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Flyer for Labor Day 2022 anti-DUI campaign (via ACPD)

There is never a good time to drive drunk, but the next couple of weeks will be a particularly risky time to do so in Arlington.

The Arlington County Police Department is participating in the nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign starting tomorrow (Wednesday), with targeted enforcement and education timed to coincide with the approaching Labor Day weekend.

The campaign will bring more police patrols to Arlington roads between Wednesday, Aug. 17 and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 5), as well as the placement of signs around the county, reminding drivers of the deadly consequences of driving while impaired.

An ACPD press release about the campaign is below.

The Labor Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial end of summertime, often with friends and families gathering at pool parties, backyard barbecues and other festivities to enjoy the last days of the season. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) is again partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, to remind community members to celebrate safely.

From Wednesday, August 17, 2022 – Monday, September 5, 2022, motorists nationwide can expect to see increased messages about the dangers of driving under the influence, coupled with enforcement and increased saturation patrols to identify and apprehend impaired drivers. This campaign aims to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways through a two-pronged approach of education and enforcement.

Sadly, the statistics prove that there is still a lot of work to do to put an end to drunk driving. According to NHTSA, 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide in 2020 that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. During the 2020 Labor Day holiday period (6:00 p.m. September 4, 2020 – 5:59 a.m. September 8, 2020) there were 530 fatal crashes nationwide. This is why ACPD is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to the Labor Day festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

The Arlington County Police Department encourages community members to follow these tips to ensure all travelers reach their destinations safely:

  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
  • If you see a suspected impaired driver on the roadway, report to your local law enforcement. To report a suspected impaired driver in Arlington County, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

For more information about the dangers of drunk driving, visit the NHTSA website.

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Morning Notes

County Closures for Labor Day — County-run Covid vaccination clinics and testing will be closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday. County offices, libraries, rec centers, courts and schools will also be closed. Trash will be collected, but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Two Libraries Reopening Next Week — “Starting September 7, 2021, Arlington Public Library will reopen two locations — Cherrydale and Glencarlyn Libraries… ‘The Library continues to make steady progress toward filling an unprecedented number of public service vacancies caused by the pandemic and subsequent hiring freeze. We believe we are turning the corner and look forward to seeing more of our patrons,’ said Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh.” [Press Release]

No County Cash for Amazon This Year — “Arlington won’t pay Amazon.com Inc. any cash incentives this year — the second year in a row the pandemic has essentially thwarted that deal… ‘As a result of the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions in place during much of the year, Arlington’s FY2021 Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues did not yield the incremental growth necessary for Amazon to receive a grant for the second year of the 15-year performance period.'” [Washington Business Journal]

VRE Ridership Remains Low — “Despite upticks over the summer months, passenger counts for Virginia Railway Express (VRE) remain well down from pre-pandemic levels. For the weeks ending July 30, Aug. 6, Aug. 13 and Aug. 20, passenger counts were down 85.7 percent, 85.8 percent, 85.8 percent and 86.5 percent from the same periods in 2019, according to information provided by VRE officials to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.” [InsideNova]

New Restaurants Coming to Crystal City — “The Kabob Palace in Crystal City will soon have new neighbors. A halal restaurant franchisee has signed a lease for about 2,400 square feet at 2323 S. Eads St., where it plans to open a combined Peri Peri Original and Kallisto Steakhouse inside an end-cap space where the buffet-style Kabob Palace Family Restaurant had been.” [Washington Business Journal]

Map Chronicles Close Calls — “Developed with the help of Virginia Tech graduate students, the Near Miss Survey allows walkers, bicyclists, drivers, and other road users to report instances where they came close to getting into a crash or accident but were fortunate enough to avoid it. The resulting map highlights specific incidents as well as hotspots that are especially accident-prone, with the goal of helping local transportation and public safety officials see what areas need their attention.” [FFXnow]

Flickr photo by Bekah Richards

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Hand-painted canvases, ceramics and other works of art will adorn the streets of Clarendon this weekend for an art festival.

The Arlington Festival of the Arts will take place this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4-5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event, now in its ninth year, will be outdoors on N. Highland Street, beginning at the corner of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd.

Howard Alan Events, which hosts the festival, had an independent panel of judges select the artists. Some of those who made the cut are based in the D.C. area.

