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Arlington police and Virginia State Police on the Clarendon nightlife detail (staff photo)

Arlington County police are organizing a Halloween-themed anti-drunk-driving event.

The “Sober Ride outreach event” is being held Saturday night in Clarendon, starting around 8 p.m., and will block a portion of N. Hudson Street near Wilson Blvd.

More from an ACPD press release:

There is nothing more frightening on Halloween than an impaired driver. Don’t turn the holiday’s scares into real life dangers by getting behind the wheel after drinking. To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, the Arlington County Police Department, in partnership with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), is hosting a Halloween anti-drunk driving event to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills. This free event is open to the public and will take place on Saturday, October 29th at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard, beginning at 8:00 p.m.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2016 and 2020, there were 129 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night nationwide (6:00 p.m. October 31 – 5:59 a.m. November 1). Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (68%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2020. That’s why the Arlington County Police Department is reminding community members that in addition to planning the perfect costume, your celebratory plans should also include a sober ride home.

Celebrate with a Plan

Don’t let drunk driving haunt your celebrations – if you plan to drink, follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:

  • Remember it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
  • The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s 2022 Halloween SoberRide program is offering free rides home, in partnership with Lyft, from 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29 until 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 30.
  • If you see a suspected impaired driver on the roadway, report to your local law enforcement. To report a suspected impaired driver in Arlington County, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Always remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit the NHTSA website.

Road Closure

N. Hudson Street between Wilson Boulevard and 13th Street N. will be closed from approximately 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. to accommodate this event.

Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs in the area. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

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Arlington police cruiser damaged by alleged DUI driver in crash (photo via ACPD)

Arlington police cruisers were “significantly” damaged in two separate DUI crashes in September, according to ACPD.

The police department said on social media that the crashes happened while “officers were working incidents along Arlington roadways” but “the cruisers were unoccupied at the time of the crashes and no officers were injured.”

It’s a cautionary tale against both drunk driving and failing to drive carefully around those working in the roadway, police say.

“These crashes highlight the dangers emergency personnel can face when they step out onto the roadway to assist travelers and keep our communities safe,” write ACPD. “We all have a responsibility to protect those who protect us. Slow down and move over when you see flashing red, blue or amber lights.”

The drivers of both striking vehicles were arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence, the police department said. These incidents come amid a continued rise in DUI arrests.

DUI arrests in Arlington (image courtesy ACPD)

After falling in the first year of the pandemic, DUI arrests have been on the rise in Arlington County, according to ACPD stats provided to ARLnow. Between the first of the year and Sept. 22, there were 342 DUI arrests, compared to 253 and 318 arrests during that same time period in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

A fatal hit-and-run that killed a woman crossing the street near Thomas Jefferson Middle School in August has also brought attention to DUI and alcohol-related crashes. The driver was later arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, hit and run, driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license.

Alcohol-related crashes in Arlington are up nearly 50% since 2020, ARLnow reported earlier this month.

“Remember, it is never okay to drink and drive,” ACPD said via social media. “Always plan a sober ride — whether it’s a ridesharing service, taxi, public transportation, or designated sober driver.”

Asked about how the department handles cruisers being damaged by crashes, police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow that if repairs are not possible it takes 6-8 months to outfit a new cruiser.

“ACPD maintains a fleet of police vehicles for officer use,” Savage said via email. “Generally speaking, vehicles involved in crashes are removed from service and taken to the equipment yard for evaluation and repair. If a police vehicle is determined to no longer be operational due to a crash, it takes approximately 6 – 8 months to obtain and outfit a vehicle with the necessary police equipment.”

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A man upset after being confronted about parking illegally in the Courthouse area allegedly drew a weapon, police say.

The incident happened around 6 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday) near the intersection of Clarendon Blvd and N. Troy Street, a couple of blocks downhill from the Courthouse Metro station.

“At approximately 6:11 p.m. on August 24, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The investigation determined the suspect was illegally parked when the victim approached on foot and confronted him. The suspect then exited his vehicle and allegedly retrieved a weapon, which was later determined to be an airsoft gun, from the trunk. The victim safely left the area and no injuries were reported.”

“Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident,” the crime report says.

Despite the gun ultimately being found to be a pellet gun, according to police, the suspect — a 28-year-old Fairfax man — was charged with brandishing. He was also charged with DUI and driving with a suspended license, and held without bond, per the crime report.

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Flyer for Labor Day 2022 anti-DUI campaign (via ACPD)

There is never a good time to drive drunk, but the next couple of weeks will be a particularly risky time to do so in Arlington.

The Arlington County Police Department is participating in the nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign starting tomorrow (Wednesday), with targeted enforcement and education timed to coincide with the approaching Labor Day weekend.

The campaign will bring more police patrols to Arlington roads between Wednesday, Aug. 17 and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 5), as well as the placement of signs around the county, reminding drivers of the deadly consequences of driving while impaired.

An ACPD press release about the campaign is below.

The Labor Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial end of summertime, often with friends and families gathering at pool parties, backyard barbecues and other festivities to enjoy the last days of the season. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) is again partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, to remind community members to celebrate safely.

From Wednesday, August 17, 2022 – Monday, September 5, 2022, motorists nationwide can expect to see increased messages about the dangers of driving under the influence, coupled with enforcement and increased saturation patrols to identify and apprehend impaired drivers. This campaign aims to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways through a two-pronged approach of education and enforcement.

Sadly, the statistics prove that there is still a lot of work to do to put an end to drunk driving. According to NHTSA, 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide in 2020 that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. During the 2020 Labor Day holiday period (6:00 p.m. September 4, 2020 – 5:59 a.m. September 8, 2020) there were 530 fatal crashes nationwide. This is why ACPD is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to the Labor Day festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

The Arlington County Police Department encourages community members to follow these tips to ensure all travelers reach their destinations safely:

  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
  • If you see a suspected impaired driver on the roadway, report to your local law enforcement. To report a suspected impaired driver in Arlington County, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

For more information about the dangers of drunk driving, visit the NHTSA website.

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An Arlington man has been charged with DUI after police say he struck 7-8 parked cars near Rosslyn on a rainy weekday afternoon earlier this month.

The incident happened on Friday, May 6, in the Radnor-Fort Myer Heights neighborhood. A police report says the 32-year-old man got into a 2003 Honda Pilot SUV, which was parked outside his apartment building on the 1200 block of N. Quinn Street, around 4:45 p.m. What happened next, as detailed by one of the victims, sounds reminiscent of a demolition derby.

The man “sideswiped a car in his own lot, hit a no-parking sign, then a utility pole, then hopped over a sidewalk as well as a row of bushes into a different parking lot where he slammed into another car so hard that it smashed into another,” the victim told ARLnow. “He then proceeded to go on to N. Rolfe Street from said parking lot and hit three more cars before finally coming to a stop.”

The account largely matches that of a police spokeswoman and a crash report shared with ARLnow. The crash report lists a total of seven seven vehicles, all but one of which were disabled by the force of the collisions.

“At approximately 4:46 p.m. on May 6, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle crash with unknown conditions,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, officers located the suspect in the driver’s seat of the striking vehicle. The suspect was treated on scene by medics and declined transport to the hospital.”

“The investigation determined the driver allegedly struck approximately eight parked, unoccupied vehicles, a utility pole and garbage cans,” Savage continued. “Following the administration of field sobriety tests [the suspect] was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence and Refusal of Breath Test.”

The drunk driving charge is a misdemeanor, as it’s the suspect’s first DUI charge, according to court records. The refusal of a breath test is a civil violation.

The suspect was released on his own recognizance after the arrest, according to court records. He is next due in court in August.

