Arlington, VA

When given a daunting task, like vacuuming up the leaves in front of every home in the county, one might be tempted to try to rush through it as quickly as possible.

But for one of Arlington County’s leaf vacuum crews, helping out residents and getting the job done right is the priority.

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, a resident of the Rock Spring neighborhood near Yorktown High School posted on social media that a leaf collection crew was helping an elderly neighbor rake the leaves from her yard to the curb, where they could be vacuumed.

“Hats [off] to these guys,” she said, in a post that scored more than 100 likes on Twitter.

The resident, Kathie K., tells ARLnow that there’s even more to the story.

“I went to get coffee… as I was pulling out I noticed someone in a work uniform raking a pile of leaves on my street. He gave me a big wave as I drove by,” she recounts. “When I pulled back into my cul-de-sac he and the truck had made their way around the circle and were now at the end.”

The crew of two were now working in the yard of two older sisters who live together, going above and beyond even what was seen in the photo, Kathie said. They were raking and talking to one of the sisters, as well as a father and son who were out raking and had brought the crew some water.

“The leaf collector that gave me a big wave was in their yard raking leaves. Not just on the curb, he was all the way to her front door raking leaves to the street. She was helping, they were all chatting,” she continued. “I took a picture because the guys were just being kind. They changed my day and I’m sure everyone else who has seen the picture. I thought it was a nice way to start the holiday season.”

Peter Golkin, a spokesman for the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services, which handles leaf collection and other public works in the county, tells ARLnow that leaf collection crews are not required to help residents rake, but are often happy to help someone in need.

In this case, Golkin says driver Michael Hendricks, a permanent staffer in the Solid Waste Bureau and former Arlington Public Schools bus driver, and veteran seasonal crewperson Anthony Leftwich decided to help out — despite having a schedule to keep as they worked to wrap up the first leaf collection pass around the county by the end of the next day.

Hendricks “hopes someone would do the same for his own grandmother,” Golkin said.

With the second leaf collection pass now underway as of Monday, Hendricks offered some tips for residents.

“Try to keep cars away from the piles and don’t pile near cars to make it an easier reach for the vacuum hose,” he said. Also, Golkin noted, dry leaves can be a potential fire hazard when vehicles with hot catalytic converters park above them.

Leaf collection season is set to end on Dec. 18. That may seem like a relief to the crews, but Golkin said getting out into the residential neighborhoods and interacting with residents is usually a highlight of the season.

“The leaf crews especially enjoy sweeping through neighborhoods on Saturdays because kids are home from school and love watching the truck from a safe distance,” he said.

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Morning Notes

A Few Flakes Expected Tonight — “In the evening, precipitation will probably take the form of scattered snow showers over most of the region, ending before midnight. Little to no accumulation is expected.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter/@NWS_BaltWash]

Kudos to the Leaf Collectors — “Hats of to these guys. Leaf collectors jumping out of their truck to help my elderly neighbor rake her leaves.” [Twitter/@KathieNotnow]

Heavy Traffic at DCA — Sunday, which was said to be the busiest travel day of the year, saw big backups on the roads at and around Reagan National Airport. [Twitter/@LukeBerndt, Twitter/@EvanLambertTV]

Arlington Seeking Park Ranger — “Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) currently has a vacancy for Park Ranger… Park Rangers patrol designated Arlington County Parks; provide visitor information and programming services; support other County programs (maintenance, sports, recreation); and… help ensure park security and visitor safety.” [Washington Post]

Yorktown Falls in Regional Final — “It was no easy path for the Yorktown Patriots finishing second in the region tournament. After a five-point first-round victory, third-seeded Yorktown (11-2) knocked off the host and second-seed Madison Warhawks, 25-10, in the semifinals. Then Nov. 30, Yorktown fell to the juggernaut, top seed, host and undefeated Westfield Bulldogs, 35-7, in the 6D North Region Tournament high-school football title game.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Water Taxi Coming to Arlington? — The Potomac Riverboat Company, which operates a water taxi between the Wharf, Georgetown, Alexandria and National Harbor, is reportedly considering new commuter-oriented routes, includings a stop at the Pentagon. [ALXnow]

Dems Want to Boost State Affordable Housing Funds — “Virginia Democrats are salivating at what they might be able to achieve now that they’ve finally won unified control of state government, particularly when it comes to affordable housing… new money from the state could be ‘rocket fuel’ for efforts in Arlington if developers can pair that cash with existing funding.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pentagon City Mall to Host New Holiday Display — “Residents and visitors are invited to Fashion Centre at Pentagon City’s inaugural Festival of the Trees! From November 23 through December 24, a variety of Christmas trees decorated by local nonprofits, including Arlington Food Assistance Center, Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Doorways for Women and Families,” etc. [Fashion Centre at Pentagon City]

