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Morning Notes

WhyHotel Coming to Columbia Pike — “WhyHotel has just signed a deal for its second project in Arlington.  WhyHotel signed on with Orr Partners to operate temporary hotel rooms in 150 of the 366 units in the Centro Arlington development… [which] is replacing the former Food Star grocery store at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.” [Bisnow]

New Scalia Statue at GMU Law School — “As debate raged on Capitol Hill over a Supreme Court nomination that could shape the court’s future for decades, five justices gathered Thursday at a law school just across the Potomac River for the unveiling of a statue honoring an icon from its recent past — the late justice Antonin Scalia.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Living Wage Calculator — According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology living wage calculator, the income required to raise three kids in a household with two working adults in Arlington County is $92,480. [MIT]

Arlington Flyover Today — There is a flyover scheduled around 1:15 p.m. today in support of a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. [Twitter]

Where to Find Singing WBJ Staffers — The Continental Beer Garden in Rosslyn and Westover Beer Garden in Westover are among the 15 best beer gardens in the D.C. area, according to the Washington Business Journal. The former is “a popular happy hour spot for WBJ staffers, who are known to sing along to the tunes playing on the outdoor speakers and share an order of pretzels and beer cheese dip.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Pet Adoptions Up — “In 2017, we did a record number of adoptions for [the Animal Welfare League of Arlington], with 1,366 pets adopted. So far this year, we have already beaten that number, with 1,450 pets adopted.” [Twitter]

Halloween Stores Now Open — If you’re looking for a Halloween costume, there are three Spirit Halloween stores now open in the area, although none are in Arlington. For something closer to home, Total Fright in the Crystal City Shops (known as Total Party other times of the year) is also selling costumes and decorations. Meanwhile, a Christmas store is now open in Tysons. [Tysons Reporter]

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Abingdon Elementary’s ‘Little Presidents’ Get a Visit From Nationals’ Racing Presidents

Abingdon Elementary School’s own version of the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents got a visit from the real thing at school today (Monday).

The seven students and Little League friends, who wore the custom-made costumes for Halloween, were surprised by the four Racing Presidents, who race around Nationals Park during every home game. It took parent Catherine Ladd five weeks to custom-make the costumes.

The Presidents came into an assembly at the school in Fairlington and gave the boys signed bobbleheads and tickets for them and their families to the team’s Winterfest in December.

“The final surprise was that the Nats presidents invited the Petite Presidents to race them at Nats Stadium in the spring,” Kathleen Branch, a parent at the school, said. “The boys were shocked, as they were told that they had to wear their uniforms to school to pose for more photos. They had no idea that the assembly was for the surprise announcement. Catherine Ladd, the creator of the Petite Presidents, was presented with a signed Bryce Harper jersey.

“The parents and families thank the Washington Nationals for their recognition of a school that loves the Washington Nationals.”

Photos via Catherine Ladd

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County to Accept Pumpkins for Composting on Saturday

With the candy collected, the monsters mashed and the ghouls gone, Arlingtonians are anticipating trash day so that Halloween haunts us no longer.

This year, however, there is an option for getting rid of one Halloween staple in a decidedly un-scary, eco-friendly way: Arlington residents can drop off their pumpkins for composting on Saturday.

Arlington County’s Solid Waste Bureau will be accepting pumpkins for composting as part of its free monthly services on Saturday, November 4 at the Earth Products Recycling Yard (4300 29th Street S.) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The service is for county residents only, not businesses or other commercial establishments. Anyone wanting to drop off their pumpkin must remove any decorations, candles or paint beforehand.

Residents can also have up to two boxes of paper shredded, including checks and checkbooks, and can drop off the following inert materials:

  • Asphalt
  • Ceramic tile
  • Concrete
  • Earth
  • Masonry block
  • Rock
  • Sand

Only a small pickup truck load or three cubic yards of material can be accepted. Brush material is not accepted.

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Photos: Fairlington Halloween Parade

The Arlington neighborhood tradition of Halloween parades continued today on a picture-perfect fall day.

Among the neighborhoods and schools hosting parades was Abingdon Elementary in Fairlington. Led by the Wakefield High School marching band, with rolling road closures courtesy of the Arlington County Police Department, hundreds of students and teachers marched down local streets as parents and residents snapped smartphone photos and cheered them on.

Among the crowd were ghouls, goblins and even raccoons.