“Visitors will have the chance to see thousands of fine works from across the globe in a prestigious show encompassing fine jewelry, exquisite works of art and hand-crafted apparel and decor,” Howard Alan Events said. “Whether your passions run to sparkling jewels and one of a kind paintings; masterfully crafted glasswork or an art deco sculpture, you are sure to find it during the free, two-day event.”

Art prices will be available to view at the event and all the artists will be available to answer questions during the festival.

The Labor Day weekend event will feature paintings from Allen Levy, whose works have been displayed at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria and whose studio is in Woodbridge. Mixed media artist and interior designer Vered Yanay, based in Bethesda, will have her work at the festival as well as Prince George’s County-based graphic artist Bryane Broadie.

Parking is available at the event’s 3003 Washington Blvd location and pets on leashes are welcomed to peruse the art. They may be interested in Joseph Brewer’s pet portraits.

Parking restrictions and several major road closures are planned in the area, which may lead to traffic delays for drivers.

More from the Arlington County Police Department:

Setup for the event will begin at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, and the event will be open both days from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 4th through 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 5th to accommodate the event:

  • Westbound Washington Boulevard will be closed from N. 10th Street to Clarendon Boulevard
  • N. Highland Street will be closed from N. 11th Street to Washington Boulevard
  • Eastbound Washington Boulevard will be reduced to one lane from Clarendon Boulevard to N. 10th Street
  • Southbound traffic on N. Garfield Street will only be allowed to turn left (eastbound) on Washington Boulevard

Other closures not mentioned above may be implemented at law enforcement discretion in the interest of public safety.

Street parking in the area will be restricted and motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

Attendees are encouraged to use Metro (Clarendon station) or other “for hire” transportation options to reduce vehicular traffic in the area.

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Morning Notes

Labor Day Closures — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 for Labor Day.” Trash will be collected but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Library Buildings Remain Closed — “Even as neighboring Fairfax County is approaching the two-month mark for its reopened library system, Arlington officials appear in no rush to bring their library system more than marginally back to life. That means that while Arlington patrons will continue to have the chance to check out books online and pick them up at a central repository, they remain barred from visiting branches or wandering the stacks.” [InsideNova]

Bluemont BLM Protest Continues — “Father, in his red scooter, and son first rolled down the bike path to this corner in Arlington, Va., just after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. They’ve been back most weekdays since, more than 60 times so far, as demonstrators in Louisville and Atlanta marched for justice for Black Americans killed at the hands of police and protests surged following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last month in Kenosha, Wis.” [Washington Post]

Deep Dive Into New Bridge — “The preferred alternative would add a new two-track rail bridge north of the Long Bridge while retaining the existing bridge without modifications. The plan would cost approximately $1.9 billion. The existing span would retain its CSX ownership, and the new span would be Virginia’s.” [Greater Greater Washington]

MU Extends President’s Contract — “Marymount University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend the contract of President Irma Becerra by an additional five years to 2026. This action comes one year earlier than expected, as Board members felt strongly that due to Dr. Becerra’s significant accomplishments during her tenure, it was important to ensure her continued association with Marymount on a more accelerated timeline.” [Press Release]

Trump Boat Parade Planned — “A boat parade is planned in support of President Trump on Sunday on the Potomac River. According to a Facebook post from an entity known as “Liberty Rally,” boaters will gather just before 1 PM in the Wilson Bridge no-wake zone and then proceed up the Potomac.” [Washingtonian]

Kanye Booted from Ballot — “A Richmond Circuit Court Judge has ruled that rapper Kanye West will be removed from the ballot as a presidential candidate in Virginia. The decision came after an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case and Attorney General Mark Herring accused the West camp of acting fraudulently to get on the ballot.” [NBC 12]

Va. Booze Biz is Booming — “The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority announced Wednesday retail sales of $1.2 billion in fiscal 2020 — a nearly $120 million increase from the previous year and the second year in a row the liquor monopoly surpassed $1 billion in sales.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

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After some back-and-forth, the Arlington School Board last night approved a new pre-Labor Day start for the next school year.

The board voted to approve the interim superintendent’s recommended Aug. 31 start date, with a bit of a caveat. The 4-1 vote followed discussion about what to do about families that have already made travel plans that will now be impacted by the earlier start date.

Reid Goldstein was the lone ‘no’ vote. He previously moved to adopt a calendar that maintained a post-Labor Day start, on Sept. 8, but the motion failed. He said the board was voting too late on a change that will affect families.

