Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

School Shuffle Blowback Starts — “Alicia Rich, president of Key’s PTA, said she has been fielding texts and messages over WhatsApp from parents and staff members worried about the prospect of moving. ‘This issue is so huge for us,’ Rich said.
School system officials said they ‘urgently need’ the Key building as a neighborhood school because of the lack of space for students.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Office Market Improving — Arlington County landing Amazon HQ2, a selection announced one year ago this month, has helped move its office market in the right direction after years of struggles. The office vacancy rate in National Landing, the newly branded area comprising the Crystal City and Pentagon City neighborhoods, dropped from 19.6% in Q3 2018 to 16% as of Sept. 30, the lowest level since 2012, according to JLL.” [Bisnow]

Chamber Supports Keeping Dillon Rule — “Facing a possible Democratic majority in the General Assembly, @ArlVAChamber is standing firm in its support of the Dillon Rule. Why? A Dem majority could allow localities like Arlington to raise the minimum wage.” [Twitter, InsideNova]

Storms Don’t Deter Trick or Treaters — From a family that tracks the number of trick or treaters visiting their Arlington home: “Despite threatening weather and a tornado watch issued by the National Weather Service… 2019 was our second best year ever with 161 visitors, 13 goblins behind the all-time high of 174 visitors in 2016.” [Facebook]

ACPD Helps With Snakes, Too — “Sgt. Morrison proves he’s a jack of all trades! Yesterday he responded to a citizen assist call and helped safely relocate this snake.” [Twitter]

Opera Fans Plan Outreach Effort — “Reports of the demise of a certain musical genre are not just premature. They are just plain wrong, supporters say. ‘Clearly, opera is not a dying art – the music is still transcendent,’ said Paul Dolinsky, a board member of Opera Nova, which on Oct. 27 held its annual fund-raising brunch at Washington Golf & Country Club.” [InsideNova]

Local Teen Is Runner Up in Entrepreneurship Competition — “Ela Gokcigdem has good news to share about her ePearl noise-cancelling wireless earbuds. They were a big hit in the Big Apple… The 17-year-old senior at Wakefield High School in Arlington participated in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. More than two dozen competitors from around the country pitched their products to a panel of judges.” [WJLA]

Nearby: Road Closure Planned in Seven Corners — “The Wilson Boulevard (Route 613) bridge over Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard) will be closed from 9 p.m. Monday night, Nov. 4 to 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, Nov. 5 for bridge deck work, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Eastbound Wilson Boulevard traffic will be detoured via Route 7, Patrick Henry Drive, Route 50 and the westbound Route 50 service road back to Wilson Boulevard.” [VDOT]

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Despite a Tornado Watch and a forecast calling for severe weather, dozens of Arlingtonians descended on Ballston Quarter to trick-or-treat in the shopping center on Halloween.

ARLnow was there and some costumed characters posed for our cameras.

Popular costumes included classics such as superhero characters, Disney princesses, and animals. Many paid homage to our recent World Series champions and several families, impressively, came in fully coordinated costumes.

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A Tornado Watch has been issued for Arlington and the D.C. region as severe storms threaten dangerous conditions amid tonight’s Halloween festivities.

The Tornado Watch is in effect until midnight.

Forecasters warn that a line of storms packing rain and gusty winds will reach Arlington around 9 p.m. Trick-or-treaters and Halloween partiers should seek shelter ahead of the storms.

The National Weather Service issued a special statement about the storm threat:

…DAMAGING LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS LIKELY TO MOVE EAST ACROSS THE AREA BETWEEN MID AFTERNOON AND MIDNIGHT…

A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS IS EXPECTED TO MOVE EAST ACROSS THE REGION. THESE STORMS WILL BRING THE POSSIBILITY OF DAMAGING WIND  GUSTS AND ISOLATED TORNADOES. PLEASE BE SHELTERED WHEN THESE  THUNDERSTORMS PASS THROUGH YOUR AREA.

THE MOST LIKELY TIMING OF THE LINE RANGES FROM MID TO LATE AFTERNOON FOR THE POTOMAC HIGHLANDS, TO THE EVENING FOR THE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON METROS, TO BETWEEN 9PM AND MIDNIGHT FOR AREAS EAST OF I-95 TO THE CHESAPEAKE BAY. THE STORMS WILL LIKELY LAST AN HOUR OR LESS IN MOST AREAS.

STAY INFORMED. FOR MORE EXACT TIMING FOR YOUR LOCATION, CONSULT THE FORECAST FOR YOUR COMMUNITY AT OUR WEBSITE WEATHER.GOV OR OUR FACEBOOK OR TWITTER FEEDS FOR NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON.

More via social media:

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Champagne was spraying, people were jumping around and the whole room filled with deafening shouts.

That was the scene at the Washington Capitals’ annual Halloween party last night, as the Stanley Cup-winning hockey team celebrated D.C.’s newest champions, the World Series-winning Nationals.