Zone 4 Leaf Collection Starts Today — Arlington County’s vacuum leaf collection effort is continuing, with crews starting to roam “Zone 4” neighborhoods including East Falls Church, Arlington Forest and Arlington Ridge today. [Arlington County]

Congregation Returns After Redevelopment — “On Sunday, November 17, Arlington Presbyterian Church (APC) celebrated their homecoming. APC returned to their former site opening a new worship, office and multi-use space on the ground-floor of Gilliam Place, a 173-unit affordable housing community developed by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) along Columbia Pike.” [Press Release]

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Morning Notes

Local Dems Tout Big Wins — “Heading into the critical 2020 presidential race, we’re especially excited about the tremendous grassroots enthusiasm that fueled Democratic victories statewide. This historic victory belongs to the grassroots activists as much as it belongs to the Democratic Party.” [Press Release]

Leaf Collection Schedule Announced — Courthouse, Clarendon and other neighborhoods are on tap for Arlington County’s first vacuum leaf collection pass of the season, starting Monday. [Arlington County]

Amazon Gives to Some Local Pols — “In the Democratic leadership ranks, House Democratic Caucus Chair Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, received $1,000. Her district is just outside of Amazon’s new Arlington home. And the company sent $1,500 to Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston, and $1,000 to Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, who both represent Arlington neighborhoods a stone’s throw from HQ2.” [Washington Business Journal]

Walgreens Applying for Sign Permits Updated at 10:15 a.m. — Walgreens signs are going up on former Rite Aid stores across Arlington, after the chain acquired stores from its drug store competitor nearly two years ago. [Twitter]

Investment for Company With Arlington HQ — “CoreMedia, a global content management platform and developer of CoreMedia Content Cloud, is excited to announce that it has successfully partnered with OpenGate Capital, a global private equity firm, on a majority growth investment… Terms of the investment were not disclosed.” [PRNewswire via Potomac Tech Wire]

First Snow Possible Next Week — “Back-to-back Arctic cold fronts are predicted to sweep across the eastern United States over the next week, the second of which has a small chance to squeeze out some snowflakes in the Washington region late Monday and/or Tuesday.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Get ready to start raking in the leaves: the county’s leaf collection starts next Monday (Nov. 12) for some neighborhoods and continues through mid-December.

The vacuum truck will operate Mondays through Saturdays, except for Thanksgiving, and will complete two sweeps on a set neighborhood schedule. The first pass runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 4. Immediately afterward the second collection pass begins and run until Dec. 20.

Look for yellow signs posted three to seven days ahead of the first pass and then orange signs for the second one. Leaves should be at the curb at the start of the collection window and stay there until they are collected.

Residents can prepare for leaf collection by raking leaves to the curb — and away from storm drains and water meter covers — the weekend before the scheduled collection. The brochure reminds residents to remove stones, branches, litter and other debris from the pile and to reduce fire hazards by not parking cars on leaf piles.

Residents can also recycle leaves by placing them in green organics carts or paper yard bags at the curb by 6 a.m. for pickup on regular trash collection days. The weight cut off is 50 pounds for bags and 200 pounds for carts. The recycled leaves become nutrient-rich mulch that residents can pick up for free either at the Solid Waste Bureau near SHirlington or near Marymount University at 4712 26th Street N.

The county will not collect leaves in plastic bags.

“Yard trimmings collected in Arlington County are composted and used to make top soil for use in county projects. Plastic bags and other inorganic materials contaminate the end product,” a blurb on a county brochure reads.

The county’s free bag distribution started last week (Oct. 29) and runs until Jan. 18 while supplies last at the following locations:

  • Aurora Hills Community Center, 735 18th Street S., 703-228-5715
  • Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd, 703-228-3000
  • Lee Community Center, 5722 Lee Hwy, 703-228-0552
  • Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, 703-228-6535
  • Madison Community Center, 3829 N. Stafford Street, 703-228-5310
  • Solid Waste Bureau, 4300 29th Street S., 703-228-6570
  • Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 2nd Street S., 703-228-5920

Flickr pool photo via wolfkann

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The second phase of Arlington County’s leaf collection program begins today.

Some neighborhoods can expect to see trucks pass through as early as today (December 4), with the work scheduled to be completed across the county on December 21. Trucks will operate Monday through Saturday.