“The calendar consideration cycle started later than it should have, and now it’s concluding later than it should and [later than] is convenient for communication,” he said.

Another motion, to instruct the superintendent and principals to be lenient with students missing the first week of school, also failed. The motion from School Board member Tannia Talento would have also instructed administrators to ensure that the first week of school would be light on instruction, so students with existing vacation plans do not miss too much.

Talento’s motion failed after it was asserted that existing APS policy would call for excused absences and efforts to help students catch up under such circumstances.

In supporting the superintendent’s recommendation, School Board member Barbara Kanninen noted that based on mixed feedback from parents, students and school staff, “we clearly have community members who have completely different feelings.” The Aug. 31 start was the result of school staff working “to find common ground,” she said, and wouldn’t unduly shorten the summer break thanks to this year’s late Labor Day holiday, on Sept. 7.

Under the new calendar, students will have a four-day weekend for Labor Day, after four days of school. The school year will end on June 16 for high school students and June 18 for elementary and middle school students.

As previously reported, the proposed calendar also calls for a two-week winter break, a one-week spring break, three weekdays off for Thanksgiving break, Columbus Day and Veterans Day off, and no school on Election Day in November, which will be a telework “grade prep” day for teachers, among other off days.

The neighboring jurisdictions of Falls Church, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County have approved pre-Labor Day start date — between Aug. 24-27 — for the next school year. Among suburban Northern Virginia public school systems, only Alexandria is sticking with a post-Labor Day start date of Sept. 8, at least for now.

Arlington Public Schools had been considering a pre-Labor Day start after state law changed last year to allow it.

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After an extended period of contemplation, which led to some parent complaints, the Arlington School Board is set to vote on the 2020-2021 school calendar tonight.

Arlington Public Schools has been considering a pre-Labor Day start after state law changed last year to allow it. Since then, the neighboring jurisdictions of Falls Church, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County have approved pre-Labor Day start date — between Aug. 24-27 — for the next school year.

Among suburban Northern Virginia public school systems, only Alexandria is sticking with a post-Labor Day start date of Sept. 8, at least for now.

Seeking to balance the desires of parents to keep their late summer vacation plans, and those who want school to start earlier, Arlington’s interim superintendent is recommending a Monday, Aug. 31 start date, followed four days later by a four-day Labor Day break, from Friday to Monday.

The superintendent’s recommendation calls for a June 16 last day of school for high school students and a June 18 last day for elementary and middle school students.

The proposed calendar also calls for a two-week winter break, a one-week spring break, three weekdays off for Thanksgiving break, Columbus Day and Veterans Day off, and no school on Election Day in November, which will be a telework “grade prep” day for teachers, among other off days.

A staff presentation released ahead of Thursday night’s School Board meeting refers to 2020-2021 as a “transition year,” perhaps paving the way for an earlier start date in future years.

The presentation also gives the School Board the option of voting on a school calendar with a post-Labor Day start, on Sept. 8, and a June 23-25 last day of school.

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Morning Notes

Shooting Suspect Served Time for MurderUpdated at 8:40 a.m. — Crystal City shooting suspect Mumeet Ali Muhammad was released from prison two years ago after being convicted of a 1991 murder in Arlington. And he had recently been arrested but then released after allegedly threatening to shoot a man in D.C. and possessing a gun as a felon. [WTOP, NBC 4]

Witness Recounts Hiding in Office During Shooting — “An association employee described the scene to InsideNoVa on Thursday, saying recent active-shooter training helped employees get through the terrifying episode. ‘Everybody did precisely what they should have done,’ said the employee, who asked that his name not be published… ‘I got right up next to door, crouched down and made myself as small as possible,’ he said. ‘I heard screaming, him yelling at her, her pleading with him.'” [InsideNova]

Labor Day Closures in Arlington — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 for Labor Day.” Trash and recycling will be collected as normal, but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Amazon Brain Drain Worries — “Amazon is only just starting to post job openings for its second headquarters in northern Virginia — and local startup founders are watching with apprehension. The big picture: Amazon HQ2 has the potential to turn the D.C. region into a tech hotspot, but smaller companies are worried that the short-term impact of Amazon coming to town will be a brain drain.” [Axios]