The Caps held the team Halloween party at The G.O.A.T. in Clarendon, but the event turned into a World Series watch party. Alexander Ovechkin was among the players partying as the last strike was called in the bottom of the 9th.

The event for the team and spouses was held in a private event space at the sports bar, located across the street from the Clarendon Metro. Video from the celebration was posted online and quickly reposted by the Washington Post, Barstool Sports and local sports blogs.

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(Updated at 9:20 a.m.) With October 31 a day away, houses across Arlington are pulling out all of the stops for dressing up their homes for Halloween.

Popular decorations seem to be cobwebs and the classic carved pumpkin, while others opt for blown-up witches, pumpkins, skeletons, ghouls, and more. As usual, the famous N. Jackson Street in Ashton Heights seems to have some of the most extravagant Halloween displays, but other residential stretches like 38th Street N. in the Old Glebe neighborhood also have a bounty of clever creations.

If you spot any other houses decked out for Halloween, post a photo or two in the comments section.

There is no official trick-or-treating time in Arlington, but tradition says costumed children will start arriving around sunset, until around 8 p.m. or so.

Staff photos by Jay Westcott. Others contributed. Flickr pool photos by John Sonderman and Kevin Wolf.

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(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Rain is in the forecast for Halloween, but Arlingtonians should nonetheless expect trick-or-treaters out on local roads and sidewalks Thursday evening.

There is no official trick-or-treating time in Arlington, as there is in some places, but typically the evening costume-wearing and candy-gathering starts around 6 p.m. on Halloween night (Oct. 31) and runs until 8-9 p.m.

As in years past, here are some trick-or-treating tips:

  • Children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Choose a neighborhood or street you’re familiar with or is known for getting in the spirit.
  • Houses with the outside lights are the ones expecting and ready for trick-or-treaters.
  • Expect older, sometimes non-costumed crowds later in the evening.
  • If you’re passing out treats, turn the outside lights off when you run out.
  • If you’re planning on driving past 6 p.m. on Thursday, take things slow and stay alert.

Arlington County says the Columbia Pike corridor is the most active trick-or-treating area in the county, while Crystal City and Pentagon City is the least active.

The county as a whole has a lower proportion of households with children than other, similar communities, but there are still Halloween hot spots in single-family residential neighborhoods and some condo communities, like Fairlington — which also has its own Halloween parade on Oct. 31.

From Arlington County:

Ghosts and goblins, princesses and superheroes will be showing up at Arlington’s 28,500 single family homes, 11,200 townhouse style homes and 75,600 condos and apartments* on Oct. 31.

According to Arlington Public Schools enrollment figures, if you live along the Columbia Pike Corridor, you’ll probably see the most kids, while those along the Route 1 Corridor will likely see the fewest. Residents living in single family neighborhoods can expect a steady stream of knocks on the door throughout the evening.

Overall, though,  Arlingtonians don’t see a lot of trick-or-treaters, as only 22.3% of us live in households with children under 18 (22,849 households in 2017) while 79,461 of us (77.7% of the population) live in households without children.

An accurate census count is critical for Arlington and other communities across the country as the data is used to fund schools, roads, hospitals, fire departments, and other services. Whether it can also help you plan how much Halloween candy to buy remains to be seen, but we know this: no matter how many kids come to your door, they will be expecting a treat!

As for what to do with those leftover pumpkins? They can be dropped off for composting at Arlington’s Earth Products Yard in Shirlington (4300 29th Street S.) from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2.

More from the county:

Give your Jack-o’-lantern new life after Halloween by dropping it off for composting. The Arlington County Solid Waste Bureau will use the organic results in parks and other landscaping endeavors. The drop-off is part of the free monthly services – including free paper shredding – at the Earth Products Recycling Yard in Shirlington.

  • Remove decorations, candles, paint and other inorganic materials prior to drop-off.
  • Pumpkin composting drop-off is for Arlington residents only.
  • No commercial establishments.

*The Solid Waste Bureau will also accept pumpkins through food scraps drop-off during normal business hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Last year netted more than 7800 pounds of seasonal orange flesh.

File photo

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(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) A regional nonprofit for people with disabilities is hosting an accessible Halloween event for families this weekend.

The Arc of Northern Virginia is hosting its annual “Arctoberfest” this Saturday, October 26, with a range of activities including a haunted house, graveyard, a costume contest, and a DJ, designed for people with and without disabilities.

The event will run from 6-9 p.m. at The Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road.)

The indoor haunted house will be the event’s main attraction, with surprises hidden in the fog for the adventurous wanderer. The event’s organizers also wrote in a press release that people can tour an indoor graveyard to “raise your ‘spirits.'”

“New to Arctoberfest this year, the first hour of the event will be presented as ‘sensory-friendly’,” organizers also noted. “This will afford those for whom loud sounds, flashing lights, and other high-stimulus elements are a concern with the opportunity to participate.”

