W-L Defeats Yorktown, Twice — The Washington-Lee girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball teams both defeated their Yorktown counterparts yesterday, in cross-county rivalry games. The girls won 54-45, while the boys won 65-59.
Branson-Backed Startup Coming to Rosslyn — OneWeb, a startup that’s aiming to launch a constellation of low-orbit satellites that will provide affordable Internet access across the globe, is coming to Rosslyn. The company, backed by Virgin Group tycoon Richard Branson, will occupy a 6,000-square-foot space in Monday Properties’ 1400 Key Blvd building. The building, which is also home to ARLnow.com, is slated to replaced with an apartment tower and grocery store at some point, though it’s unclear when the redevelopment will move forward. [Washington Business Journal]
Reminder: Get Rid of Dry Christmas Trees — The Arlington County Fire Department is reminding residents that dry Christmas trees are a big fire hazard. The county is currently in the midst of its annual Christmas tree collection. [Twitter]
A-SPAN Kudos for Paisano’s — Paisano’s Pizza saved the day for the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, after A-SPAN’s planned hot dinner for its homeless clients fell through at the last minute. Paisano’s delivered pasta, salad and garlic bread on a cold night and on short notice. [Facebook]
Levine Proposes LGBT Rights Bills — Yesterday we reported on three LGBT rights bills proposed by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D). Delegate-elect Mark Levine (D), who represents part of South Arlington and Alexandria, has proposed several such bills of his own. Among them are bills prohibiting employment, housing and other discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Levine was formerly legislative counsel to former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). [Washington Blade]
TransportationCamp DC Coming to GMU — George Mason University’s Arlington campus will host the 5th annual TransportationCamp DC gathering on Saturday. The “un-conference” will discuss various transportation, technology and mobility issues. More than 400 “thought leaders, young professionals, and students from around the country” are expected to attend. [TransportationCamp]
Thank You to Crystal City Rotary Club — Thank you to the Crystal City-Pentagon Rotary Club for a hearty breakfast this morning. ARLnow.com founder Scott Brodbeck spoke to the group about his experience running a small business that happens to be Arlington’s most-read local news outlet. ARLnow.com will celebrate its sixth anniversary on Jan. 29.
Baby Jesus was stolen from outside Calvary United Methodist Church (2315 S. Grant Street), in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood, sometime between 8 p.m. Saturday and the next morning, when parishioners showed up for Sunday worship services.
Police were called and took a report Monday, though hopes of cops catching the perpetrator are low. Rev. Matthew G. Smith said he’s hoping the thief has a change of heart and repents — by returning the Son of God to his rightful place in the manger, at least until the nativity scene is brought inside next weekend. Alternatively, the little Lord could also be left on the front steps of the church or brought, in person, to the front office.
“We have no desire to prosecute,” Smith said. “We would be very happy just to get Him back.”
“Baby Jesus missing,” said a sign posted in front of the nativity scene today. “Please return. No questions asked.”
(No other nativity thefts were reported this year in Arlington, according to an ACPD spokeswoman.)
This was the third time Jesus had been swiped from the church’s nativity scene, and if all works out it wouldn’t be the first time He has been returned, Smith said. The first time, years ago, Jesus mysteriously reappeared in the nativity scene on Christmas morning.
The last time, a few years back, baby Jesus vanished for good. A parishioner ended up ordering a new, hand-painted figure of the young Prince of Peace from Italy and donated it to the church as a replacement.
Before the nativity scene was put on display a few weeks ago, in mid-December, Smith and some church members discussed ways to prevent theft. The nativity scene itself is bolted down, but the Italian baby Jesus is too fragile to be secured in a permanent fashion. While many ideas were proposed, the one that was implemented involved tying fishing line around the porcelain figure. That did not save the Savior; the fishing line was cut by the thief.
Smith said he expects there to be more discussion of nativity security ahead of 2016’s Christmas season. Should the Christ child not be returned, the church will also have to consider raising funds to buy a new one. The pastor said he wasn’t sure of the cost of a new porcelain baby Jesus, but said of the Italian-made model that was stolen, “I’m certain it’s not inexpensive.”
