Arlington, VA

Going into the Labor Day weekend, Arlingtonians should be aware of several closings coming up on Monday and one big opening the day after: back to school day.

As local students head back to the opening day for schools on Tuesday (Sept. 4), the Arlington Police Department has put out a reminder for motorists to slow down, avoid distractions, and watch for the influx of students walking and biking to school.

Arlington Police also reminded drivers that passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading can result in a $250 fine. Vehicles on both sides of the road must stop on all roads except for divided highways, where drivers are urged to proceed with caution.

Pedestrians are reminded to only cross streets at crosswalks with permitting signals, to walk along sidewalks or paths rather than on the side of the road, and to follow the directions of crossing guards.

For cyclists, helmets are required for anyone 14 or under, but are recommended for everyone. When riding through Arlington, cyclists should keep to the right on the roads and ride in the direction of traffic.

Parents with students starting school should make sure their child knows their home phone number and address. Parents or guardians should roleplay possible situations a child might encounter and discuss personal safety tips with their child.

Before school opens back up, several government facilities will be closed on Monday for Labor Day.

Courts

  • Closed

DMV Select & Virginia DMV

  • Closed

Human Services

  • Closed

Libraries

  • Closed

Parks & Recreation Facilities & Programs

  • Admin Offices – Closed
  • Classes/Leagues – Closed
  • Parks – Grounds Open
  • Centers – Closed
  • Spraygrounds – All spraygrounds will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Parking

  • Metered areas not enforced

Public Schools

  • Closed

Sheriff’s Office

Swimming Pools

Transportation

Trash Pickup & Recycling

  • Trash & Recycling – Regular schedule
  • Special Collection (Brush, Metal, E-waste) & Cart Services – Regular schedule
  • Mulch Delivery – No service
  • Leaf & Brush collection – Regular schedule

Call Center

  • Closed

HHM Facility and ECRC

  • Closed

Treasurer’s Office

  • Closed

File Photo

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With a little over a month until the first day of school in Arlington County, the Arlington County Police Department and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will begin a school supply drive tomorrow (Aug. 1).

Community members can bring supplies to ACPD’s headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road) from Aug. 1-16. From 6-8 p.m. on Aug. 16, donors can also bring items to help “fill the cruiser” at Westover Shopping Center or Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

The drive will support county public school teachers and students, whose expenses can add up quickly. Supplies and school fees for the average elementary school student cost $662 last year, according to the Huntington Backpack Index, and that number goes up as students advance to middle and high school. Teachers often spend hundreds out of pocket purchasing items for their classrooms.

Arlington Public Schools is charged with distributing the donations. Suggested items to donate include No. 2 pencils, glue and loose leaf paper.

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With schools set to welcome students for the new year this coming Tuesday, Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington County Police Department are urging everyone to stay safe on the roads.

Police will conduct highly visible traffic enforcement around county schools starting that day, while electronic message boards placed next to the roads will remind everyone of the start of school.

To ensure everyone’s safety, police reminded drivers to:

  • Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
  • Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
  • Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school.
  • Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers.
    • On a two-lane road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
    • On a multi-lane paved across road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
    • On a divided highway, vehicles behind the bus must stop. Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution.
  • Have all vehicle occupants wear their seat belts.

Students, bicyclists, and pedestrians are reminded to:

  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
  • Look before you cross and follow the direction of school crossing guards.
  • Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths, never along the side of a road.

And for general safety, students and parents are reminded to:

  • Ensure students know their address and phone number.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Whenever possible, walk or bike with another person. Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Limit the use of devices that may distract you.
  • Avoid engaging with or answering questions from strangers.
  • If something occurs that makes you feel unsafe, report the incident immediately to an adult such as a parent, guardian, principal, teacher or school resource officer.
  • Parents and guardians are encouraged to roleplay possible situations with students and discuss personal safety and awareness tips.

In a video (below) released by APS, Superintendent Patrick Murphy, Police Chief Jay Farr and School Resource Officer supervisor Lt. Susan Noack, the three urge being safe, like staying within speed limits, avoiding distracted driving and looking out for students on bicycles or on foot.

