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Sheriff’s Office to Host Holiday Events for Imprisoned Parents

Incarcerated mothers and fathers can celebrate the holidays with their children next week as part of events hosted by the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

Incarcerated parents must meet certain requirements for the opportunity to have dinner with their children and make themed crafts.

The recently released holiday movie “The Grinch” served as the inspiration for this year’s theme.

“The events aim to foster positive relationships between parents and children and lessen the effects of separation,” a county press release said.

The events will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Arlington County Detention Facility (1435 N. Courthouse Road). The fathers-only event takes place on Monday (Dec. 10), followed by the mothers-only event on Tuesday (Dec. 11).

The Sheriff’s Office plans to host similar events when summer comes along, according to the press release.

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APS Weighs Giving Staff Columbus Day Off Next Year, Adding Vacation Day for Students

Arlington school officials are weighing a new proposal to give all staff Columbus Day off next year, a move that would end up giving students another day home from school in the process.

The county school system is currently accepting feedback on two options for the 2019-2020 year. One would maintain Columbus Day, which will fall on Oct. 14 next year, as a holiday for students and a “professional learning day” for all year-round employees, with those same workers getting Dec. 26 as a day off.

The other would make Columbus Day a holiday for students and staff alike, and Arlington Public Schools will set aside Oct. 7 for staff training instead. That would mean that students also get that day off, while 12-month staffers would need to report to work on Dec. 26.

The change would result in students having 27 weekdays off from school next year, compared to 26 under the first plan. It would not, however, impact the last day of school for students at any level, or affect the dates of any holiday breaks.

The school system is unique in the county in observing Columbus Day in the first place, as most other county government offices and facilities remain open for the controversial holiday.

School officials are still accepting feedback on those two options, and the final decision rests with the School Board, which has yet to review the new school calendar.

An online APS survey on the matter — asking responders to rate each of the two calendar options — will close by the end of the day today (Monday).

File photo

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‘Winter Festival of Lights’ Comes to Lee Highway Saturday

The Winter Festival of Lights is set to brighten up various spots along Lee Highway with 10,000 lights on Saturday (Dec. 1).

From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., locals can check out the free festival’s four different venues, which will have holiday music, shopping, performances, art, food and photos with Santa.

The first stop at the Lee Arts Center (5722 Lee Highway) includes a kid-friendly crafting area in the artists’ studios where families can make buttons, watch local artists make ceramic bowls for the AFAC Empty Bowls fundraiser and learn how to make a holiday card with the printing press.

Kids can sing holiday favorites with “Sing Books with Emily” from noon to 2 p.m. Pizza from Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta and a tasting by LaMoo Creamery will be available.

The second spot along the corridor, next to the Petco at 5400 Lee Highway, features magic and puppies. Attendees can meet Marymount University’s Pattern Makers and Fashion Club, chat with Arlington County library staff and learn from Arlington planners about the upcoming Lee Highway Planning Study while munching on food from Peter Chang and Harris Teeter.

The schedule includes:

  • Christmas trees and wreaths available at the All Seasons Farm Market
  • Performance by magician Steve Kish from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Performance by Jack Russell terriers Mario and Bella, who will show off a variety of tricks during the Jacks are Wild Dog Show
  • A donation box for pet food from the Arlington Animal Welfare League
  • How-to workshop for “cloved oranges” and Mt. Vernon-style natural wreaths with Melanie Welles Creamer from Mt. Vernon’s Greenhouse

Holiday enthusiasts can also head to the Langston-Brown Community Center (2121 N. Culpeper Street) to learn about local history and take photos with Santa and firefighters. Food from the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe and Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta will be available.

Other activities there include:

  • Face-painting
  • Compete for prizes in the Amazing Passport Race
  • Book signing by local author Wilma Jones for “My Halls Hill Family, More Than a Neighborhood”
  • Exhibition from the winners of a biennial program that recognizes excellence in architecture, historic preservation, landscape architecture and public art
  • Toy charitable dropbox from the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH)
  • Music from the Celestial Voices, The Arlington Chorale and Clarinestique Clarinet Choir

Finally, the “Shop Like a Local Holiday Market” at the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire House (3900 Lee Highway) tops off the festivities.