“We will look for ways next year,” to secure baby Jesus, he said, “but we don’t want to chain him in.”
Either way, said Smith, “it’s not going to sour our love of the community or our mission.”
Photo via Facebook
As in previous years, Arlington County will be conducting its curbside Christmas tree collection during the first two full weeks of January. In 2016, the collection will run from Monday, Jan. 4 to Friday, Jan. 15.
“Residents are reminded to place the tree on the curb no later than 6 a.m. on your regular trash collection day and to remove all decorations, nails, stands and plastic bags,” the county said on its website. “The trees are later ground into wood mulch for garden use.”
Those who live in condos or other places without residential curbside trash collection can opt to schlep their trees Arlington’s Solid Waste Bureau near Shirlington for recycling. Residents are asked to call 703-228-6570 to make an appointment to drop off a tree there. Proof of Arlington residence is required.
Where ever you are, and whatever you’re doing on the holiday, we encourage you — at least for a day — to put aside the frustrations of the world and treat your fellow humans with uncommon patience and empathy.
By the time Saturday rolls around, you’ll be reading the Rethink Energy column here. The “challenge” referenced in the column is actually not much of a challenge at all — it’s a couple easy things you can do to save energy and money next year. Not a bad New Year’s resolution.
Speaking of the New Year, if you haven’t picked out the bottle of bubbly you’ll be bringing to your friend’s party next week, head on over to Arrowine for their free champagne and wine tasting Sunday afternoon. It will be better received than the supermarket swill you drank in years past.
With that, feel free to use the comments section on this post as your weekend discussion forum. Patience and empathy to all — at least for 24 hours — and to all a good night!
The high temperature today and tomorrow is expected to hover around 70 degrees. In the meantime, cloud cover will make it hard to spot Santa tonight, and Ol’ Saint Nick might want to bring a rain jacket, with storms and flash flooding expected.
A white Christmas is fairly rare in Arlington, and this year is no exception. On any given year, Arlington has around an 11 percent historic probability of having snow on the ground on Dec. 25. Anecdotally, cool and dry seems to describe the most common Christmas Day here.
If it’s not going to be a white Christmas, would you prefer it to be warm like today, but also wet, or cool and dry, as usual?
A week ago, BikeArlington organized a “Holiday Lights Ride” to visit some of the most decked-out homes in Arlington.
Among their stops:
- A home near the intersection of Key Blvd and N. Jackson Street
- A home on the 1700 block of N. Quebec Street
- A home on the 1600 block of N. Abingdon Street that was named 11th most outlandishly-decorated holiday home in the U.S. by MSN
Among the sights to see on the ride: a political “debate” of a dozen illuminated Christmas figurines, including Santa as a camera operator; Santa and his sleigh on a roof complete with reindeer and an American flag; and lots and lots of Christmas lights.
Those, of course, aren’t the only elaborate holiday displays in Arlington. In years past, readers have also reported crazy lights and decorations at homes on the 4200 block of 36th Street S. in Fairlington and the 5600 block of 24th Street N., near Lee Highway.
Where are the best decorations this year? Let us know in the comments.
Photos via BikeArlington/Facebook
ACPD says it will be upping patrols and setting up DUI checkpoints from Dec. 18 to Jan. 3. Nationwide, there’s an increase in drunk driving deaths around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
From an ACPD press release:
Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be actively searching for and arresting drunk drivers from December 18, 2015 to January 3, 2016. In December 2013 alone, there were 733 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Twenty-three of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day.
If you plan on drinking at the holiday party or at a restaurant, hand the keys over to someone else – a sober friend, a taxi or public transportation. Or, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available at http://ow.ly/RWs3S for Android and http://ow.ly/RWs8h for iPhone users.
As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period, police will be increasing the number of patrols, setting up roadblocks and using local media to reach out to all drivers. If you’re drinking and driving, Arlington County Police Department will stop you.
If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely.
Please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:
- Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk–or worse, the risk of having a crash.
- If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
- If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or call SoberRide at 1-800-200-TAXI.