The trio also encouraged parents practice looking both ways at crosswalks before crossing the street, as well as having a buddy to walk with.

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District Taco will donate $1 today (Monday) from every regular burrito and breakfast burrito it sells to a nonprofit that serves underprivileged children.

The event, called Back to School Burritos, will take place all day at each of District Taco’s 10 locations across the area. The money will be donated to the National Center for Children and Families, which will help purchase school supplies for underprivileged children and families in the region.

District Taco CEO and co-founder Osiris Hoil said he came from a disadvantaged upbringing and so tries to give back to the community whenever he can.

“When I was a child my parents were very poor, and it was very hard for them to buy school supplies for me and my brothers,” Hoil said in a statement. “Helping other kids makes my heart feel full and makes me extremely happy.”

Hoil started District Taco as a food cart in Arlington, before opening his first brick and mortar location on Lee Highway. It has since added restaurants in D.C. and Northern Virginia, with its first locations in Maryland and Pennsylvania both set to open this fall in College Park and King of Prussia, respectively.

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School suppliesThis weekend, Virginia will hold its annual sales tax holiday for shoppers purchasing qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, emergency preparedness items and certain energy-efficient items.

The tax holiday — which runs from early Friday morning to 11:59 p.m. Sunday — is aimed at helping families doing back to school shopping along with encouraging Virginians to prepare for the hurricane season.

Online purchases of qualifying items are also tax-exempt as long as orders are placed and paid for during the tax holiday and the items are available for immediate shipment.

“This sales tax holiday will make items that help families prepare for the school year or for a potential emergency more affordable,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, in a statement. “It is my hope that shoppers will use this time to get their children the items they need to succeed in school, as well as stock up on the essentials that may come in handy during a hurricane or other emergency where electricity or clean water may be unavailable for an extended period of time.”

Tax exempt items include:

  • Most school and office supplies, such as pens, loose-leaf paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, and construction paper, priced at $20 or less.
  • Clothing and footwear, priced at $100 or less per item or pair.
  • Batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, fire extinguishers, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors, buckets, rope, and first aid kits, priced at $60 or less.
  • Gas-powered chainsaws, priced at $350 or less, and chainsaw accessories, priced at $60 or less.
  • Portable generators, priced at $1,000 or less.
  • Energy Star-labeled dishwashers, washing machines, air conditioners, ceiling fans, light bulbs, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators, priced at $2,500 or less.
  • WaterSense-labeled sink faucets, faucet accessories, aerators, shower heads, toilets, urinals, and landscape irrigation controllers, priced at $2,500 or less.
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Back to school 2013 (file photo)The Arlington County Police Department is conducting “high visibility traffic enforcement in and around school zones” starting today, the first day of school for local students.

The department’s 2015 back to school safety campaign includes both enforcement and outreach to drivers, students and parents.

In addition to the traffic enforcement by police and by by the new stop arm cameras on Arlington school buses, ACPD has placed electronic roadside message boards around the county “reminding citizens of the start of school and to drive safely,” according to a press release.

“The Arlington County Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety of all students and motorists,” said Police Chief Jay Farr, in an Arlington Public Schools-produced public service announcement video.

“We would like to remind everyone to be extra careful this year,” Farr continue. “Share the road with buses, pedestrians and bicyclists. Remember, buses are now equipped with stop arm cameras… it’s never okay to pass a school bus with the stop light out.”

ACPD has issued several back-to-school safety tips. For drivers:

  • “Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times”
  • “Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road”
  • “Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school”
  • “Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers”
  • “Have all vehicle occupants wear their seatbelts”

The police department’s safety tips for students and pedestrians:

  • “Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light”
  • “Look before you cross and follow the direction of school crossing guards”
  • “Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths, never along the side of a road”

 

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Morning Notes

The under-construction Central Place tower rises in Rosslyn

Petition to Rename DCA Nears Goal — A petition to rename Reagan National Airport “Washington National Airport” has gathered nearly 70,000 of its goal of 75,000 signatures. The petition is a progressive group’s response to Republican outrage over President Obama’s renaming of Mount McKinley to its original name, Denali. [CREDO Action, Washington Post]

Fire at Shopping Center — Arlington County firefighters battled a small blaze at the Lyon Village Shopping Center last night. [Twitter]

Meeting on Hospital Expansion — Arlington County and Virginia Hospital Center officials are holding a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) night regarding a proposed land swap between the county and VHC, which would allow the hospital to expand. [Arlington County]

Back to School, Back to Traffic — Arlington Public Schools students, along with students in other Northern Virginia localities, are returning to school today. Thanks to the influx of school buses and commuters returning from vacation on the roads, the first day after Labor Day is dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid Atlantic.