One costume standout were small, paper mache versions of the Washington Nationals racing presidents. It took parent Catherine Ladd five weeks to custom-make the costumes for her sons and their Little League friends.

“It required the coordination of other parents… and taking over her first floor for over a month with the multiple figures in various stages of the design process,” Ladd said of the effort.

Dressed as George, Tom, Abe, Bill, Herbie and Teddy, the “petite” presidents batted cleanup near the end of the parade.

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Arlington Readies for Halloween Trick-or-Treating

Halloween is tomorrow (Tuesday), and as in previous years, some Arlington County residents have gone all-out decorating their houses.

On just a small stretch of N. Jackson Street in the Ashton Heights neighborhood, some houses were covered in skeletons, gravestones, ghosts and other scary things.

Arlington does not designate a time for trick-or-treating, but tradition indicates parents will bring their costumed kids through the neighborhoods around sunset on Halloween — which is expected around 6 p.m. — and knock on doors until 8 or 9 p.m.

Temperatures should be on the cool side that day, with highs likely to reach only around 60 degrees.

Here are some tips for planning your trick-or-treat trip:

  • 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 the older, non-costumed crowds later in the evening.
  • If you’re passing out treats, turn the outside lights off when you run out.

Ambassadors for Arlington PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful) will be out and about on of N. Jackson Street on Tuesday night for an outreach event. They will be handing out bike lights, reflective vests and other goodies to help encourage everyone to be safe.

A number of Halloween-themed events are taking place over the next few days, including the Seventh Annual Spooky Paws Dog Walk and Fall-O-Ween, both at Market Common in Clarendon.

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Several Neighborhoods to Host Halloween-Themed Events

With Halloween around the corner, Arlingtonians will have several chances to celebrate the upcoming holiday.

The Ballston Halloween Market is set for tomorrow (Thursday, October 26) at Welburn Square (901 N. Taylor Street).

This week’s market, part of the neighborhood’s regular farmers market, will include a beer and wine garden with live music, as well as pumpkin decorating and face painting. The market is open from 3-7 p.m., with attendees encouraged to wear a spooky costume.

And the last of Crystal City’s Fridays at the Fountain events for the season will have a Halloween theme too, with pumpkin painting, seasonal drinks and candy available at the beer and wine garden on Friday, October 27 from 5-9 p.m. at the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive).

Meanwhile, Rosslyn will host its first harvest festival on Friday, October 27 from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday, October 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Continental Beer Garden, Central Place Plaza and Gateway Park East.

More than 20 vendors will sell various crafts and gifts, while there will be live entertainment and activities including a pie eating contest, corn hole, a pumpkin toss, costumes contests for children and pets.

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SoberRide Offering Free Lyft Rides for Halloween

Anyone out and about in Arlington County or elsewhere in the D.C. area on the Saturday night before Halloween can get a free ride home thanks to a regional nonprofit.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program will offer free rides with car-hailing app Lyft from 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 28 until 4 a.m. on Sunday, October 29, as part of its 2017 Halloween SoberRide program.

During this six-hour period, area residents over the age of 21 celebrating with alcohol may open the Lyft app and enter the code DCHALLOWEEN in the “Promo” section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. The SoberRide code is valid for the first 1,500 Lyft users who enter it.

SoberRide’s goal is to discourage drunk driving and to try to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers on or around certain holidays in which drunk driving crashes increase.

“In 2015 and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 45 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities during Halloween involved drunk drivers,” Kurt Gregory Erickson, WRAP’s president, said in a statement. “Compounding matters, 21-to-35-year-olds account for nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of U.S. traffic deaths on Halloween night 2015.”

The SoberRide program is offered on St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Independence Day. It will also be available during the winter holidays from December 15 through New Year’s Eve. In March, WRAP announced it would partner with Lyft for the service, switching from local taxicabs.

“Lyft is proud of the role ridesharing has played in reducing impaired driving across the nation,” Steve Taylor, general manager of Lyft Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “Here in the D.C. area, partnering with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program allows us to take our commitment to providing safe, convenient, and affordable transportation a step further, particularly during times of the year when people are out celebrating and in need of a ride home.”