Remember, driving after drinking should never be an option. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Holiday parties are in full swing, holiday cards from friends and loved ones are arriving by the truckload and a potentially record-breaking holiday travel period is upon us.
How are your fellow Arlington residents doing, in terms of embodying the holiday spirit of patience, generosity, positivity and concern for one’s fellow man?
Rank the holiday spirit in Arlington on a scale of 1-5, with five being the most full of holiday cheer.
Transport Panel Approves of I-66 HOT Lanes — The Commonwealth Transportation Board voted yesterday to approve the creation of high occupancy toll lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway. It’s estimated that by 2040, almost twice as many users of eastbound I-66 inside the Beltway will be headed to Arlington compared to those heading to D.C. Meanwhile, two Democratic state lawmakers from Fairfax and Loudoun counties want to force the state to start planning to widen I-66 sooner rather than later. [Washington Post, InsideNova]
County Responds to I-395 HOT Lane Plan — Arlington officials say they hope to reach a “mutually beneficial outcome” to a state proposal to extend the I-395 Express lanes north to the D.C. line. The proposal calls for expanding the HOV lanes from two to three lanes while converting them to high occupancy toll lanes. The County says any proposal should “not undermine Arlington’s successful investment in congestion-reducing transit-oriented development in Pentagon City, Crystal City, or Shirlington.” [Arlington County]
APS Wants Historic Designation for Stratford on Its Terms — Arlington Public Schools says it will pursue a local historic designation for the Stratford building, current home to H-B Woodlawn and a future neighborhood middle school. However, APS wants to cut the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board out of the process, to ensure the middle school project can move forward without delays. [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova]
Marine Corps Treats Students to Holiday Celebration — The Marine Corps treated students at Barcroft Elementary to a special Christmas celebration at Henderson Hall on Monday. Students were greeted by Marines, participated in various holiday-themed arts and crafts and got a chance to talk with Santa himself. [DIVIDS]
WERA Now Broadcasting — As of Monday, Arlington’s own low-power radio station, WERA 96.7 FM, was on the air and broadcasting for the community. The station is still looking for volunteers to help with programming. [Twitter, WERA]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
A short, plastic visitor with blue eyes, a red suit and a long white beard has been popping up on porches around the county.
The Arlington, VA Traveling Santa began his journey shortly after Thanksgiving. Since then, he’s been visiting families throughout the county, showing up on their doorsteps unannounced. Similar to a holiday chain letter, Santa is trying to make as many stops as he can before Christmas Day.
There are rules when Santa visits, but they’re simple: he can only stay at a house one night before he must move on to visit someone else. His next destination is chosen by whomever hosted him the previous night.
Santa’s hosts are encouraged to take photos of his visit before posting them to the Facebook page where his travels are being tracked.
However, Traveling Santa isn’t just something fun for the holidays. The coordinators of the campaign — who couldn’t be reached for comment — are also asking those who interact with Santa to donate to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
A representative for AFAC confirmed the organizers created a personal fundraising page for the cause. On Facebook, they’ve pledged to donate $1 for every “like” the page gets by Christmas — the count was nearing 200 Wednesday morning — and have agreed to match all donations made via the page.
The Candy Cane Crawl is planned from 1-9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19.
“Thousands of participants will quench their thirst on exclusive drink deals as they explore Clarendon and celebrate the holiday season one bar at a time,” according to the event’s website.
Tickets are $20 online or $30 at the door. That gets revelers “a refillable signature Santa mug, access to some of Clarendon’s best bars, exclusive drinks & food specials and a raffle entry to win great prizes.”
Participating bars include Mad Rose Tavern, Clarendon Grill, Clarendon Ballroom, Whitlow’s, IOTA Club and Cafe, Mister Days, SoBe, American Tap Room, Spider Kelly’s, Hard Times Cafe and Hunan One.