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Morning Notes

Flag mural on Virginia Square VFW post (photo courtesy @jbester)

Middle School to Hold ‘Road Show’ — Thomas Jefferson Middle School Principal Keisha Boggan and administrators will be holding a neighborhood meet and greet this coming Tuesday. The “TJMS Road Show” will feature “hot dogs, drinks, music, and good conversation,” with four stops in the Barcroft, Westmont Gardens, Fillmore Gardens, and Oakland Park/Lyon Park areas. The first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 8. [Arlington Public Schools]

Homeland Security Renews Ballston Lease — In a bit of good news for commercial real estate in Arlington, the Dept. of Homeland Security has renewed a 120,435 square foot lease on its office at Two Ballston Plaza (1110 N. Glebe Road). [CityBizList]

MONA Sponsors Backpacks — The group Mothers of North Arlington has sponsored 18 backpacks for children at the local shelter Doorways for Women and Families. “Many of MONA’s 2800 members donated items for 18 backpacks for children from age 1 to 18,” the group said in a press release. “The backpacks included all the usual school necessities (paper, pencils, glue, crayons, binders, lunch box, etc.); some also had scientific calculators, umbrellas, digital watches, and diapers for the youngest recipients. Each backpack was stocked with $75-100 in gift cards to Target for school clothes (nearly $1,600 in total).”

Arlington Man Killed in Fairfax County Crash — A 51-year-old Arlington man died yesterday afternoon in a crash in Fairfax County. Virginia State Police say Jerry Knight was riding a moped on an I-66 exit ramp when he was struck by a vehicle and killed. Police are seeking information on the striking vehicle and its driver. [Patch]

Photo courtesy @jbester

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School supplies (photo via pixabay.com)From today through this Sunday (Aug. 9), Virginia residents will be able to make some purchases tax-free.

Virginians are getting a break from the sales tax this weekend courtesy of Virginia’s General Assembly, which combined three existing sales tax holidays into one longer Tax-Free Weekend this year, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation.

According to the department, items exempt from the sales tax this weekend include school supplies, clothing and footwear, emergency preparedness items and some energy-efficient home appliances with either the Energy Star or WaterSense label.

Included in the list of exemptions are back-to-school staples like backpacks, calculators, flash drives and composition notebooks, as well as a variety of sports and recreational equipment.

For items that do not qualify for the sales tax exemption, store owners may still offer them as tax-free by choosing to have the store absorb the cost of the sales tax on behalf of the consumer.

More information about the sales tax holiday for both consumers and retailers can be found at the Department of Taxation’s website.

Photo via pixabay.com

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Money(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) The Commonwealth of Virginia will be holding its annual school supplies, clothing and footwear sales tax holiday this weekend.

From Friday, Aug. 1 to Sunday, Aug. 3 eligible purchases will be exempted from Virginia’s sales tax, which is 6 percent in Northern Virginia. To be eligible, each school supply item must be $20 or less and each article of clothing or footwear must be $100 or less.

Generally, computer equipment, clothing accessories, protective equipment and sporting goods are not exempt from the tax.

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Teachers and administrators welcomed an estimated 23,586 students inside the halls of Arlington Public Schools for the first time since June this morning (Tuesday).

Students got their first chances to experience the final phase of the new Yorktown High School and the new Wakefield High School. Teachers and volunteers were on hand to show students around their new schools.

According to school officials, 137 school buses were mobilized today to pick up students from around the county.

The school system’s enrollment will grow by almost 1,000 students from last year’s Pre-K-12 enrollment of 22,645. The student count won’t be official until Sept. 30, when APS sends the number to the state Department of Education.

Photos courtesy Arlington Public Schools

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