Arlington, VA

While placing wreaths on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery may be a more festive volunteer activity, there’s still as much of a need for help removing the wreaths.

The cemetery is calling for volunteers to help “retire” the wreaths with dignity this weekend. The removal event is taking place Saturday starting at 8 a.m.

Due to stepped up security all volunteers will need to bring photo IDs.

More from the cemetery’s website:

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) will hold its annual removal of wreaths, known as “Wreaths Out,” Saturday, Jan. 11 beginning at 8 a.m.

Thousands of volunteers are expected to help remove the more than 245,000 wreaths placed Dec. 14 by approximately 35,000 volunteers. The high volume of volunteers may create traffic congestion and delays on nearby streets and at the cemetery’s entrances.

This is a special day where the wreaths placed at these hallowed grounds during the holiday season in remembrance and honor of our nation’s fallen service members and their families will be respectfully removed by volunteers. We encourage volunteers to use three entrances to access the cemetery which include Memorial Avenue, South gate and for DoD cardholders, the Old Post Chapel gate.

There will be no vehicular access permitted on cemetery grounds until 3 p.m. Family pass holders and volunteers with handicapped placards only will be permitted to park in the Arlington National Cemetery parking garage beginning at 7 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Volunteers must remain in their vehicles until the cemetery opens at 8 a.m. Ride share and taxi drivers using Memorial Avenue must drop off adjacent to the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop.

Tips for Volunteers:

  • Give vehicles and heavy equipment the right of way and let them pass in roadways.
  • Remove only WAA wreaths. Leave all other wreaths or decorations in place.
  • Place wreaths in dumpsters positioned throughout the cemetery and pack them tightly.
  • When dumpsters are filled, do not pile wreaths next to them. Carry wreaths to unfilled dumpsters.
  • Do not jump or climb on wreaths in dumpsters to compress them

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It’s Christmas Eve and the third night of Hanukkah, and nothing is stirring in the ARLnow offices, not even Vernon Miles — because we’re taking the next day and a half off.

ARLnow will be back on a limited coverage schedule on Thursday. Of course, if there’s breaking news, we’ll be on top of it no matter what holiday or day of the week it is.

We wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah. Feel free to use the comments to discuss your favorite Arlington holiday memories or whatever locally-relevant topic might be on your mind.

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Morning Notes

Developer Pitches New Clarendon Apartment Building — “Orr Partners is pitching a new mixed-use building in Clarendon, seeking to redevelop a small property behind the neighborhood’s popular Silver Diner… the project will not include the redevelopment of the nearby The Lot beer garden or the Silver Diner, though rumors have long persisted that those have been targeted for changes.” [Washington Business Journal]

Most County Offices, Facilities Closed Today — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed Tues. Dec. 24 – Weds., Dec. 25, 2019, for Christmas, as well as New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, 2020… Metered [parking] areas not enforced.” [Arlington County]

Story of a Neighborhood Christmas Tree — This year, the Williamsburg Traffic Circle Christmas tree is back, thanks to contributions from local merchants. [Washington Post]

What Local Papers Were Reporting on in 1957 — “The Arlington Council of Churches was deploring grocery stores open on Sundays. A teen advice column titled ‘Help Unpopular Girls When They Cling’ was published alongside a puzzling comic strip called ‘Scorchy Smith.’ Ads touted ‘Exciting new rambler and split-level’ homes for $14,250 and 1957 Ford sedans for $239.50.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Media Spotlight on Arlington Buttigieg Supporter — “In a recent email exchange with a wealthy prospective donor, a top fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made an offer that was unusually blunt — even by modern pay-to-play standards. ‘If you want to get on the campaign’s radar now before he is flooded with donations after winning Iowa and New Hampshire, you can use the link below for donations,’ the fundraiser” wrote. [Axios]

UPS Driver Saves Christmas — “Darryl found my son’s phone and saved Xmas! He reminded my son to have faith in the many good people in the world.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Regular Schedule for ART Tomorrow — “ART will operate holiday service on Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1). On both days, ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55 and 87 will operate Sunday service. All other ART routes will not operate. ART will operate regular weekday service on December 24.” [Arlington Transit]

Holiday Hours at Pentagon City Mall — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is “offering special holiday hours to accommodate busy holiday shoppers… Shoppers can have their gifts beautifully wrapped this holiday season for a nominal fee with all proceeds benefiting Arms Outstretched, a local nonprofit organization supporting wounded warriors. The gift-wrapping service will be located on the second level near Nordstrom.” [Press Release]

Travel Tips at National Airport — “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is gearing up for another record holiday travel period at both Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. As the holidays approach, the Airports Authority expects to see heavier traffic and passenger volumes.” [Press Release]

Video Highlights ACPD Crosswalk Enforcement — “WATCH: The Arlington County Police Department routinely conducts pedestrian crosswalk safety enforcement campaigns using decoy officers and federal standards for safe stopping distances.” [Twitter]

Football Team Drops By Elementary School — “Earlier today, the @dcdivasfootball visited Long Branch to talk about who they are, following your passion, health/fitness, and then walked through a few drills. The D.C. Divas, which play in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA), are one of the most well-known and successful teams in women’s tackle football.” [Instagram]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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With Christmas just around the corner, the Ballston Business Improvement District has gotten into the spirit with festive a “Gnome for the Holidays” campaign.