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Morning Notes

Preservation Legislation Shuffled — “After a subcommittee approved a measure being sought to give preservation advocates an additional voice in decisions made at the local level, but simultaneously stripped out some key provisions of the bill, its sponsor made a request. Would the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, where the measure was being considered, agree to move the bill to the Committee on Courts of Justice, Del. Patrick Hope asked.” [Sun Gazette]

Don’t Drive Drunk on Super Bowl Sunday — “To keep spectators safe on the roads, the Arlington County Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind football fans everywhere that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk… in 2019, there were 10,142 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes throughout the United States.” [ACPD]

Yogurt Cup Recycling Confusion — Can you recycle small plastic yogurt cups, like those used by Activia and other brands? That’s a solid maybe, according to the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services. Previously, the county has released publications that alternately described yogurt cups as recyclable and not recyclable. [Twitter]

Injured Squirrel Returns to Fairlington — “Last week, our Animal Control team took in a badly injured squirrel who who received life-saving care at [Blue Ridge Wildlife Center]. Today, Officer Ballena released the now-healthy squirrel back into the wild, very close to where he was found. He was very ready to be back in the wild where he belongs! ” [Facebook]

Kudos for Local Crossing Guard — “Shashu Gebre, Crossing Guard at both Alice West Fleet and Long Branch Elementary Schools, has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (VA SRTS) program as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards for the 2021-22 school year. The honor is part of Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, an annual Safe Routes to School celebration recognizing Crossing Guards for the critical role they play in the safe routes to school network.’ [Arlington Public Schools, Twitter]

Changes to Electoral Board — “Weinstein, who like [newly-elected Arlington Electoral Board Chair Kim] Phillip is a Democrat on the body, turned over the reins because, come December, he will depart when Republicans pick up a second seat due to the election of Glenn Youngkin as governor. State law requires electoral boards to be composed of two members of the governor’s party, one from the opposing party. Weinstein will serve as vice chair for the remainder of his term, while Republican Scott McGeary will retain his post as secretary.” [Sun Gazette]

Sunday Snow Likely to Be Light — “Our spell of springlike weather will come to a sudden halt Saturday night as a cold front barges through the region, setting the stage for a possible light snowfall early Sunday morning. Right now this doesn’t look like a big deal for several reasons.” [Capital Weather Gang]

It’s Friday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 62 and wind gusts as high as 30 mph. Sunrise at 7:02 a.m., sunset at 5:43 a.m. Saturday will be partly sunny, with a high near 58. Sunday we’ll see snow and some rain in the morning, then partly sunny with a high near 37. [Weather.gov]

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Police response to a hit and run suspect on Columbia Pike on Dec. 29, 2021 (via Arlington County)

(Updated at 2 p.m.) An Alexandria man suspected in five separate hit-and-run crashes was tased by police in an incident that shut down Columbia Pike last week.

On the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 29, police were dispatched to the intersection of the Pike and S. Greenbrier Street for a report of a crash. They encountered a man in a damaged vehicle who refused to come out.

Even as more officers arrived, the man just sat in the vehicle, at some point reaching for something under the seat, according to scanner traffic at the time. Police, fearing that the man might have a weapon, requested bulletproof shields, while additional units rushed to the scene.

Eventually, officers used a Taser to subdue the man and take him into custody. Columbia Pike was blocked during the evening rush hour incident.

A subsequent investigation determined that the 34-year-old man had struck four vehicles in Arlington and one in Fairfax County before finally coming to a stop at the Pike and Greenbrier, according to police. He’s now facing multiple hit and run charges, as well as a charge of driving under the influence.

None of the hit-and-run victims were injured, police said.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report, below.

HIT AND RUN (significant), 2021-12290153, Columbia Pike at S. Greenbrier Street. At approximately 4:39 p.m. on December 29, police were dispatched to the report of a hit and run just occurred. Based upon information from witnesses in the area, arriving officers located the suspect vehicle, which had sustained significant damage, and attempted to make contact with the suspect. The suspect ignored multiple lawful commands from officers to exit the vehicle. Officers then removed the vehicle’s driver side window and attempted to remove the suspect, however the suspect continued to ignore their commands and resist arrest. Officers deployed a TASER and the suspect was subsequently taken into custody without further incident. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that prior to officers arrival, the suspect allegedly struck four vehicles in Arlington County and was involved in an additional hit and run in Fairfax County. No injuries were reported by the victims and the suspect was treated on scene by medics before being transported to an area hospital to be medically evaluated. [The suspect], 34, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Felony Hit and Run (x2), Attempted Felony Hit and Run, Driving Under the Influence, and Obstruction of Justice. He was also served with outstanding warrants out of Fairfax County. He was held without bond.