The Falls Church-based advocacy organization operates across Northern Virginia and has long pushed officials to address the high unemployment rates facing people with disabilities, among other issues.

Arctoberfest will also include a prize-filled costume contest, a photo booth, as well as snacks and a cash bar with alcoholic drinks for drinks with an “Arctoberfest Punch” for underage attendees.

Tickets cost $25 per person and can be purchased online.

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The Arlington County Police Department is hosting an anti-drunk driving event this week ahead of this year’s Halloween celebrations.

Tomorrow (Friday) police officers will kick off the event highlighting what alcohol does to motor skills at 8 p.m., at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon.

To make room for the event, ACPD is planning to close N. Hudson Street from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. between 7-11 p.m. Friday night and post temporary no-parking signs in the area.

“The Arlington County Police Department is reminding citizens that nothing is scarier on Halloween night than an impaired driver,” the county wrote on its website. “Don’t let drunk driving haunt your celebrations — if you plan to drink, designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi, rideshare or public transportation.”

The most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that 158 people were killed by drunk drivers on Halloween between 2013 and 2017. About half of those deaths included the drivers themselves, but the federal agency notes that three pedestrians were also killed in 2017.

One way Halloween party goers can secure a designated driver is through the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s annual Sober Ride program, which is offering coupons for a Lyft home this weekend.

The coupons codes will be posted on the nonprofit’s website this Saturday, October 26 at 9 p.m. Lyft users can use the codes to knock $15 off the price of a ride home between Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 4 a.m.

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Arlington is trying out a new “Pumpkin Walk” event this weekend for families interested in a spooky stroll.

The evening event will be held on Saturday, October 26, from 6-8 p.m., and will feature a walk lit by “spooky lighted pumpkins” from the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) to Glencarlyn Park (301 S. Harrison Street.)

“The Walk replaces the annual Zombies Fun Run this year, but the zombies will return in 2020,” organizers noted in an event flyer.

The Department of Parks and Recreation told ARLnow that zombies are out this year due to the July flash floods that caused about $6 million in damage to county properties.

“In part they impacted Bon Air where we held the event, but it also took their toll on our capacity,” said department spokeswoman and former zombie volunteer Susan Kalish. “We have pretty much cleaned up after the storm, but still working on damaged bridges and amenities.”

She said the walking path will be illuminated by over 300 jack-o-lanterns.

In addition to the eerie excursion, there will also be several kid-friendly activities including games, face-painting, a bouncy house, and booths to make Halloween masks and paper lanterns.

Three food truck will be on site, with donuts from Mac’s Donuts, hot dogs from Top Dogg, and Mexican fare from El Encanto Latino.

“After the event ends at 8 p.m., there will be a free pumpkin giveaway! Costumes encouraged!” the county wrote on its webpage for the event.

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Halloween is still three weeks away, but it’s never too early to plan your costume — or one for your pet.

Local pet service company Puppy Luv has partnered with the Crystal City Business Improvement District for its first “Howl-O-Ween” pet costume party on Saturday, October 26.

Dubbed “National Landing’s First Pet Costume Party,” the event will be held on The Grounds in Pentagon City (1102 S. Eads Street).

Pet registration begins at 1 p.m., and the contest will run from 2-3 p.m. with prizes awarded to the best costumes. In addition, there will be food trucks, an agility course, and a live DJ.

The event builds off of Puppy Luv’s recent partnership with property owner JBG Smith, which is developing the new Amazon headquarters nearby. Puppy Luv offers offer exclusive services, lobby treats, and “pet of the month slideshows” in nine JGB Smith buildings in Arlington, with plans to expand into all of its county properties by the end of 2020, according to a Puppy Luv spokesperson.

Another Halloween-themed pet event is happening tomorrow — Thursday, Oct. 10 — in Arlington.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is hosting “Pups, Purrs, and Pumpkins” at its Shirlington offices (2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive) from noon to 7 p.m. During that time, all animals six months or older have a “pick your own” adoption fee. Pumpkin treats will also be available, provided by Trader Joe’s.

Photos courtesy Puppy Luv

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If your jack-o-lantern is starting to get a bit droopy now that Halloween has come and gone, Arlington is offering an eco-friendly solution.

The county is offering to compost pumpkins for free this Saturday (Nov. 3). Anyone interested in recycling their gourd simply needs to drop it off at the county Trades Center at 4300 29th Street S., any time between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Officials simply ask that only Arlington residents take advantage of the service, and that people remove any decorations, candles, paint or other “inorganic materials” before dropping off their pumpkins. The county won’t accept pumpkins from any commercial establishments, either.

The county’s Solid Waste Bureau plans to use the composted pumpkins in Arlington’s “parks and other landscaping endeavors,” according to the county’s website.

Anyone who misses the weekend drop-off can also compost their gourds by using the Trades Center’s normal “food scraps” drop-off, which is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

File photo

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