To prepare for the vacuum collection, residents are reminded to rake leaves to the curb but away from storm drains, and to remove stones, litter and other debris from the piles.

County staff said residents should only report their street has been missed if leaves haven’t been collected after it’s been labeled completed, by calling 703-228-6570.

And with piles of leaves on the ground this fall, one anonymous tipster warned others to think before driving through those piles.

The tipster wrote:

With all the leaf piles in the streets this time of year I want to get the word out that children play in those leaves. I was waiting for my son at [Williamsburg Middle School] and was parked behind a pile of leaves. While I was waiting a WMS student popped up out of the leaf pile. He had been laying in the pile for at least 30 seconds for me to not see any activity. He got up and walked away. Moments later a parent drove into that leaf pile and parked to wait for her child. Someone’s son was less than 10 seconds from being run over. This is the second time I have seen a child pop up out of the leaves on the street.

Flickr pool photo by Eric

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Get the rakes at the ready: Arlington County’s leaf collection program begins today.

Leaf collection starts today (November 13) for some neighborhoods, with the first pass through scheduled to run through December 5.

The trucks will operate Monday through Saturday, except for Thanksgiving, on a set neighborhood schedule.

To prepare for the vacuum collection, residents are asked to rake leaves to the curb but away from storm drains, and to remove stones, litter and other debris from the piles.

Residents are reminded to only report their street has been missed if leaves haven’t been collected after it’s been labeled completed, by calling 703-228-6570.

And for those looking beyond the holiday season, Arlington’s Christmas tree collection program is set for the first two weeks in January, from January 2-12.

“Residents are reminded to place the tree on the curb no later than 6 a.m. on your regular trash collection day and to remove all decorations, nails, stands and plastic bags,” a blurb on the program reads. “The trees are later ground into wood mulch for garden use.”

Anyone who does not have a curbside recycling service can bring their Christmas trees to the Solid Waste Bureau during the collection season.

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Morning Notes

Making the Case for Amazon in Crystal City — Amazon’s planned second headquarters would find a good home in Crystal City, according to Washingtonian magazine writer Dan Reed. He said the combination of a major airport close by, good transit links from Metro and the fact that it remains “underutilized” after Base Realignment and Closure makes it an attractive option. Reed also suggested Poplar Point on the Anacostia waterfront in D.C. or the Discovery District in College Park, Md. as other places that fit the bill. [Washingtonian]

More Than 40 Drone Flights Detected at Fort Myer — A study to detect unmanned aircraft found that 43 drone flights were picked up over Fort Myer over a 30-day period beginning in August. It is in the middle of a no-drone zone, with flights requiring specific permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. The report suggests the flights could have been from “well-intentioned” tourists at the nearby Arlington National Cemetery and other National Parks. [WTOP]

Leaf Collection Begins Next Week — “The Arlington County government’s vacuum-leaf-collection program is slated to begin November 13 and run through December 22. Each civic-association area is slated to get two passes during the cycle, with signs posted three to seven days before each pass, government officials said. Schedules also will be posted online. Residents wishing leaves to be vacuumed away should place them at the curb by the posted date, but avoid putting them under low-hanging wires or near parked cars.” [Inside NOVA]

APS to Slow Down Planning for Instructional Focus of New High School Seats — Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington School Board agreed to slow down the process of determining an instructional focus for the 500-600 new high school seats at the Education Center until a task force looking at the school’s strategic plan has finished its work. The plan had been for Superintendent Patrick Murphy to bring initial ideas for the site to the Board in December, but staff said slowing down would allow a “big-picture view of all high-school needs in the county.” [Inside NOVA]

Virginia Man Tried to Board Plane With Loaded Gun at Reagan National Airport — A Manassas man tried to board a plane at Reagan National Airport last Thursday with a loaded gun. The Transportation Security Administration detected the 9mm semi-automatic handgun during security checks, confiscated the firearm and cited the man on a weapons charge. It was loaded with seven bullets. [WJLA, WRC]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Arlington County’s vacuum trucks will start collecting leaves from the side of the road next week.

The county’s annual vacuum leaf collection begins on Monday, Nov. 7 and runs through Friday, Dec. 16. The trucks will make two passes through each Arlington neighborhood during the leaf collection period; signs will be posted in neighborhoods a few days before each pass.

Avoid placing piles of leaves too close to parked cars or storm sewers, officials advise.

Previously there was also a defined period for leaf bag collection. That’s now moot since the county began collecting yard waste year-round. Leaves still must be placed in paper bags, which are currently available for pickup, free of charge, at eight county locations.

Each year Arlington collects about 50,000 cubic yards of leaves.