Photo via Lee Highway Alliance

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‘Miracle on 23rd Street’ — Melwood is Keeping the Tradition Alive and Better Than Ever

The time-honored Arlington holiday tradition, Miracle on 23rd Street, continues this year with its festive community tree lighting, arrival of Santa Claus and seasonal celebration to benefit those in need to kick off the holiday season.

Melwood, the leading nonprofit employer of people of differing abilities and wounded veterans in the Greater Washington D.C. metro area, is hosting this year’s event after recently acquiring Linden Resources, an Arlington organization of a similar mission, which previously hosted the event for more than 50 years.

“Melwood is proud to keep the tradition alive as we set up our new campus in Crystal City and make friends with our new neighbors,” said Cari DeSantis, president and CEO of Melwood. “We are excited about becoming part of this vibrant community, and we hope to make this longstanding traditional event better than ever.”

The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 30, at 750 23rd Street South in Crystal City. Admission is free and you can register at this site.

The celebration begins with the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree and the much-anticipated arrival of Santa, escorted by representatives of Arlington’s Police and Fire Departments. Photo opportunities with Saint Nick, face painting and free cookies are included in the festivities. New this year is a “virtual reality sleigh ride,” compliments of electronics pioneer, Samsung.

Melwood is one of the largest employers of people of differing abilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers — nearly 1,000 of whom are of differing abilities.

For 55 years, Melwood has offered job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Its merger with Linden Resources last year, allowed for an expansion of job opportunities, partnerships and services in a larger geographical area.

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Local Christmas Tree Sales Start Next Week

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, holiday season preparations are right around the corner. Arlington residents in search of a Christmas tree can head to these spots to pick out the perfect pine.

The Optimist Club of Arlington will start its annual tree sale next at 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23 in the Wells Fargo Bank lot along Lee Highway (2213 N. Glebe Road). The sales will end around Dec. 21 depending on availability, according to a press release.

Its hours are:

  • Monday to Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, noon to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The lot will also have wreaths, garland and White House Christmas ornaments available for purchase. All of the proceeds go to the club’s youth programs, which provide support and scholarships to local children.

For the first time this year, the Optimist Club will also be selling trees at a second location.

From Dec. 5-7, the club and the Ballston BID will operate a “pop-up lot” in the Ballston Gold’s Gym parking lot on Wilson Blvd. The lot is scheduled to be open from 3-7 p.m. and will offer smaller trees than the main Wells Fargo lot. A food truck is also set to serve food for tree shoppers.

The Arlington South Lions Club will begin its annual Christmas tree sale next Friday, Nov. 23, as well.

The sale will take place at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive from noon to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends until Dec. 24. Also planned is a Christmas Tree 5K on the W&OD Trail on Saturday, Dec. 1.

“Benefits from the Christmas Tree 5K and Lions Club Christmas Tree Sale will provide resources for sight preservation, disaster relief, Arlington Youth activities, the Arlington Free Clinic and the Arlington Food Assistance Center,” according to the Lions Club. “The Club will be providing Christmas trees to low-income families as well to provide joy during holiday celebrations.”

The Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street), meanwhile, begins its tree sale on Saturday, Nov. 24 and runs until the lot sold out. Proceeds will go toward Rise Against Hunger, Wings of Caring and Arlington Thrive.

The schedule is:

  • Monday to Friday, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Other usual Christmas tree sale locations to check out include Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church (830 23rd Street S.) in Aurora Highlands, Whole Foods stores and local farmers markets. Spots outside of Arlington include the Middleburg Christmas Tree Farm and Almost Heavenly Christmas Trees, which has a location in North Ridge and another in Landmark.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Celebrate This Holiday Season with The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City will offer festive holiday activities to celebrate the coziest time of the year with friends, family and loved ones. The hotel greets the upcoming season with spirited brunches, delightful holiday teas and an engaging workshop to create lasting memories. Festivities include:

  • Thanksgiving Day Brunch — Thursday, November 22
  • Holiday Tea — Starting Thursday, November 29
  • Breakfast with Santa — Saturday, December 1
  • Gingerbread House Workshop — Sunday, December 9
  • Christmas Day Brunch — Tuesday, December 25

Enjoy these one-of-a-kind offerings, and more, this holiday season at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City!

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Here’s What’s Closed for Columbus Day Around Arlington

Columbus Day might make for a long weekend for federal government employees and a whole host of others, but don’t expect to see many county services on hold to mark the occasion.