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Morning Notes

Arlington Man Dies in Motorcycle Wreck — A 68-year-old Arlington man died last month after a motorcycle crash in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Police say Ben Walker, Jr. ran into the back of a car that had just made a U-turn on Indian Head Highway. [Patch]

Pentagon City Hotel Changes Hands — An Orlando-based real estate investment firm has acquired the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City for $105 million. Xenia Hotels & Resorts said in a press release that the 365-room hotel is “uniquely positioned” in the market given its direct connection to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [PR Newswire]

Housing Demolitions Continue — The group Preservation Arlington has released its latest tally of demolition permits, reporting that demo permits for 120 single-family homes were applied for in the first nine months of the year. “The pending loss of these homes ‘represents a loss of history, architecture, time, energy and materials,’ the preservation group said in a statement.” [InsideNova]

Virginia’s Halloween Candy of Choice — The most popular Halloween candy in Virginia, according to the website CandyStore.com, is Snickers bars. Hot Tamales and candy corn were second and third, in terms of pounds sold. [CandyStore]

Letter: Possible Names for Schools — In a letter to the editor, a local resident recommended consideration of three African-American women who played notable roles in Arlington County history as potential new names for public schools. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

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Scavenger Hunt for Hidden Goats and Gnomes in October

Forget about looking at the traditional ghouls and goblins this October. Sugar Shack (1014 S. Glebe Road) wants you to look for their goats and gnomes.

Starting Sunday and running through the month of October, the quirky critters will be hidden around the Columbia Pike area for a scavenger hunt organized by the donut store. Anyone who finds a gnome or goat can bring it to a Sugar Shack location to claim prizes. The breakdown of hidden objects and prizes is as follows:

  • 29 small gnomes, redeemable for 1/2 dozen donuts
  • 9 goats, redeemable for a dozen donuts
  • 3 large gnomes, redeemable for a dozen donuts, a t-shirt and a mug

Sugar Shack will post the full contest details on its social media on Sunday, along with clues about where searchers might find the hidden goats and gnomes. The hunt is also being conducted in Alexandria and the Shaw neighborhood of D.C., where Sugar Shack also has locations. (The three stores are owned by former state delegate Rob Krupicka.)

As part of the month-long Halloween festivities, the Arlington location also will host a family-friendly beer and donuts party from 5-9 p.m. on October 26, featuring Halloween-themed donuts, food and hourly prizes.

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Halloween Bar Crawl Returns to Clarendon

The annual Clarendon Halloween Crawl is back for another year, sporting the familiar theme “The Rise of the Day Drinkers.”

The costumed event takes participants to numerous Clarendon bars from 1-9 p.m. on Saturday, November 4. Advance tickets are $15 and the price increases to $30 the day of the event.

Participants get “a souvenir haunted mug, access to Clarendon’s best bars, exclusive drink & food specials, free pictures of the event and a raffle entry to win great prizes,” according to the website.

Nearly a dozen Clarendon establishments will be stops on the crawl route, including Clarendon Grill, Hunan One, Whitlow’s and Pamplona.

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Morning Notes

Giant Meteor campaign sign

Garvey Wants to Nix New Year’s Day Meeting — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey has proposed moving the Board’s traditional New Year’s Day meeting (this year it would otherwise be held on Jan. 2, the federal observance of the New Year holiday) to the next business day: Tuesday, Jan. 3. [Washington Post]

Neighbors Upset About Sex Offender’s Halloween Decorations — A 57-year-old registered sex offender says he did nothing wrong in putting up Halloween decorations in front of his Arlington house. But nearby residents don’t agree: they called the police and local TV stations, saying the display is “inappropriate” since it might “entice” children. One concerned resident said, “we are within our rights as taxpayers and longtime members of this community to protect the children in our community.” [Fox 5]

Higher Meal Tax Possible? — If state lawmakers act to provide counties with the same taxing powers as Virginia cities, as Arlington County is asking for again this year, it could eventually mean an increase in the meals tax at local restaurants. [InsideNova]

It’s November — Today is the first day of November. In a week, it’s finally Election Day. In three weeks and two days, it’s Thanksgiving. The weather forecast for the next two days, however: highs of 75 and 79 on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Halloween Parades and Trick-or-Treating in Arlington

Halloween decorations at a house on N. Jackson Street

Today is Halloween and family-friendly festivities are already underway in Arlington.

Numerous local Halloween parades take place in Arlington each year, usually organized by a school with the police department’s help in closing roads.

