Press Club

(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) A man suffered critical injuries after falling from the Pentagon City mall parking garage Monday afternoon.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. at the large parking garage on the 800 block of Army Navy Drive. 911 callers reported that the man fell about 50 feet to the concrete below.

“Crews arrived on scene and found an adult male suffering from life threatening injuries,” Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner told ARLnow Monday evening. “That individual was transported to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition. The details surrounding events prior to the injury are being investigated by ACPD.”

Police remained on scene for several hours investigating what happened.

On Tuesday, the Arlington County Police Department revealed in its daily crime report that the man was a shoplifting suspect who was allegedly fleeing from a security guard and attempting to jump over a railing when he fell.

From ACPD:

LARCENY (Significant), 2022-03070149, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 4:02 p.m. on March 7, police were dispatched to assist the Fire Department with an injury from a fall in the 800 block of Army Navy Drive. The investigation determined the suspect had entered a business, allegedly concealed merchandise under his coat and left without paying when an employee approached and offered assistance. A security guard entered the area and began to follow the suspect who then ran to the parking garage and attempted to jump over a railing before falling to the ground. Medics transported the suspect to an area hospital with serious injuries. A summons for petit larceny was obtained for the suspect.

(Updated at noon) Today’s strong winds are likely to bring down lots of leaves across the area, but Arlington County is not set to start its vacuum leaf collection rounds for another two weeks.

The county’s first pass is scheduled to kick off on Monday, Nov. 8 and will likely run through late November. The second pass will likely run through Friday, Dec. 17, according to a new fall leaf collection brochure.

The county website has a full leaf collection schedule sorted by neighborhood, but has not yet been updated for 2021, a spokesman told ARLnow after initial publication of this article.

“The Solid Waste Bureau is still fine-tuning this year’s based on forecasts, temperatures and zones,” said Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin.

Even then, the schedule is a bit fluid based on weather and other factors, the county’s website notes, adding that “you may see additional leaf vacuum trucks in your neighborhood between passes for clean up activities.”

Neighboring Falls Church, by comparison, is staring its leaf collection service this week, making 3-4 passes around city neighborhoods through early January.

The good news for Arlington is that with peak fall foliage delayed this year in the immediate D.C. area due to warmer-than-average weather, many trees still have plenty of green leaves. That should result in smaller curbside leaf piles before vacuum collection starts.

For residents those who have leaves that need to be collected now, and which don’t fit in the green organics bin, Arlington County started offering free paper leaf bags for the season as of Monday, Golkin said.

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It’s that time of the year.

Deer are answering mother nature’s siren call and venturing out in search of a mate, which can have disastrous results for both the deer and local drivers.

Since Tuesday, Arlington County police have received at least three calls for injured deer on the side of the road, at least one of which was struck by a vehicle.

Collisions between deer and cars in Arlington are actually somewhat rare — “since January 1, 2018, four collisions reports have been taken for incidents causally-attributed to deer,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow — but this time of the fall is when the risk is highest.

Arlington County naturalist Alonso Abugattas said it comes down to normally skittish deer becoming uninhibited as their drive to perpetuate the species heightens.

“We are at the start of the rut for deer. This means bucks are chasing does all over the place in order to mate,” Abugattas said. “As this is the one thing they have in their minds, they often ignore cars and this is when the most car deer collisions happen.”

Jennifer Toussaint, the Chief of Animal Control for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, said in an email that there’s a higher risk of deer-related crashes along roads that abut wooded areas.

“Rutting season for deer is the period of time in the year when they mate. During this time their activity and movement increases and as a result, we see an increase in roadway crossings for deer,” Toussaint wrote. “We see most of the small number of motor vehicle deer collisions that occur yearly during this time.”

“Here in Arlington County those incidents are most likely to occur on the highways and roadways that abut or run alongside our large or conjoining green spaces; such as Arlington Boulevard near Lubber Run, Military Road, GW Parkway, and Spout Run Parkway,” she continued. “It’s important for drivers to be extra vigilant from the second week of October through the first week of December — when their movement activity is at its peak.”

Toussaint offered the following safety tips for drivers.

Ways to Increase Safety During This Time:

  • Be vigilant, especially at dawn and dusk when deer activity is at its highest. Watch from side to side as you drive, especially in areas of low visibility or where shrubs or grasses are near the road.
  • Watch for group behavior. Deer often travel in groups. If one deer crosses the road, slow down and watch for more to follow. Females travel together in winter, and fawns follow their mothers in spring and summer. Male deer travel alone during rutting season.
  • Use your high beams at night when possible and turn down interior lights and put away distractions (such as cell phones) to see farther ahead. Slow down and watch for the eye-shine of deer near road edges.
  • Use your high beams at night when possible and turn down interior lights and put away distractions (such as cell phones) to see farther ahead. Slow down and watch for the eye-shine of deer near road edges.

She also noted that instances of injured deer have been decreasing, particularly during the pandemic, despite the sudden spike this week.

“Overall deer intake to animal control actually went down an additional 38% in 2020,” Toussaint wrote. “To date this year in 2021, we are down an additional 18% on intake to the even low intake of last year. Arlington County Animal Control works with Arlington County’s DES team to ensure that if there are any collisions in certain areas that warning signs are put up for motor vehicle drivers. Our overall calls regarding deer concerns has also steadily decreased yearly over the past 4 years as well.”

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Shucktoberfest in Shirlington (courtesy of Shucktoberfest)

Oyster and beer festival Shucktoberfest is returning to Shirlington later this month.

More than 40 food vendors will be selling craft beer, oysters and food at the Village at Shirlington (2700 S. Quincy Street). The event will be held Saturday, Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The fourth-annual event is put on by Copperwood Tavern (4021 Campbell Ave).

For younger attendees, there will be a kids’ zone with face painters, balloon artists and family-friendly games. Dogs are welcome, too.

Tickets are $40 and include a wristband for adults age 21 and older, a 5-ounce beer-tasting mug and 10 event tickets. Each event ticket is redeemable for one 5-ounce beer sample or two oysters.

Tickets can be purchased at the event, but organizers recommended pre-purchasing them online.

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For those who were up early enough to see it, Mother Nature gave autumn a grand entrance with this morning.

The purple-and-pink sunrise, coming on the heels of Monday night’s Harvest Moon, dazzled across the area.

The photos above were taken by reader John Antonelli near the Hatfield Gate gate to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, on the bridge over Washington Blvd. Below is from Rosslyn-based WJLA’s weather camera at Army Navy Country Club.

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Yes, fall is here and Mr. Autumn Man is again walking down the street with a cup of coffee, wearing his signature sweater over a plaid collared shirt.

Last month we found that after an especially warm and stormy summer more than two-thirds of poll respondents were “suffering summer fatigue” and ready for the start of fall. A few years ago we also established the kinds of autumnal things that readers most look forward to: the leaves changing color, fall festivals, playoff baseball and going to pumpkin patches and orchards.

Today, however, we’re asking about the things you’re not looking forward to as the season changes.

For one, it’s getting darker by the day.

Then there’s the colder weather, which will soon enough necessitate jackets, gloves and hats. And that’s not to mention leaf blower noise and leaf raking duties for those with yards.

Of those three things, which are you least looking forward to?

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Another week, another stretch of temperatures in the 90s and heat indexes near 100.

It’s been a hot and humid summer in Arlington and the D.C. area. With a predicted high of 93, today will likely be the 41st day with the temperature over 90 (the yearly average is 40).

Yet, the outward signs of fall are there: Oktoberfest beers at the grocery store, football on the television, the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte today at Starbucks.

(For what it’s worth, the “PSL” arrived a day earlier than last year and a full week earlier than four years ago.)

https://twitter.com/Starbucks/status/1430152993278627844

ARLnow readers have told us they consider the fall equinox in the latter half of September to be the “real start of fall” in Arlington, as opposed to Labor Day, the first day of September, or the debut of the sweet pumpkin-y goodness at Starbucks. But with a premium put on outdoor activity during the pandemic, maybe this year locals are mentally prepared for an earlier start of fall.

Given the sweltering temperatures, cicadas, itch mites and heavy rains, are you suffering summer fatigue? Would you trade the remaining four weeks of summer for a changeover to cooler and crisper weather? Let’s find out.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Greens Want Tax Hike for New Initiative — “The Arlington Green Party is seeking a five-fold increase in one local tax in order to fund an environmental initiative. The party in late October promoted the idea of the county government giving owners of single-family properties in Arlington $1,000 credits to have energy audits conducted and then take cost-effective steps to improve efficiency…. The party wants to increase the existing utility tax from $3 per household per month to eventually hit $15 per household per month.” [InsideNova]

Looking On the Bright Side — “And the winner is: free paper yard waste bags. Available at five County sites during leaf season.” [@ArlingtonDES/Twitter, Arlington County]

Improvements Proposed in Seven Corners — “The Virginia Department of Transportation has provided another in a series of updates on potential improvements being studied along Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard) between Jaguar Trail and Wilson Boulevard in the Falls Church/Seven Corners area.” [InsideNova, VDOT]

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If your yard is covered in leaves and you’re not planning to bag them up, you’ll have to wait another couple of weeks for vacuum leaf collection to begin.

Arlington County is conducting neighborhood-by-neighborhood vacuum leaf collection from Monday, Nov. 9 to Monday, Dec. 21 this year. For some North Arlington neighborhoods, the first pass won’t happen until the week of Thanksgiving.

The schedule, which was released by the county this week, is below.

The county collects bagged leaves, as well as leaves in the green organics cart, year round. But the mass collection via vacuum trucks only happens well into the fall, over the course of two passes in five designated zones.

For those who have pumpkins to dispose, meanwhile, a special collection event for pumpkins — as well as inert materials — will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7.

More on this year’s leaf collection from Arlington County:

The County collects and recycles your leaves through vacuum trucks, biodegradable bags and in your green organics cart. Please be sure to drive safely around County vehicles. Stay aware as there may be crews servicing the immediate vicinity around parked County vehicles, as well.

View our fall leaf cart hanger for more information.

Vacuum Collection Schedule

Check our online vacuum schedule to determine when the leaf vacuum will be in your neighborhood. Please note that these dates are subject to change.

Did you know? We collect about 50,000 cubic yards of leaves every year. Long before the first leaf falls, staff analyzes historic data, tree types and density, weather forecasts, state forestry forecasts, and resident feedback to develop the leaf collection schedule. This helps better allocate collection resources and serves neighborhoods when fallen leaves are heaviest.

Vacuum Collection Process

  • Crews will complete two passes through each neighborhood between November and December, Monday-Saturday.
  • Bright yellow and orange leaf collection signs will be posted in your neighborhood two to three days before crews arrive.
  • Plan accordingly to have leaves raked to the curb before scheduled pick-up. If the vacuum collection schedule doesn’t meet your needs, or if you missed the first vacuum pass, residents have the option to bag their leaves for the weekly bag collection or wait for the second vacuum pass.
  • If you miss your collection date, leaves should be recycled in biodegradable leaf bags. Dates are subject to change due to weather and other events.
  • Vacuum trucks will not collect leaves on Wednesday, November 11th, Veteran’s Day and Thursday, November 26th, Thanksgiving Day.

Leaf Bag Collection

Place leaves in biodegradable bags only. Don’t use plastic bags. Leaf bags are now collected year-round on the same day as your regular trash collection day.

Where to Find Leaf Bags

Biodegradable paper leaf bags are available at most hardware stores. Please use any bags left over from spring yard waste collection. Free bags are also now available at these locations, while supplies last. Note: Some locations are unavailable this year due to COVID-19.

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Morning Notes

It’s October — And just like that, September is over and October has started. October has been deemed Affordable Housing Month in Arlington County.

Cool Month on Tap? — “After a fast shift to autumn in September, we anticipate the coolest October since 2015 along with a healthy dose of rainfall. Our forecast is for Washington’s average October temperature to fall within 2 degrees of normal. Remarkably, the past four Octobers have each been at least 3 degrees above normal.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Local Hotels Still Hurting — “Arlington’s hotel-occupancy rate in July was just 24 percent, with the year-to-date rate of 35 percent less than half the 76.7-percent rate recorded during the same seven-month period in 2019… For the January-to-July period, the average room rate for Arlington lodging establishments was $141.55, down nearly 18 percent from the $172.16 recorded during the same period in 2019.” [InsideNova]

Riders Steal Rideshare Driver’s Ride — “The victim was operating as a rideshare driver when he became engaged in a verbal dispute with the three passengers in his vehicle. As he stopped his vehicle to end the trip, the passengers assaulted the victim, then pulled him from the car and continued to assault him. The suspects then re-entered the vehicle, stole it, and fled prior to police arrival. Officers canvasing the area later located the vehicle nearby.” [ACPD]

Debate Watch Party in Shirlington — “Most voters who showed up to the watch party at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia,  said they had made up their minds before the debate — and left feeling frustrated at what they saw.” [WUSA 9]

Regional Coronavirus Cases Down — “The number of new corona­virus infections this week has fallen to levels last seen in mid-July across the Washington region, although leaders and health officials worry that the return of colder weather could reverse the trend.” [Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

Fall Officially Starts Today — “While many of us think of the first day of fall as a full calendar day, the equinox itself is a rather fleeting astronomical event. It happens at a precise moment when the sun’s direct rays are straight over Earth’s equator. This year’s equinox is at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time on Sept. 22.” [Capital Weather Gang]

JBG Acquires Local 5G Radio Spectrum — “JBG Smith Properties has paid $25.3 million for licenses to use small parts of a new class of wireless spectrum to set up a 5G internet network in National Landing, home to Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters and Virginia Tech’s innovation campus.” [Washington Business JournalPress Release]

County Board Challenger Amps Up Rhetoric — “Is Arlington’s political ruling elite a bunch of preening political poseurs unwilling to do the heavy lifting of implementing a truly progressive agenda for the community? That somewhat uncharitable (and decidedly paraphrased here) assessment comes  from Audrey Clement, the perennial independent candidate for office who this year is facing off against County Board Chairman Libby Garvey.” [InsideNova]

County Launches New Data Portal — “Arlington County today unveiled a new Open Data Portal with several benefits and features that make it easier than ever to access and use Arlington data. The new portal, a centerpiece of the County’s Open Government Program, builds upon the first open data solution that launched in 2016.” [Arlington County]

Robbery Suspect Arrested in Pentagon City — “At approximately 3:36 p.m. on September 19, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect allegedly stole merchandise from a business without paying. Upon being confronted by loss prevention at the exit, the suspect allegedly brandished a knife, then fled on foot. The victim was not injured. Arriving officers located the suspect in the Pentagon City Metro, still in possession of stolen merchandise.” [Arlington County]

Postal Service Keeping Rosslyn Office — “The United States Postal Service has tacked on an additional 3 years to its office lease at the International Place building in Arlington, Virginia, but will give up one of its floors in the process.” [CoStar]

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