This week, if you spot a gnome across Ballston’s 25-block neighborhood, don’t run away: each day, the gnome will be giving away bags of gift cards to more than 30 of Ballston’s shops and restaurants.

Every day until Friday, the gnome — an actual person wearing a pointy hat, not a cherubic holiday decoration — will hide in two different areas, switching off in the morning and afternoon.

The BID’s Instagram stories will be posting clues on the gnome’s whereabouts — for example, this morning, the gnome was spotted poking around the Ballston Metro station. The BID encourages those who interact with the gnome to share their experience using the hashtag #BallstonIsGnomeForTheHolidays.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year to activate our ‘life is full’ brand mantra in the form of ‘joy-full’ acts across the neighborhood,” said Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone.

“We envisioned this campaign in the spirit of giving as a grassroots way to engage the community and celebrate our home here in Ballston because there is truly no place like home for the holidays.”

Photo via Hope Wheeler/Ballston BID 

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

The stuff we consume — from snacks to knick-knacks — are responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50 and 80 percent of total land, material and water use.

New Zealand recently started a Gen Less campaign and this touching video has all the feels. It is a campaign focused on less = more. Gen Less is a decision to start getting more out of life by using less energy. It’s the first generation anyone can join, regardless of age. Interesting food for thought this holiday season.

Buildings and transportation often get the most focus when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That said, 60-80 percent of the impacts on the planet come from household consumption. If we change our consumption habits, this would have a drastic effect on our environmental footprint as well.

As you swing into the holiday buying season, here are the Rethink Energy Team’s top shopping picks:

Massage or Spa Gift Certificates: Giving the gift of self-care is one of the most thoughtful. Consider a gift certificate for a massage, facial, manicure or other relaxing treatment. Particularly after the rush of the holiday season, any means of stress relief is likely to be a very welcome gift!

Yoga or Workout Classes/Membership: Help your loved ones explore a new class or buy them a month at a gym they already belong to. Buy a punch card to a yoga class, golf lessons or tennis lessons. Even better, sign up for classes together!

A Class to Learn Something New: Turning interests into skills feels good, and whether the person on your list is interested in cooking, knitting, writing, ballroom dancing or juggling, there’s probably a class available to learn more about it.

Go Homemade: Whether or not you consider yourself crafty, you can make a variety or relatively simple homemade items to give as gifts. Everyone appreciates a creative homemade gift, and the possibilities are endless.

The Gift of Time: The gift of time is not only one of the most meaningful gifts, but it can be one of the most helpful. Everyone could use additional help in some area of their life — whether it’s a house cleaning, organizing, cleaning up the lawn or a special project.

Movie or Restaurant Gift Certificates: If gift cards are on your shopping list, consider local restaurants and movies. Dinner and a movie will always be a timeless gift.

Arlington’s Secret Santa Program: You can make the holiday season a little happier for some of Arlington’s most vulnerable residents by taking part in the Department of Human Services’ Secret Santa Program.

Start a Savings Account: For anyone with children in your family, consider starting a savings account. Instead of spending money on gifts, put a few dollars into a savings account to give them when they graduate high school.

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Morning Notes

Labor Rule Violations Alleged at Temporary HQ2 Projects — “A union is charging that employers at six construction projects that will house Amazon employees or operations in Northern Virginia have evaded federal and state taxes by misclassifying workers, failing to carry workers’ compensation coverage and avoiding overtime pay.” [Washington Post]

Beyer Voting Yes on Impeachment — “The facts allow for no other interpretation: President Trump violated his oath of office to faithfully execute the laws. In order to cover up his offenses, he engaged in unprecedented obstruction of Congress’s oversight power and role as an equal branch of government.” [Press Release]

Voting Precinct Changes Planned — “Voters in two Arlington precincts will see their polling locations changed in 2020. Those in Overlee Knolls (Precinct 017) will move from the Reed School at 1644 North McKinley Road… Those in Rosslyn (Precinct 019) will move from 1911 Fort Myer Drive to the new H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program building.” [InsideNova]

How Arlington’s Streets Got Renamed — “If you harbor gripes that our county government gets too ambitious, consider an episode from the 1930s. In what probably ranks as the most disruptive Arlington project ever, our entire street grid was renamed.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Road Closures for Wreaths Across America — “The annual Wreaths Across America escort of handmade, balsam wreaths destined for Arlington National Cemetery will begin arriving in Arlington County on Friday… On Saturday, December 14th, several thousand volunteers will descend upon the Cemetery and help lay wreaths on every gravesite throughout the property beginning at 8 AM. The public can anticipate large crowds and heavy pedestrian traffic related to the event.” [Arlington County, YouTube]

Holiday Arts and Crafts Show in Crystal City This Weekend — “GRUMP is back for its 9th year, returning to The Shops at Crystal City at 2100 Crystal Drive. GRUMP Crystal City is where you can shop local from 50 exciting artists and makers and stop for a photo op with one of our many Yetis.” [Event Calendar]

Nearby: Police Warn of Abduction Attempt — “City of Falls Church Police are seeking a suspect in an attempted abduction… The suspect is wanted for questioning after he approached a juvenile outside of a grocery store and told the juvenile to leave with him. The suspect left when the juvenile’s mother returned.” [City of Falls Church]

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The commentariat has spoken and ARLnow has listened.