Monday (Oct. 8) is the lone federal holiday where Arlington County offices and facilities remain open, with a few exceptions.

County schools will be closed Monday, as will the county’s courts and DMV locations. The county also won’t enforce parking meters on Columbus Day.

Arlington Transit will still operate, albeit with a Saturday schedule for routes 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87. Other routes won’t run, and the ART call center will be closed.

Metro will also offer reduced service on its train and bus routes.

Trains will run on a Saturday schedule, running every 12 minutes during the day, and the service will be open from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Buses will run on a Saturday supplemental schedule, with full details available here. Planned night track work will continue as normal, which could further slow some trains.

File photo

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Be on the Lookout for These July 4 Road Closures

The Fourth of July is nearly upon us, and that means a slew of office and road closings are on the way tomorrow (Wednesday).

All county government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed for Independence Day, and the county won’t enforce parking meter limits.

Arlington Transit will run buses along a few of its routes on Sunday schedules, but otherwise, bus service won’t be available around the county.

County police are also gearing up to close a variety of roads around Arlington to cope with crowds and Fourth of July events, and they also plan to restrict parking at popular fireworks viewing spots including the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, Long Bridge Park and the Air Force Memorial.

Full details on the road closures, from a county press release:

6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Memorial Bridge/Memorial Circle

1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Marshall Drive from Route 110 to N. Meade Street
  • N. Meade St. from 14th St. N. to Marshall Dr.

3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Route 50 (access to the Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood will be from the Rhodes Street bridge)
  • Exit ramp from westbound Route 50 to N. Lynn Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Exit ramp from eastbound Route 50 to N. Meade Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Long Bridge Drive from Boundary Channel Drive to 10th Street S.

8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Eastbound Route 50 at Washington Blvd. All traffic diverted from Rt. 50 on ramps to East and West Washington Blvd.
  • Eastbound N. 10th ramp to eastbound Rt. 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Rt. 50
  • Courthouse Road ramp to eastbound Rt. 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Rt. 50 or 10th Street N.
  • Pershing Drive at Rt. 50 will only be allowed westbound
  • Eastbound N. Fairfax Drive from N. Pierce Street to N. Fort Myer Drive
  • Columbia Pike between S. Orme Street and S. Joyce St.
  • Joyce Street between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike

Arlington parks will remain open for the holiday, though the county won’t be holding its annual Fourth of July celebration at Long Bridge Park this year due to budget constraints. Pools at Arlington Public Schools will also be open as usual, as will county spraygrounds, for anyone looking to cool off.

Trash and recycling collection will also proceed as normal.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Sen. Ebbin’s Anti-Discrimination Measure Fails — “A measure adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s laws against discrimination in public employment made it through the state Senate, only to be killed in the House of Delegates.” [InsideNova]

Schools, County Offices Closed Monday — Arlington County government offices, courts, schools, libraries and rec centers will be closed Monday for the George Washington Day holiday in the Commonwealth of Virginia — also known nationally as President’s Day. In addition to the closures, parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Ramp Closure Next Week — “A detour will be in place next week as the ramp from northbound George Mason Drive to westbound Carlin Springs Road is closed from Tuesday, Feb. 20 through Friday, Feb. 23 for installation of a sanitary line.” [Twitter]

Springlike Day Today — With temperatures in the upper 60s, today (Feb. 15) is expected to give a brief glimpse of spring, before temperatures turn colder. There is a chance of accumulating snow this weekend. [Capital Weather Gang]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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Closures, Celebrations Planned for MLK Day

Most Arlington County facilities and services are slated to close or operate on altered schedules on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed next Monday, Jan. 15, the county said. Though metered parking will not be enforced on those days, recycling and trash pickup is scheduled to go ahead per normal. The call center will also be closed.

ART buses will operate on a Saturday schedule on routes 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87. Park grounds will remain open, although administrative offices, classes and centers will be closed.

Arlington will hold its annual tribute to Dr. King, titled “Martin Luther King, Jr: The Man and the Mission,” on Sunday at Wakefield High School from 5-6:30 p.m. The program features musical and dance performances from Duke Ellington School of Arts, spoken word artist Kim Miller and students from local schools.

On Monday, Volunteer Arlington is organizing a community-wide day of service at the Arlington Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive). Interested participants can register to take part in community service activities from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The inaugural event encourages people from all walks of life to work together to find solutions to pressing problems of the day.