After the parades come, of course, the trick-or-treating. In Arlington there’s no designated time for trick-or-treating, but traditionally parents will bring their costumed kids through the neighborhoods around sunset — which is expected at 6:08 p.m. today — and knock on doors until 8 or 9 p.m.

Here are some tips for planning your trick-or-treat trip, as we previously published last year:

  • Children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Choose a neighborhood or street you’re familiar with or is known for getting in the spirit. For example, N. Jackson Street near Clarendon is traditionally a must-see.
  • Houses with the outside lights are the ones expecting and ready for trick-or-treaters.
  • Expect the older, non-costumed crowds later in the evening.
  • If you’re passing out treats, turn the outside lights off when you run out.

Arlington County posted additional Halloween safety tips on its Facebook page today.

There are other Halloween night traditions in Arlington, including a bonfire in Lyon Park. Know of others? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Photos: Elaborate Halloween Decorations in Arlington

If there’s one thing true about Arlington County, it’s that we have an abundance of hard working, creative residents.

That’s particularly on display at the end of October, as elaborate Halloween displays start popping up in front yards throughout the county.

Above are just a few of the Halloween decorations we found while walking and driving around Arlington earlier this week.

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Students Petition County Board for Day Off After Halloween

Halloween decorations on Ivy St. in Ashton HeightsCiting fatigue associated with a night of walking around and collecting free candy, more than 2,000 people — mostly students — have signed an online petition calling for a day off of school after Halloween.

The petition, directed to the Arlington County Board, says next Tuesday, the day after Halloween, should be an off day.

Here’s what the petition says:

The night after Halloween kids will be tired and not able to focus on school work. It would be a useless day of school that goes to waste on lethargic children. Middle and high school students already don’t get a ton of sleep, having school on November first would really kill 6th-12th grade students. Sign this to tell the county of Arlington about this problem that has such an easy solution. This may add another day of school at the end but I believe it is worth it to get this day off.

Signers of the petition have encouraged others to spread it to fellow students at Arlington’s middle and high schools.

“We need to let people know about this. Spread it like a wildfire. Share with kids at other schools,” said a petition signer who listed his name as “Spicy Boi.”

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Morning Notes

Creek and trees near Rosslyn

Board Holds Pike Transit Station Meeting — Updated at 10:45 a.m. — More than three-and-a-half years after it was first revealed by ARLnow.com that a prototype bus stop on Columbia Pike cost more than $1 million, the discussion of less expensive bus stop alternatives continues. The County Board last night held a work session with staff to discuss the current status of Pike transit station planning, ultimately voting to approve the County Manager’s design recommendations. [Arlington County]

APS High School Boundary Refinements — The next step in what promises to be a contentious process of adjusting Arlington’s high school boundaries will take place tomorrow. A community meeting is planned at the Washington-Lee High School cafeteria starting at 7 p.m. Thursday. [Arlington Public Schools]

Cemetery Bike Ban Starts Today — Starting today, only loved ones visiting a grave or niche will be allowed to ride a bike in Arlington National Cemetery. That nixes a commuter route through the cemetery that some cyclists used to avoid busy roads elsewhere in the county. [ARLnow]

Clement Attacks Pay Raise Proposal — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey’s pay raise suggestion is opening her up to attacks from challenger Audrey Clement. “The problem is [the] County Board doesn’t do much work, unless you consider rubber-stamping done deals ‘work,'” Clement told supporters via email. Clement also is criticizing a plan to add an extra high-occupancy lane to I-395 and, in response to local noise complaints, calling on NASA to develop quieter helicopters. [InsideNova, Audrey Clement]

Stalled Cab Company May Retain Permits — Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending the County Board give All Access Taxi, which specializes in providing wheelchair-accessible transportation, two more years to get its service off the ground. Currently, the company has only one cab — and 49 unused permits. [Washington Post]

Local Ghost Stories — ‘Our Man in Arlington’ columnist Charlie Clark has received recent reports of ghostly encounters from “reliable sources” at several local places: at Arlington Hall, along George Mason Drive; at the Overlee swim club and a nearby home; and at an 18th century home in McLean that was torn down last month. [Falls Church News-Press]

Pamplona May Open in December — Pamplona, a new Spanish restaurant in the former SoBe space in Clarendon, is hoping to open “by the end of the year.” James Martin, a 29-year-old rising culinary star, will be the restaurant’s executive chef. He hopes Pamplona will win the kind of critical acclaim that can “put Clarendon on the map.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

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