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Morning Notes

Christmas tree in a plaza in Rosslyn, decorated for the holidays (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Extra DUI Enforcement Starts Today — “The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign… From December 15, 2021 – January 1, 2022, motorists nationwide can expect to see increased messaging about the dangers of driving under the influence, coupled with increased saturation patrols to identify and apprehend impaired drivers.” [ACPD, WJLA]

Historic Board Takes Up New Restaurant — “A proposal to turn the former Green Valley Pharmacy into an eatery will breathe new life into a structure that has been vacant for several years… Members of the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) this week will consider a proposal to permit several exterior adjustments to the former Green Valley Pharmacy, which was operated by Leonard “Doc” Muse from 1952 until his death in 2017.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Slowly Returning to Normal Service — “Metro today announced that it has reached another step in the process to restore the 7000-series railcars to service. The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) has informed Metro that it has no technical objections to the final plan submitted to gradually return nearly half of the 7000-series railcars to passenger service with the metered release of no more than 336 railcars.” [WMATA]

It’s Wednesday — Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 56. Sunrise at 7:20 a.m. and sunset at 4:47 p.m. Tomorrow will be partly sunny and a bit breezy, with a high near 62 and a low near 44. [Darksky]

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Morning Notes

Crew boats in the Potomac River at twilight near Rosslyn (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Homes Coming to Large N. Arlington Property — “The Febrey-Lothrop estate in the county’s Dominion Hills neighborhood, located at 6407 Wilson Blvd. not far from the Fairfax County line, will soon see work begin on nine two-story homes, according to county permit records. The permit applications were filed last month by the property’s new owner: KLTOLL AIV LLC, a company controlled by New York-based Kennedy Lewis Investment Management…. Elise Cleva, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, noted in an email the plans aren’t set in stone and ‘could change at any point if the owners decide not to construct all nine or if any issues prevent them from constructing the intended number of houses.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Demolition of 19th Century Home — “The circa-1889 Fellows-McGrath House in East Falls Church was being demolished [Monday], making way for a new home or homes. Photo courtesy of Charlie Clark.” [Twitter]

Bomb Squad Response in Courthouse — From yesterday afternoon: “There’s a suspicious package response on the 1300 blk of N. Courthouse Road, a block from the county government and police headquarters. Police requested the bomb squad respond to the location around 10:15 a.m., per ACPD. Sounds like the closed roads will reopen soon.” [Twitter]

Police: Drunk, Armed Man Arrested in Rosslyn — “N. Lynn Street at Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:08 a.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of a male asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle. Upon arrival, officers located the running vehicle, made contact with the sole occupant who was in the driver’s seat and observed a firearm in plain view on the passenger’s seat… During a search of the vehicle prior to towing, ammunition was recovered. [The suspect], 45, of Accokeek, MD, was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence, Refusal of Breath/Blood Test and Violent Felon in Possession of a Firearm.” [ACPD]

Tucker Carlson Interrupts Dems at Meeting — “The Dec. 1 Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting was held in person, but also broadcast online via YouTube for those unable to attend. Technological gremlins… were in evidence. The meeting began about 15 minutes past its scheduled 7 p.m. start time when the YouTube connection proved unstable. Far worse, indeed horrific, from a Democratic point of view: Midway through the meeting, the screen that was used for PowerPoint presentations at the meeting suddenly started serving up the sounds of… Tucker Carlson on FOX News.” [Sun Gazette]