The second item in our lineup of locally-themed apparel, just in time for the holidays, is our exclusive GONDOLA NOW! shirt.

Available in multiple hues so you can stand out at local meetings, the GONDOLA NOW! shirt tells the world that ariel lift transportation is, in fact, a perfectly modern and practical way to get from here to there. For instance, from Rosslyn to Georgetown.

The proposed Potomac gondola may be down — given its lack of support from the Arlington County Board — but it’s not completely out. After all, current Democratic County Board candidate Chanda Choun said last year that he would support “exploring this proposal” after exclaiming the very words on this shirt.

ARLnow does not endorse candidates nor transportation policy positions, but we do endorse looking good in shirts we designed. So get your GONDOLA NOW! apparel on Amazon in any of the following styles:

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So perhaps you’re not familiar with 90s-era German digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot. But you are undoubtedly familiar with the infamous Cheesecake Factory incident in Clarendon that happened around this time last year.

To mark the one year anniversary of that nationally-reported piece of uniquely Arlington local news (and as the first in a series of ARLnow merch we’re offering in time for the holidays this year) we have a new t-shirt for your online shopping pleasure.

Show your local pride and get the shirt today from Amazon, with either a black or a white logo.

We’ll get a few bucks from your purchase but more importantly you’ll get a novelty t-shirt that only about a half dozen other people will truly understand. Happy holidays from ARLnow!

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Morning Notes

Fire on Columbia Pike Sunday — Arlington County firefighters extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of Columbia Pike Sunday afternoon. One resident was displaced by the blaze. [Twitter/@ArlingtonVaFD]

Ballston Launches ‘Gnome’ Promotion — “Starting December 16th through December 20th, look for the Ballston Holiday Gnome spreading cheer all around the neighborhood. Find our holiday helper, and you’ll win gifts from some of our favorite Ballston restaurants and stores.” [Facebook]

Skylight Replacement at Arlington National — “After 30 years, the skylight in the @ArlingtonNatl Welcome Center is being repaired under the watchful eye of our Engineering team. As always, the cemetery remains open while we improve your experience.” [Twitter/@KDurhamAguilera]

Amazon Opening Smaller Office in NYC Post-HQ2 — “The giant online retailer said it has signed a new lease for 335,000 square feet on Manhattan’s west side in the new Hudson Yards neighborhood, where it will have more than 1,500 employees. The new lease represents Amazon’s largest expansion in New York since the company stunned the city by abandoning plans to locate its second headquarters in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City.” [Wall Street Journal, Crain’s New York BusinessTwitter/@ProfGalloway]

Nearby: Shoppers Closing in Potomac Yard — “Shoppers is closing in Potomac Yard, its parent company announced today. The supermarket, at 3801 Richmond Highway, is expected to close by the end of January. Other Shoppers stores in Manassas, Baltimore and Severn (Maryland) are also closing, and the company is selling 13 other locations.” [ALXnow]

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Ballston Quarter will be hosting a festive, day-long “Holiday Kick Off” event this Saturday, December 7 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m..

Across all four levels of the mall, there will be family-friendly holiday activities — “from holiday movies, to crafts (for all ages), to photo ops, and of course a special appearance from Santa.”

Beginning on the lower level in Quarter Market and outside plaza, there will be a snowman ice sculpture and photo booth, along with face painting, glitter tattoos, and a hot chocolate bar from District Doughnut.

On level M1, there will be a “Ballston Quarter Gingerbread House” for take-home photo ops. In addition, children can write letters to Santa and leave it in the “Ballston Quarter mailbox for special delivery,” per the event website.

On M2, crafting opportunities include making holiday ornaments with local art studio Art House 7 along with special Ballston greeting cards.

Starting a 11 a.m., there will be a pajama party at the Regal Cinemas with a free movie screening of the animated Disney movie, The Polar Express, as well as train rides around the M3 level of the mall until 5 p.m. (Seats for the movie are reserved, so advanced tickets are required).

Continue Saturday’s festivities into the evening at Ballston Exchange (4201 Wilson Blvd), where the Ballston Business Improvement District has begun pop-up weekly holiday movie nights.

“Each movie will be held in our pop-up theater in Ballston Exchange, so bring your own chair, and blanket to complete your experience,” the BID said. “DIRT, Shake Shack, CAVA, We The Pizza, Philz Coffee will have food and drink specials prior to showtime for moviegoers. Guests will also enjoy free popcorn, candy, and drinks in the theater. For the adults in the family, Movie Night is BYOB!”

The movie schedule is:

  • December 7: A Christmas Story (PG)
  • December 14: The Polar Express (G)
  • December 21: Elf (PG)
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