‘Clarendon Jam Session’ Sunday — “The long weekend is almost here and it’s time to celebrate with a jam session at The Lot in an urban beach party setting! $20 gets you access to CLARENDON JAM SESSION 2019.” [Instagram]

Oktoberfest Ticket Prices Increasing — Early bird $30 ticket pricing for the Crystal City Oktoberfest ends this weekend. General admission tickets will be $45 thereafter. [Eventbrite]

Dominion Funding Electric School Buses — “Schools across Virginia could have all-electric school buses by 2030, under a plan from Dominion Energy. The company said it could be the largest deployment of electric school buses in the nation… The announcement comes the same day as a Virginia State Corporation Commission reported that Dominion’s 2018 profits were higher than regulators approved.” [WAMU, Dominion, Virginia Mercury]

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Arlington school leaders could soon gain the power to start classes before Labor Day, as some long-stymied legislation finally seems set to pass in the General Assembly.

State lawmakers are gearing up to finally repeal a provision widely known as the “King’s Dominion Rule,” which has barred school systems across the state from starting class before Labor Day for the last 30 years in a bid to provide Virginia’s theme parks with a robust pool of potential patrons, and student workers, each summer.

Many schools have already earned “waivers” to disregard the rule (including large school systems like Fairfax and Loudoun counties) and momentum has built in recent years to do away with the law entirely. Arlington officials have been particularly keen on kicking off class early, hoping to better align high school calendars with the slew of standardized tests that dominate the latter half of each school year.

And while it’s not a done deal just yet, Arlington could well get its wish this year. The House of Delegates and state Senate have now both passed a bill from Del. Roxann Robinson (R-27th District) to allow school systems to start classes up to 14 days before Labor Day — so long as they give students the Friday before the holiday off.

Lawmakers will now need to determine the bill’s next steps. General Assembly leaders could opt to send it along to Gov. Ralph Northam as it is, or convene a conference committee for additional negotiations as a competing bill from Sen. Amanda Chase (R-11th District) heads to the House floor for a vote.

Some local Arlington legislators — Sens. Barbara Favola (D-31st District) and Janet Howell (D-32nd District) — were backing narrower bills to give only Northern Virginia localities the power to control their school calendars. But those efforts were quickly rolled into Chase’s legislation instead, as it became clear that the tourism industry and school administrators might be able to strike a compromise on the legislation.

“We think this is a good compromise,” Chase told a House committee yesterday (Monday). “Our desire is really this to give the power back to the school boards, the parents and the PTAs, as opposed to big business determining when our young people go to school.”

Both bills would grandfather in school systems that already have waivers to start more than two weeks before Labor Day, a key demand from school leaders. Those localities also wouldn’t be required to give students the Friday before the holiday off.

Chase, and groups representing the state’s school boards and superintendents, said they would’ve much preferred a full repeal of the law to let school systems set calendars however they’d like.

By contrast, representatives of the state’s theme parks say they’re not thrilled with the prospect of schools starting the full two weeks before the holiday, but insisted on students receiving a four-day weekend as a bit of a compromise.

Tom Lisk, a lobbyist for the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association, told House lawmakers yesterday that the interest group is generally opposed to the legislation, but wouldn’t condemn the effort in its entirety.

“There’s an opportunity to work to find middle ground still,” Lisk said.

As of yet, however, there’s not much sign that lawmakers will bend to pressure from the hospitality industry on the bill.

The House’s education committee altered Chase’s bill to make it identical to Robinson’s on a 16-6 vote yesterday — should the House then pass the legislation, the final decision will rest with Northam. Or, the House could always alter Chase’s bill, setting up the potential for a conference committee, where a small team of negotiators would hash out the differences between the two pieces of legislation.

Regardless of just how lawmakers work out the details, Arlington’s School Board will be watching the proceedings quite closely. As the group set the calendar for the 2019-2020 school year on Feb. 7, Board member Barbara Kanninen told staff that she’d be “very interested” in seeing options for a pre-Labor Day start next year, so long as the legislature follows through.

“Ultimately, I’m a big fan of year-round school, and this gives us a chance to start working in that direction,” Kanninen said.

File photo

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Going into the Labor Day weekend, Arlingtonians should be aware of several closings coming up on Monday and one big opening the day after: back to school day.

As local students head back to the opening day for schools on Tuesday (Sept. 4), the Arlington Police Department has put out a reminder for motorists to slow down, avoid distractions, and watch for the influx of students walking and biking to school.

