photo by Ian Livingston
The annual drive will provide Thanksgiving meals to a growing number of families that are relying on AFAC to supplement their food purchases. This year, AFAC is seeing record demand for its services and spent beyond its allocated food budget to provide food to all its clients.
In June, AFAC Executive Director Charles Meng told ARLnow.com that AFAC was serving 40 percent more families than the year before, a surge he attributed to cuts from federal food stamp programs. This year, AFAC has purchased 2,200 turkeys to give out next week.
Guas and Moran will kick off the giving at about 10:15 a.m. next Monday, according to AFAC spokeswoman Claire McIntyre. AFAC will be conducting turkey drives from 10:00 a.m. to noon from Monday through Friday, Nov. 21, to provide the centerpiece of Thanksgiving meals for its clients.
This year, for the first time, Bayou Bakery, at 1515 N. Courthouse Road, will be donating a pie to AFAC for every dozen it sells. The Louisiana-themed bakery and restaurant is offering sweet potato, pecan, bourbon chocolate chip, Virginia peanut, apple crumble and bacon cayenne pies.
“This is the first year we’ve partnered with [Guas] for that,” McIntyre said. “Because the pie purchasing happens during the holiday season, he can’t bring all the pies at once to us. We still wanted him to be a part of the day. It was really exciting that we got to pair him and Congressman Moran together to hand out the turkeys.”
Yes, another Black Friday is here, complete with the massive pile of circulars in the newspaper and the requisite TV news images of shoppers rampaging through big box stores at midnight.
Of course, Black Friday is no longer the only post-Thanksgiving shopping game in town. Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have joined the ranks as industry-created shopping holidays.
The staff at ARLnow.com wishes you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.
We are thankful to have had the opportunity to expand our news coverage this year, with the addition of reporter Ethan Rothstein. We are also looking forward to expanding our business staff, so as to better serve advertising and marketing clients.
What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments.
Today is perhaps the busiest travel day of the year — in the middle of the busiest travel week of the year — travel experts have some advice for travelers to make their journeys home as smooth as possible.
For those flying on Thanksgiving, expect crowded airports and airport parking lots until Monday, Dec. 2, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The peak times for holiday flights is early in the morning, between 5:30 and 8:00 a.m., and late afternoon, between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Because of the heavy volume of passengers, MWAA recommends getting to the airport two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights. Because planes will be so full, MWAA recommends packing lightly to ensure carry-on luggage fits in on-board compartments and under the seats.
For those leaving the area in their cars, the Washington Post’s Dr. Gridlock writes that on the I-95 corridor, traffic will only begin to ease up tonight after 11:00 p.m., and it will start to get heavy again on Thursday at around 9:00 a.m.
Those going south on I-95 should remember that there’s a 29-mile work zone south of Springfield, so drivers can take a 20-mile workaround by taking I-66 West to Route 28 South in Centreville, then to Route 17, which meets up with I-95 around Fredericksburg.
With the holiday season upon us it’s a good idea to take stock. This is a fun time of year for most of us. We get to spend more time with our families and enjoy reconnecting with old friends.
Many of us have time honored holiday traditions: mom’s special stuffing recipe, Christmas cookies and latkes. We take the time to prepare all of our favorite dishes; we enjoy the rituals and it’s important to us that we pass these traditions on to our children.
Something else often happens at this time of year — we lose sight of our health and then we regret that decision (yes, it is a decision!) when January rolls around. With all the added holiday activities, we don’t take the time to exercise and eat mindfully; our health takes a back seat to the season.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not suggesting you become party poopers by avoiding festive food and drinks. I enjoy the traditions just as much as everyone else!
I’m simply suggesting we look at things a bit differently this holiday season. Instead of eating and drinking with reckless abandon — you know what I’m talking about — why not try setting small daily or weekly goals to help us feel better and maintain our good health over the next two months?
Here’s what can happen when we fumble through the season without a plan:
- Skip morning exercise because you’re tired from a late night holiday party
- Feel sluggish because you skipped exercise
- Not thinking about health because you skipped exercise so stop for a bagel and cream cheese (What the heck? You’ve already blown the day, right?)
- Feel tired because you’ve eaten less than a healthy breakfast so grab a candy bar for energy, and the sugar cycle continues
- Go holiday shopping so don’t have time for a proper lunch (what’s the difference at this point?)
- Go home after work and blow off exercise again because now you are feeling really low energy
- Make something quick for dinner instead of taking the time to eat whole foods you’ve prepared
- Vow to do better tomorrow!
Follow these guidelines to avoid the downward spiral:
- Make your exercise plan at the beginning of the week.
- Stick to the plan no matter what!
- Take time to plan your weekly meals at the beginning of each week; keep it simple by combining lean proteins and produce (see ideas below).
- Create a shopping list and purchase whole foods so you’ll have healthful ingredients on hand when you’re tired and out of time.
- Drink at least 50 ounces of water every day. This will keep you hydrated so you don’t confuse hunger with dehydration. This will also help you avoid the dreaded hangover. Yes, dehydration is usually what causes your hangover — that and too much alcohol!
- Plan what you’ll eat while dining out and at parties. Eat healthy snacks before heading out (see list below). Then stick to mostly proteins like shrimp and chicken along with veggies and fruit at parties and restaurants. Go ahead and sample the chips, dips and other party treats—once, then fill up on the stuff that will help you feel better the next day.
- Try your best to get seven hours sleep. Before downing your third—or fourth–beverage, stop and think about how you’re going to feel tomorrow!
- Wake up feeling good in the morning and proud of yourself that you stuck to your plan. Then go exercise!
Follow the 80/20 rule: Make a concerted effort to eat well eighty percent of the time. You’ll be happy you did!
ACFD encourages cooks to stay alert while in the kitchen because the leading cause of cooking fires is leaving equipment unattended. The department also discourages the use of outdoor gas fueled turkey fryers due to fire and burn hazards when hot oil splashes during the cooking process.
The department recommends adhering to the following safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration:
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking and turn off the stove if you leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time. Check on food regularly to make sure it is not burning.
- Use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
- Stay alert. You won’t be alert if you have been drinking alcohol or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
- Keep all flammable items — such as potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains — away from your stovetop.
- Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
- Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
There are also safety tips specifically for using turkey fryers:
- Use turkey fryers outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other combustible materials.
- Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot for hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix; water causes oil to spill over and cause a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire grows too large, immediately call the fire department for help.
Follow these tips if a fire does break out:
- When in doubt, just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 911 after you leave.
- If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are already getting out and you have a clear path to the exit.
- Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
- In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
- If you have a fire in your microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.
- After a fire, both ovens and microwaves should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.