Next up on the special collection schedule: the annual Christmas tree collection, which will take place from Jan. 2-13, 2017.

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The leaves are falling, and the county is coming to take them away.

Leaf collection bags (photo via Arlington County website)Arlington County’s leaf collection program is scheduled to start next week, eventually offering two ways for locals to rid their yards of leaves.

“We provide residents of the county opportunities to get rid of their leaves in an environmentally responsible way,” Solid Waste Bureau Chief Erik Grabowsky said in an informational video about the program (above).

Leaf bag collection begins on Monday. The county will collect full, biodegradable paper leaf bags the day after regular trash collection. The collection runs every weekday from Nov. 2 through Jan. 8, including all holidays except for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

These biodegradable bags can be reused from last spring’s waste collection, purchased at hardware stores, or picked up from one of the following locations, while supplies last:

  • Aurora Hills Community Center, 735 18th St. S.
  • Courthouse Plaza Information Desk, 2100 Clarendon Blvd.
  • Lee Community Center & Park, 5722 Lee Highway
  • Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Rd.
  • Lubber Run Community Center, 300 N. Park Dr.
  • Madison Community Center & Park, 3829 N. Stafford St.
  • Solid Waste Bureau, 4300 29th St. S.
  • Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 2nd St. S.

Vacuum leaf collection will begin the following week on Nov. 9, running every Monday through Saturday until Dec. 17, excluding Thanksgiving. Residents are asked to rake leaves into piles along the curb, making sure the pile only has leaves in it and is clear of cars and storm sewers.

The vacuum will make two passes in each neighborhood, scheduled based on when the leaves in each area will fall.

Leaf Falling Predictions (via DES)“We did an analysis of the types of trees in the county [because] the leaves from various types of trees will fall at different times,” Grabowsky explained. “We’ve tweaked the schedule a little bit so we think we’ve actually now optimized our collection program for vacuuming. We’re hoping this year is as successful as last year.”

Part of ensuring this success is giving at least one weekend’s notice before a vacuum collection. Yellow signs around a neighborhood will indicate the vacuum’s first pass, and orange signs will indicate the second.

There’s also a tentative vacuum schedule, an interactive progress map and a Listserv for email updates about which neighborhoods are next on the schedule.

“We try to be thorough and diligent to make sure we don’t miss anybody,” Grabowsky added.

More information about how to prepare for leaf collection is available on the county’s website.

Photo via DES

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Leaf collection bags (photo via Arlington County website)Get your rakes ready. The county will begin its leaf collection service next week.

Leaf bag collection begins on Monday (November 3) and will run through Friday, January 9. Bags are collected on the next business day after your regular trash collection day. This includes holidays, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Biodegradable paper leaf bags are available at most hardware stores, or can be used if left over from previous collections. Limited quantities also are available for free at the following community centers:

  • Aurora Hills Community Center, 735 18th Street South, 703-228-5715
  • Courthouse Plaza Information Desk, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., 703-228-3000
  • Lee Community Center and Park, 5722 Lee Highway, 703-228-0552
  • Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, 703-228-6535
  • Lubber Run Community Center, 300 N. Park Drive, 703-228-4712
  • Madison Community Center and Park, 3829 N. Stafford Street, 703-228-5310
  • Solid Waste Bureau, 4300 29th Street South, 703-228-6570
  • Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 2nd Street South, 703-228-5920

Residents are asked to follow some guidelines for leaf bag collection:

  • Remove dirt, stones, litter and other debris from your leaves.
  • Place leaves only in biodegradable paper leaf bags because the bags will be made into mulch along with the leaves. Do not use plastic bags.
  • Close the bags by folding the top down.
  • Place your bags at the curb by 6:30 a.m., one business day after your trash day.

Vacuum leaf collection begins on November 10 and runs Monday through Saturday until December 19, except for Thanksgiving. Each civic association will receive two passes — one in November and one in December — and signs will be posted throughout the neighborhood three to seven days in advance. The full schedule is available online.

Residents are asked to follow some guidelines to prepare for vacuum collection:

  • Rake your leaves to the curb.
  • Don’t put leaves in roads more than seven days in advance of your scheduled vacuum leaf collection. It blocks traffic, limits street parking and is a fire hazard.
  • Pile your leaves away from storm drains, water meter covers, low wires and parked cars.
  • Remove stones, litter, branches and other debris from your leaves to prevent equipment damage and worker injuries.
  • Don’t place leaves in plastic bags or trash carts.
  • Never park your car on leaf piles. It’s a fire hazard.

More information is available on the county’s website.

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