Wakefield Football Coach Steps Down — “Wayne Hogwood’s successful nine-year tenure the winningest head coach in the history of the Wakefield High School football program has come to an end. Hogwood stepped down in recent days because of family matters. He has three young children who are heavily involved in multiple youth sports, and Hogwood wants to spend time for the next couple of years, or so, being involved with watching them play during the fall and helping his wife transporting the three to games and practices.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Tuesday — Cold weather is back and snow is on the horizon. Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 41. Sunrise at 7:14 a.m. and sunset at 4:45 p.m. Tomorrow there is a slight chance of rain, snow, and sleet before 7am, then rain and snow likely between 7am and 4pm, then snow likely after 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Thanksgiving week in Shirlington (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

ACPD Thanksgiving Anti-DUI Event — “On Thanksgiving-eve, traditionally a time of celebrations with heavy alcohol consumption, ACPD, in partnership with WRAP, is hosting a Thanksgiving anti-drunk driving event to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills. This free event is open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, November 24, at N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard, from 8:00-10:00 p.m.” [ACPD, Twitter]

Shirlington Apartment Employee Slashed — “An employee of the residential building discovered that the laundry room had been locked and upon opening it, discovered the unknown male suspect inside. The suspect produced a knife and struck the victim’s hand, causing a laceration. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. Arriving officers canvased the area with negative results. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.” [ACPD]

Bus Driver Protest in Ballston — “Arlington Public Schools bus drivers are protesting again, this time in Ballston. They’re chanting and getting passing drivers to honk in favor of better pay and fair treatment.” [Twitter, WJLA]

County Seeks Budget Feedback — “Each winter, the County Manager presents a proposed operating budget to the County Board in order to plan spending for the next fiscal year. We’d like to know your thoughts on how Arlington should prioritize necessary spending in FY 2023. Help us get better insight on questions such as: How would you rate the importance of County programs and services?” [Arlington County]

Clement: Fewer Signs Stolen This Year — “In her annual election wrapup at the first Arlington County Board meeting after the votes were in, perennial protest candidate Audrey Clement told board members that she’d been able to gather up a good portion of her campaign signage from medians. ‘I recovered about 450 signs, or two-thirds of the total,’ she told board members. ‘This is a significant improvement over 2020, when two-thirds of my signs were trashed.’ Clement ran second in the four-candidate County Board race.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — A chance of showers today, mainly before 10 a.m. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 52. Northwest wind 7 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Sunrise at 6:59 a.m. and sunset at 4:49 p.m. Sunny tomorrow, with a high near 43. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

The U.S. Air Force Memorial (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

YHS Wins State Field Hockey Championship — “Yorktown field hockey sticks to its routine to accomplish something it never has before… Patriots beat Western Branch, 1-0, for their first state championship.” [Washington Post]

ACPD Ramping Up Seat Belt Enforcement — “The Arlington County Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the national Click It or Ticket campaign. Law enforcement agencies across the country will increase enforcement efforts from November 16 – 28, 2021, to work towards reducing the number of fatalities that occur when motorists fail to buckle up.” [ACPD]

County Has Available Kid Vax Appointments — “Arlington County Public Health is continuing vaccinations for 5-11-year-olds this week, Monday-Friday from 2-7 p.m. Over 6,000 kids ages 5-11 have already received their first dose. Schedule your appointment today.” [Twitter]

Arlington Man Charged in Fatal Crash — “A tip led to the arrest Monday of a 54-year-old Arlington man wanted on charges of DUI-related involuntary manslaughter and operating without a driver’s license in connection with a Nov. 6 crash in Montclair that killed a Dumfries man. Investigators obtained warrants Thursday for John William Harris… but attempts to locate him had been unsuccessful, police said.” [InsideNova]

Free Coffee at Taco Bamba — “To promote the breakfast menu and the free coffee program, Taco Bamba is giving away branded coffee tumblers to the first 50 guests at each store who purchase a breakfast item.” [Press Release]

Secret Santas Wanted — From Arlington County: “You can make the holiday season a little happier for some of Arlington’s most vulnerable residents by taking part in the @ArlingtonDHS’ Secret Santa/Holiday Giving Program. This program benefits Arlington’s at-risk residents.” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Today will feature mostly cloudy skies through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 53. Sunrise at 6:52 a.m. and sunset at 4:53 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 65. [Weather.gov]

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