Arlington Police also reminded drivers that passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading can result in a $250 fine. Vehicles on both sides of the road must stop on all roads except for divided highways, where drivers are urged to proceed with caution.

Pedestrians are reminded to only cross streets at crosswalks with permitting signals, to walk along sidewalks or paths rather than on the side of the road, and to follow the directions of crossing guards.

For cyclists, helmets are required for anyone 14 or under, but are recommended for everyone. When riding through Arlington, cyclists should keep to the right on the roads and ride in the direction of traffic.

Parents with students starting school should make sure their child knows their home phone number and address. Parents or guardians should roleplay possible situations a child might encounter and discuss personal safety tips with their child.

Before school opens back up, several government facilities will be closed on Monday for Labor Day.

Courts

  • Closed

DMV Select & Virginia DMV

  • Closed

Human Services

  • Closed

Libraries

  • Closed

Parks & Recreation Facilities & Programs

  • Admin Offices – Closed
  • Classes/Leagues – Closed
  • Parks – Grounds Open
  • Centers – Closed
  • Spraygrounds – All spraygrounds will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Parking

  • Metered areas not enforced

Public Schools

  • Closed

Sheriff’s Office

Swimming Pools

Transportation

Trash Pickup & Recycling

  • Trash & Recycling – Regular schedule
  • Special Collection (Brush, Metal, E-waste) & Cart Services – Regular schedule
  • Mulch Delivery – No service
  • Leaf & Brush collection – Regular schedule

Call Center

  • Closed

HHM Facility and ECRC

  • Closed

Treasurer’s Office

  • Closed

File Photo

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Morning Notes

Today Is ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, when students in Arlington and around the region go back to school. As a result of the extra school buses, parents and students on the roads, and the end of summer vacations, it is also dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid-Atlantic. In reality, however, the day after — which now has a name: “Woeful Wednesday” — is worse in terms of commuting times, and next week should be even more woeful. [Washington Post, WTOP]

Chili’s Dying Out in D.C. Area — The Chili’s in Bailey’s Crossroads has closed. The restaurant chain closed its Crystal City location last year and its Reston location the year before that. The nearest Chili’s to Arlington is now along Route 1, outside the Beltway, in Fairfax County. [Twitter]

Roosevelt Profiled by Conservative Media — GOP candidate Adam Roosevelt is getting some attention from conservative media outlets. Roosevelt “is a moderate Republican running for the Virginia House of Delegates against current Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez, who has never before faced a GOP opponent during his six years in office,” writes the Daily Caller, calling the district he’s running in, which includes part of Arlington, “far left.” The lead sentence in Newsmax’s article about Roosevelt has a different focus: “A conservative Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, who happens to be black, has recently emerged as one of the most spirited advocates of keeping Confederate statues up in the Old Dominion State.” [Daily Caller, Newsmax]

Webb Removed from Civ Fed Debate — School Board candidate Mike Webb has had his invitation to tonight’s Arlington County Civic Federation debate — the unofficial kickoff to campaign season in Arlington — rescinded because he reportedly “failed to return required paperwork in time to allow participation.” Allison Dough, the other candidate to challenge Democratic endorsee Monique O’Grady, has said she has other commitments and will be unable to attend the debate. [InsideNova]

Arlington Man Evicted From ‘Big Brother’ House — Arlington resident Matt Clines, 33, has been evicted from the Big Brother house. Clines had advanced about half-way through the CBS reality show before being voted off. [Reality TV World, Parade, Hollywood Reporter]

DeVos to Make Big Announcement in Arlington — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is reportedly planning to make a “major announcement on Title IX, the campus gender equality law,” from George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington on Thursday. [BuzzFeed]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

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"Terrible traffic Tuesday" road conditions at 8:45 a.m. on 9/6/16

Unsurprisingly, traffic is pretty heavy for this morning’s rush hour.

In the D.C. area, the Tuesday after Labor Day is sometimes called “Terrible Traffic Tuesday.” That refers to the extra cars and buses on the road due to the first day of school and most people being back from their summer vacations.

In reality, the traffic is usually worse the following Wednesday, and even worse still the week after that.

As of 8:45 a.m., there were big delays on I-395 and the southbound GW Parkway in Arlington, as per usual. So far, no major traffic issues have been reported in Arlington.

Image via Google Maps

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