Dems Vote For Redskins Team Name Change — The Arlington County Democratic Committee voted Wednesday to officially call on Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s “offensive” name. Some Democrats opposed the vote, suggesting that “nobody would take the resolution particularly seriously.” [InsideNova]
New Trend: Karaoke Leagues — Team karaoke leagues and costumed karaoke competitions are all the rage in Arlington, D.C. and New York City, according to a Wall Street Journal trend piece. [Wall Street Journal]
Kudos for Local Chinese Restaurant — Peter Chang’s restaurant in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center is “the best neighborhood Chinese restaurant in Washington,” according to food critic Tom Sietsema. [Washington Post]
Marymount Tree Lighting Ceremony — The public is invited to attend Marymount University’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony tonight. The ceremony will take place in front of Marymount’s Lodge building starting at 6 p.m. and will feature music from the Randolph Elementary School Choir.
Arlington Tech Co. Raises $4 Million — Rosslyn-based LiveSafe has raised $4 million in a new venture round. The company makes mobile campus safety software for universities, large companies and government agencies. [DC Inno, Washington Business Journal]
Winners of Startup Competition Announced — Arlington County has announced the winners of the U.S. round of the Dongsheng/AC Bridge Entrepreneur Competition. The global competition is a partnership between Arlington Economic Development and China-focused investment company Dao Ventures. [Arlington County]
New Patch for 74-Year-Old Marathon Runner — Retired Marine Al Richmond, who at the age of 74 recently completed his 40th Marine Corps Marathon, has been presented with a special patch at a ceremony at his Arlington home. Richmond said he plans to keep running and improve on this year’s performance. [CBS Local]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
More Metro Delays — A disabled train outside of the Farragut West Metro station produced big delays for those heading into Virginia via the Orange, Silver and Blue lines this morning. [Twitter]
Local Credit Card Holiday Spending — Arlington residents are charging an average of $718.43 on credit cards for holiday gifts this year, estimates the website Nerd Wallet. While that seems like a high number, collectively those in Arlington buying holiday gifts without using a credit card are missing out on $138,846.46 in rewards points, the website says. [Nerd Wallet]
Arlington Still Tops for Va. Tourism — Arlington remains the top tourism destination in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The county attracts more than 6 million people who spend nearly $3 billion here and generate some $81 million in local taxes annually. The tourism industry accounts for about 25,000 jobs in Arlington. [Arlington County]
County Unveils New Online Calendar — Arlington County has rolled out Arlington Today, a new and improved calendar of local events. First up this morning on the calendar: a performance by The Rocking Chairs, the “in-house band” of the Lee Community and Senior Center. [Twitter]
Local Startup Raises $16 Million — Want to start a company in Arlington that can raise big bucks? Do so in the cybersecurity field. Data security software maker ThreatConnect, which recently moved from Shirlington to the Ballston area, has raised $16 million in a new round of funding. [DC Inno]
Arlington Recognized as Bike Friendly Community — Arlington has been named a Silver-level “Bicycle Friendly Community” for the third time since 2007. We’re one of 75 communities in the U.S. to achieve that rating. [Arlington County]
A North Arlington house has been named one of the “15 Most Decked-Out Holiday Homes in America.”
The house, on N. Abingdon Street at 16th Street N., near Virginia Hospital Center, is a perennial draw around holiday time. It features an array of lights, wreaths, Santa Clauses and other Christmas decorations.
The website MSN.com listed the house as No. 11 on its list of the 15 most outlandishly-decorated holiday homes in the U.S.
Flickr photo by Craig Pennington
Shirlington Tree Lighting Rescheduled — Due to rain, the Shirlington tree lighting event scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled. The holiday event is now set for Monday, Dec. 7 from 6-8:30 p.m. [Facebook]
Yona Now Open in Ballston — New ramen restaurant Yona opened for lunch yesterday in Ballston, attracting a “packed house” for $15 bowls of ramen. The restaurant, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, plans to start serving dinner on Friday. [Yona, Twitter]
Pothole Attracts Attention of Pentagon Police — A pothole on a stretch of roadway near the Pentagon attracted the attention of security forces after at least three cars became disabled due to running over it. Pentagon police are sent to investigate any time a vehicle stops on the site of the highway in view of the building. In 2010 a man fired shots at the Pentagon from his car on the side of I-395. [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf