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Leaf collection in Westover (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After a slight weather delay, the second leaf collection pass will start tomorrow (Tuesday).

Arlington County initially posted the second vacuuming could start on Saturday, Dec. 3. Despite the delay, the county aims to finish sucking up dead leaves before Christmas.

“Collection is currently a day or two behind because of recent winds and rain prompting heavy leaf fall but that’s not uncommon and the schedule has some built-in flexibility,” Department of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin. “The end target of Dec. 21 remains on schedule.”

Routes are run Monday through Saturday, according to the county website. Residents can see when their neighborhood is scheduled for services online and can reference an interactive map to track the department’s progress.

Roughly 2,500 tons of leaves were collected during the first pass, which wrapped up Saturday, the DES spokesman says.

“That’s more leaves than the total 2,736 tons for all of last year but less than the 5,706 total tons picked up for all 2020 and the 6,696 total tons in 2019,” he said. “Hard numbers from weighing the leaves won’t be in until the vacuum second pass schedule is completed the second-to-last week of December.”

This year, Arlington County started leaf collection on Nov. 14, a week after last year’s scheduled start, potentially meaning an extra week for curbside leaf piles to get large and soggy.

In response to the change, more than a third of readers said that was too late, according to an unscientific ARLnow poll. On the other hand, a majority said the later start wasn’t a problem: 38% said the current schedule is fine and about a quarter said it should start later.

It appears the later start,  determined by Solid Waste Bureau chief Erik Grabowsky and his team of “tree whisperers,” was not a problem for crews.

“As we say on the website, they use ‘historic data, tree types and density, weather forecasts, state forestry forecasts and resident feedback’ to set the schedule and it works out well,” Golkin said.

DES provided these leaf tips for residents preparing for collection:

  • Leaves need to be waiting at the curb by the date on the orange signs posted throughout each neighborhood and the first date, NOT the end date, for each neighborhood on the schedule
  • Leaves can also go in the green curbside cart (along with food scraps) and paper bags for year-round weekly collection; never use plastic bags for yard waste because those can’t be composted and won’t be collected
  • Free paper yard waste bags are available while supplies last (maximum of 15 per resident) at several County facilities
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Arlington County leaf collection crew helping an older resident rake her yard (photo courtesy Kathie K.)

Arlington’s annual vacuum leaf collection service will begin on Nov. 14 this year, the county announced yesterday.

That’s nearly a week after last year’s start date of Nov. 8.

Arlington County crews will make two passes through neighborhoods, hoovering up leaves left curbside. Some neighborhoods won’t get their first pass until early December, according to the 2022 collection schedule. Second passes are scheduled to take place from Dec. 2-21.

With some leaves starting to fall and the local foliage starting to peak, we’re wondering whether locals believe this timing is right or whether the collection should start sooner.

One one hand, the schedule will leave some leaves behind after the second pass. On the other hand, the curbside leaf piles are likely to get pretty large and soggy by the time many receive their first collection.

What do you think?

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Rosslyn Cinema in Gateway Park 2019 (photo via Rosslyn BID)

The original Top Gun has the top billing for the return of Rosslyn’s fall film Fridays.

For the third straight year, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) is hosting a fall film series in Gateway Park.

On the remaining Fridays in October, Rosslyn BID will be screening a movie in the county park along Langston Blvd. There will also be food trucks, lawn games, a cash bar, and other movie-themed activities.

The line-up for the rest of the month:

  • Oct. 14 — Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
  • Oct. 21 — Top Gun (1986)
  • Oct. 28 — Scooby-Doo (2002)

This past Friday (Oct. 7), the 1978 musical Grease, starring the late Olivia Newton-John, was shown.

Movies will begin shortly after sundown, around 7 p.m., “to ensure the perfect lighting for the show!” reads the website. Given the falling nighttime temperatures, warm apparel is advised.

The decision to do a fall film series again was due to “the attendance levels and interest in our summer series,” a Rosslyn BID spokesperson told ARLnow. The movies were curated based on popularity and genre. The BID wanted to do one sing-along, one family film, one throwback, and one “howl-o-ween” feature.

“From there, we put out a survey to the BID’s entire staff to help us narrow down our choices,” the spokesperson said.

There’s also a topical angle to their choices. Top Gun was chosen partially based on the huge success of the sequel that just came out this past summer. Minions: The Rise of Gru has made nearly a billion dollars at the box office worldwide since it was first released in July.

“We know minions attract a large family crowd and we can’t wait for a major evening of family fun,” the spokesperson said.

The final film in the series — 2002’s Scooby-Doo — will coincide with the BID’s “Howl-o-ween” event at Gateway Park’s interim dog park. That event will feature dog-friendly activities, treats, and a pet costume contest. The winner will be announced at the movie screening.

Rosslyn BID has hosted movies in Gateway Park for at least a decade, including during the summer. The Columbia Pike Partnership and the National Landing BID have also held outdoor film screenings, mostly during warmer weather months; both told ARLnow they are not planning any movies this fall.

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Pumpkins outside Whole Foods in Clarendon in 2011 (staff photo)

There’s a nip in the morning air, the leaves are starting to turn, sweaters have been moved to the top dresser drawers, and the citizenry of Arlington is switching from cold brews to hot coffees.

Yes, it’s pumpkin season. And with Halloween less than three weeks away, we were wondering just how many pumpkins the average Arlingtonian buys.

Just one to display proudly? A dozen to line your walkway? None because seasonal decorating isn’t your jam?

Yes, inflation may be hitting our pocketbooks, but pumpkins, despite their size, remain in the mid-single-digits in price at the grocery store. It almost seems like a bargain.

So how many are you buying this year?

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Leaf cleanup in Arlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Cool fall mornings mean leaf collection season is near.

And Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services is reminding homeowners collecting their leaves and cleaning out their gardens to use only paper yard waste bags.

“Plastic ones can’t be composted and won’t be collected. If you have a landscaper, make sure they know,” spokesman Peter Golkin said. “The issue with yard waste in plastic bags is the most glaring problem for organics.”

Leaves bagged in paper can be composted along with other yard waste and food scraps, and turned into compost residents can use in their gardens.

Since September 2021, Arlington County has collected residents’ food scraps mixed in with their yard waste. Participation hovers around 40-45% of homes, and the county says participating residents diverted 27% of their food waste from the incinerator in April 2022, up from 21% in January 2022 and 15% in October 2021.

“As with any new program, there is a learning curve. Arlington is one of the first localities to collect food scraps at the curb,” Golkin said. “Food scraps collection is just over a year old but we hear from new users and even won a 2022 Achievement Award from the Virginia Association of Counties.”

He reported that there is demand for learning more about the organics collection process.

“We had a big turnout for the Rock-n-Recycle Solid Waste Bureau open house this month and got to share loads of information and compostable bags for food scraps, particularly with young families,” he said. “Same for the County Fair. More educational opportunities to come.”

The department will soon distribute a cart hanger with a rundown of what can, and can’t, be put in the cart.

Golkin has two rules of thumb: “If it grows, it goes” and “When in doubt, leave it out.”

So go ahead and put hairs from the hairbrush or fingernail clippings in the food scrap collection bin. Other bathroom trash, like used tissues, however, cannot be composted.

While a variety of products are advertised as “compostable,” residents should take care when disposing them, Golkin says.

“Products that are 100% bamboo are compostable but if you can’t tell, best to put an item in the trash,” he said. “Read disposal instructions carefully. If there are no disposal instructions, that’s probably a sign to use the garbage can.”

For example, the handles of bamboo toothbrushes are compostable but the nylon bristles are not. Meanwhile, plastic-looking compostable cups or flatware must be Biodegradable Products Institute or Compost Manufacturing Alliance certified compostable.

“Apple cores, banana peels, chicken bones and even greasy pizza boxes are easier,” Golkin said. “Toss them in the green cart.”

The free food scrap bin Arlington County provided to residents starting September 2021 (file photo)

Since the initiative launched, he said, more than 100 cubic yards of finished compost has returned to Arlington for residents to pick up — similar to the county’s free mulch program. More will be available “in the next few weeks,” with details forthcoming on DES’s social media account.

The county’s curbside pickup is not an option for apartment dwellers, but officials encourage residents to discuss food scrap collection with their apartment or condo management.

For now, they can drop off their food scraps at the Trades Center in Shirlington, at local farmers markets and at the MOM’s Organic Market near Courthouse.

Based on current waste stream data, staff and a public advisory committee are working on a new, state-mandated Solid Waste Management Plan for the county, to be released in 2024, he said.

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Woman at an Oktoberfest in Crystal City (courtesy photo)

Update on 9/28/22 — This event has been postponed until Saturday, Oct. 22.

Earlier: Pull out your lederhosen and dirndls for an Oktoberfest celebration returning to Crystal City next weekend.

German lagers and cider will flow freely at the outdoor festival on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 12-4 p.m. There will be games and live polka music from Alte Kumpel Band.

The festival, sponsored by the National Landing Business Improvement District, will be held at the patio and terrace space between 22nd and 23rd Streets S., near 556 22nd Street S. — formerly Athena Pallas restaurant, before it closed this summer.

Entry to the event, dubbed the National Landing Oktoberfest, is free and open to all ages and dogs (on leashes), but attendees must register and show their ticket to get in.

Food and drinks are available for purchase, and attendees’ first beer comes with a free stein — while supplies last.

That stein unlocks specials from participating restaurants on Crystal City’s “Restaurant Row“:

The Oktoberfest is being held rain or shine and drink tickets are non-refundable, according to the event website.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Autumn is upon us and a local cookie company is hoping to mint some pumpkin spiced profits with new seasonal flavors.

MOLTN, a late-night cookie shop operating from a ghost kitchen in Arlington’s Dominion Hills neighborhood, is jumping on the fall flavor hay wagon as it seeks to continue its warm and gooey growth path.

“Regardless of where you fall on the PSL [Pumpkin Spice Latte] debate, we’re pretty sure you’ll love our pumpkin white chocolate pecan cookie, which we just added to the menu this week,” co-owner Neal Miglani said.

The company — which operates from Allspice Catering at 6017 Wilson Blvd — is finalizing recipes for other seasonal menu items, as well as vegan chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.

The pumpkin white chocolate pecan cookie from MOLTN (via Toast)

He said he will soon be announcing a “top secret” vegan flavor, while year-round ice cream lovers should be able to enjoy shakes and sundaes by October. Ice cream-based desserts items were advertised when the company launched in the spring, but have yet to go on sale.

“We haven’t been able to add the ice cream items to the menu yet because our freezer is still on backorder due to supply chain issues,” the co-owner said. “We’ve got everything ready to go as soon as it gets here, which we hope will happen within the coming weeks.”

Miglani reported that local businesses and the county government have been sweet on MOLTN’s catering arm.

“We… recently delivered 1,000 cookies to 22 of the Arlington County government buildings for their Employee Appreciation Day, which may have been the most fun we’ve had yet with catering orders,” he said.

But the most loyal sweet tooth customer base remains those trolling delivery apps for a comforting late night treat.

“While we see that late-night cookie cravings know no age or gender boundaries, the largest share of our customers are Millennial and Gen Z women,” he said.

And the company’s most popular flavors are the Reese’s peanut butter, s’mores and red velvet varieties.

A 12-pack of MOLTN cookies and its red velvet flavor (courtesy of MOLTN)

To give employees a break, the co-owner did roll back MOLTN’s night-time hours from 2 a.m. on weekends to 1 a.m.

“To be honest, we did this primarily for our team,” Miglani said. “Demand usually starts to drop after the midnight to 1 a.m. window, and we didn’t want to ask people to stay so late when the sales were coming in sporadically.”

Despite one fewer hour of operation, MOLTN has been baking more than 2,000 pounds of cookie dough every month “right out of the gate,” he said.

“We’re really lucky to be a part of the amazing community in Arlington, from the customers who have been so supportive since we opened to our all-star team of employees who make the job fun and easy,” Miglani said.

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A beautiful drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains (via Clay Banks/Unsplash)

The end of August today means the end of summer and start of fall is upon us.

With the season change coming, we have compiled 14 fall events coming up in Arlington and around Northern Virginia.

1. Corn Maze and Apple Harvest (Sept. 1-30)

Great Country Farms (34345 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont)

September may mean back to school for many, but at Great Country, it means back to the farm for freshly pressed cider and apple picking. Celebrate everything apple with apple picking, their award-winning apple cider doughnuts, and a romp in their 12-acre play area. On Saturdays and Sundays, they add live music, marshmallow roasting, pig races, and cider demonstrations. 

2. Bands, Brews, and Barbecue Festival (11 a.m-5 p.m. on Sept. 10)

Manassas Museum Lawn (9101 Prince William St., Manassas)

Historic downtown Manassas will hold its 11th Annual Bands, Brews, and Barbecue Festival, complete with a chance to ride a mechanical bull and try your hand at some ax throwing. Put those tossing skills to work and participate in a fun corn hole competition with a chance to win a trophy. Of course, there will be plenty of food and drinks, with live bands playing throughout the event.

3. Rosslyn Jazz Fest 2022 (1-7 p.m. on Sept. 10)

Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd, Arlington)

Jazz is back in Rosslyn. Beginning at 1 p.m., Rosslyn is bringing a diverse lineup of four acts to the stage: Cimafunk, Mwenso & The Shakes, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, and Groove Orchestra. Jazz Fest is FREE, and registration is not required but strongly encouraged (capacity limits are in place).

4. Dulles Day Plane Pull (11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sept. 17)

Dulles International Airport (1 Saarinen Circle, Dulles)

The Dulles Day Festival & Plane Pull (presented by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and United Airlines) is back on the ropes on September 17 at Dulles Airport. There will be a wide variety of food options available, as well as to further support Special Olympics Virginia.

5. Green Valley Day (noon-6 p.m. on Sept. 17)

Drew Elementary and John Robinson Jr. Town Square (2406 Shirlington Rd., Arlington)

“It’s a new day, in Green Valley!” The Green Valley Civic Association will be hosting Green Valley Day fun for the entire family. It will feature a community talent showcase, games and activities, live music, food, and much more. 

Read More

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Pumpkin beer in the Clarendon Trader Joe’s on Aug. 10, 2016

It will be hot again today but things should start cooling off by the weekend, providing an early preview of the season to come.

As the calendar marches inexorably towards September, there’s a certain feeling in the still-humid air: a sense that fall will be here sooner rather than later. And that’s only enforced by what we’re starting to see on store shelves around Arlington.

Exhibit A:

Yes, like it or not, those pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers are back. As Arrowine’s Beermonger column discussed last August, it seems that fall beers arrive earlier in the summer with each passing year. And while that outrages some summer stans, those whose vibe is more a hot coffee and a warm sweater seem to like it.

After all, the breweries wouldn’t be pushing their orange-clad cases out the door if people weren’t buying them.

So this morning we’re wondering — with apologies for asking a similar poll question on this exact day in 2016 — when do you typically make your first fall beer purchase?

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(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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