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County Government Closed Friday for Veterans Day

Arlington County government will close on Friday, November 10 to observe the Veterans Day holiday.

County courts, libraries, community centers, public schools and other government offices and facilities will be closed on Friday also.

Libraries and community centers will be open on Saturday, November 11 on a normal Saturday schedule, while trash and recycling services will continue to operate on a normal schedule on both days.

Parking meters in the county will not be enforced on Friday, but will be on Saturday.

And anyone looking to catch an ART bus over the long weekend will encounter limited service. The 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87 routes will operate on Saturday schedules on both days, while all other ART routes will not operate. The STAR call center will be closed on both days.

Flickr pool photo via thekidfromcumlin

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‘Made in Arlington’ Pop-Up Shop Now Open in Courthouse

Just in time for the holidays, a pop-up store celebrating local businesses and artisans opened today (Wednesday) in Courthouse.

The “Made in Arlington” pop-up shop is on the ground floor of county government headquarters at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, in the Plaza Library.

It will be open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. between now and December 22. And on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., special exhibits will take place in the lobby from local artists.

The shop, which features vendors selling food and gifts, “will help Arlingtonians find that one-of-a-kind gift during the holiday season, while also supporting local businesses and artists,” according to a press release.

The new products are just inside the library entrance, next to the shop’s usual array of Arlington-branded t-shirts, water bottles, chocolate and other items.

From an Arlington Economic Development press release, the vendors include:

And on Thursdays, representatives from the following businesses will be on hand:

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Morning Poll: Are You Working Today?

Today, Columbus Day, is a federal holiday, which means that a large portion of the local workforce has the day off.

Not everyone gets the day off work, of course. There are essential workers — cops, nurses, bus drivers, etc. — who work no matter what the holiday. Then there are organizations like ours, which swap Columbus Day with the day after Thanksgiving, thus trading today for a four-day Thanksgiving weekend, which many employees prefer. There also might be some who do not treat Columbus Day as a holiday out of principle.

But just how large a portion is off today? Who is enjoying a three day weekend, compared to those who are working?

Despite the fact that those bored at work are probably more likely to respond than those on vacation, let’s try to find an approximate measure for how many Arlingtonians have Columbus Day off.

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County Government Staying Open for Columbus Day

As it has the past few years, Arlington is keeping most of its county offices open on Columbus Day.

State government-related offices will still close on Monday, as will Arlington Public Schools. Though county government offices will remain open, parking meters will not be enforced.

More from a county press release:

Arlington County government offices, libraries and other government services will be open on Monday, October 9, 2017. Virginia Commonwealth offices, including Arlington Courts, DMVs and Arlington Public Schools, will be closed in observance of Columbus Day. Trash and recycling services will operate on a normal schedule. Metered parking will not be enforced.

Photo via Wikipedia

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County Government, Road Closures Planned for July 4

Arlington County government offices will be closed on July 4 for the Independence Day holiday, as well as libraries and other facilities.

Metered parking will not be enforced July 4, but street parking near the Iwo Jima Memorial, Long Bridge Park and the Air Force Memorial will be restricted.

County courts and the DMV offices, including DMV Select, will be closed July 3-4.

With large crowds expected for the fireworks on the National Mall, as well as Arlington’s own celebration at Long Bridge Park, police will close the following roads:

6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

  • Memorial Bridge/Memorial Circle

1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Marshall Drive from Route 110 to N. Meade Street
  • N. Meade Street from 14th Street N. to Marshall Drive

3 p.m. to 11. p.m.

  • Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Route 50 (access to the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood will be from the Rhodes Street bridge)
  • Exit ramp from westbound Route 50 to N. Lynn Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Exit ramp from eastbound Route 50 to N. Meade Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Long Bridge Drive from Boundary Channel Drive to 10th Street S.

8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Eastbound Route 50 at Washington Blvd. All traffic diverted from Route 50 on ramps to East and West Washington Blvd
  • Eastbound 10th Street N. ramp to eastbound Route 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Route 50
  • N. Courthouse Road ramp to eastbound Route 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Route 50 or 10th Street N.
  • Traffic on Pershing Drive at Route 50 will only be allowed westbound
  • Eastbound Fairfax Drive from N. Pierce Street to N. Fort Myer Drive
  • Columbia Pike between S. Orme Street and S. Joyce Street
  • S. Joyce Street between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

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