Memorial Day in Arlington — It was an active Memorial Day in Arlington. Among the activities: a ceremony was held at the Air Force Memorial; volunteers handed out 30,000 roses to families of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery; President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns; and Arlington’s annual Memorial Day ceremony was held in Clarendon. [WJLA, WJLA, New York Daily News, Twitter]
Quarterdeck Owner Opening Restaurant in D.C. –Patrick Morrogh, who owns the Quarterdeck near Rosslyn, is reportedly opening another crab-centric eatery, “District Anchor,” in the former Rumors space at 1900 M Street NW in D.C. [Borderstan]
Arlington Woman Arrested for Handbag Scheme — Federal authorities have charged Arlington resident Praepitcha Smatsorabudh in a major fraud scheme. The feds say Smatsorabudh would buy luxury handbags online, then return high-quality knockoff handbags to the store while selling the real bag online, netting millions of dollars in the process. Per a news report: “The scheme was so prolific that at one point she was a major department store’s top online customer in the entire world.” [ABC News]
Metro Train’s Brakes Catch Fire — Blue Line service was shut down for more than an hour Saturday while Arlington County firefighters battled a brake fire on a Metro train at Arlington Cemetery station. [WJLA]
Home Prices Dip in Arlington — Real estate firm Long and Foster reports a six percent year-over-year drop in Arlington County median home sale prices for April. The number of units sold, however, rose 5 percent. [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Memorial Day weekend is finally here. We hope you enjoy a well-deserved relaxing weekend.
The reason for the holiday, however, is to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Arlington, of course, is home to the Pentagon, the Air Force Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, making Memorial Day a particularly poignant occasion here.
Among those traveling to Arlington to mark the holiday are the motorcycle riders of Rolling Thunder, who are expected to rumble into town en masse today, and a group of Vietnam War vets who are getting a police escort on I-66 tomorrow morning.
There may be traffic disruptions and some extra noise, but on a weekend like this our out of town guests should be welcomed with open arms.
With that, feel free to discuss Memorial Day or any other issue of local interest in the comments.
ARLnow.com will return with some content and breaking news coverage on Monday, and full local news coverage on Tuesday. Please note that Wednesday might be a bit lighter of a news day than usual for us, as we will be moving our office throughout the day.
All county offices, courts, libraries, and other facilities will be closed for the holiday. Metered parking will not be enforced.
ART buses will operate on a Sunday schedule as will Metrorail and Metrobus. Metrorail will charge off-peak fares all day and parking will be free at all Metro facilities.
Trash and recycling collection, however, will operate on a regular schedule.
Traffic on I-66 eastbound on Saturday is expected to be severely impacted from 10-11:30 a.m. to allow honor groups of Vietnam veterans to travel to Arlington National Cemetery.
On Sunday the Arlington County Police Department will close off Washington Boulevard between I-395 and the Memorial Bridge from 7 a.m.-4 p.m for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally. During this time, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110.
Following an annual Memorial Day weekend tradition, over 230,000 flags were placed at every headstone in Arlington National Cemetery today.
More than 1,000 soldiers placed flags around the cemetery throughout a four hour timespan. There are over 400,000 total graves in the cemetery. Old Guard soldiers also placed approximately 14,000 flags at the Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in the District.
The tradition known as “Flags In” has been conducted by the Old guard since 1948. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment is the oldest infantry regiment in the U.S. Army and is the official escort to the president.
All flags are removed after Memorial Day.
If you’re planning on leaving home this Memorial Day weekend, you’re not alone.
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, nearly 966,000 D.C. area residents will travel at least 50 miles for the holiday.
This is the highest travel estimate in the last 11 years and it represents a nearly two percent increase over the 951,000 residents who traveled at this time last year, according to AAA.
The heaviest congestion on area roads is predicted to occur Thursday afternoon between 5-6 p.m.
“The great American road trip is back due to cheaper gas prices. We’re seeing this play out for Memorial Day, with a projected 869,600 people in the Washington metro planning to drive to their Memorial Day destinations,” said AAA’s John Townsend, in a press release.
Gas prices this year are noticeably lower compared to previous years with the national average at $2.29 a gallon, 45 cents cheaper than a year ago. Prices in the D.C. area are also down, averaging $2.28 a gallon, 41 cents cheaper.
Along with the roads, air travel is also expected to increase with a predicted number of 69,100 people expected to fly, a 1.7 percent increase from last year’s numbers.
Memorial Day Traffic to Peak Thursday — Heading out of town for Memorial Day? Try to avoid driving Thursday afternoon or evening, which is expected to have the worst traffic of the holiday period. A better time to leave is between 8 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Friday. [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments]
Ideas for Making Arlington More Bike Friendly — Chris Slatt, chair of the Arlington Transportation Commission, has 10 “big ideas” for making Arlington even more bicycle friendly. [Greater Greater Washington]
French Program at Wakefield Honored — Wakefield High School’s French program is one of 10 such programs in the country this year to receive the Exemplary Program Honors award from the American Association of Teachers of French. Enrollment in Wakefield’s French program has reportedly doubled since 2011. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
From Monday, May 23 to Monday, June 6 — it’s timed to coincide with the Memorial Day holiday — Arlington County will again be participating in the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign.
ACPD will be “stepping up enforcement” of the state seatbelt law during that time.
From a press release:
Once again, the Arlington County Police Department is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement from May 23 to June 6, just ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes. As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2013 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 59 percent of those killed. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2014, there was one fatality every 16 minutes, one person injured every 13 seconds, one property damage crash every 7 seconds, and 1 law enforcement-reported crash every 5 seconds.
Motorcades for groups of Vietnam War veterans will result in rolling highway closures and potential traffic tie-ups Memorial Day weekend.
The Arlington County Police Department announced Monday that there will be temporary closures on I-66 eastbound on Saturday, May 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The closures are in place to allow Vietnam War veterans to travel to Arlington National Cemetery.
Other roads to be affected by the motorcades include Route 110 southbound and Washington Blvd near Columbia Pike, according to police.
Also, traffic in and around Crystal City is expected to experience delays between 12:30 p.m and 1:30 p.m due to police escorts for another veterans group through the area.
Memorial Day weekend will also bring traffic disruptions on Friday and Sunday due to the 29th annual Rolling Thunder ride, which is separate from the Saturday veterans event. Starting Sunday morning a Rolling Thunder rally will be held at the Pentagon parking lot. That will be followed by a noon departure across the Memorial Bridge and into D.C., before another gathering near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The 29th annual Rolling Thunder will rumble into town on Friday, May 27. As in previous years, residents who live along I-395, Route 1 and other local highways can expect to hear what one might term the “sound of freedom” throughout much of the weekend.
Rolling Thunder will again have its base of operations at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Crystal City. If you’re heading to Chili’s for dinner, you’ll potentially be competing for street parking and tables with hundreds of bikers.
The main Rolling Thunder event will happen on Sunday morning, when the bikers will gather in the Pentagon parking lot from 7 a.m. to noon, before departing en masse across the Memorial Bridge to the area around the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.
Rolling Thunder “pays homage to the nation’s veterans, particularly those still Prisoner of War/Missing in Action from all wars.” While the organization primarily exists to support veteran’s and POW/MIA causes, regardless of politics, it has recently posted some overtly political messages to its website.
“We pray for a new administration in 2016 that will follow the Constitution of the United States and worry about America, our people and our troops first,” said the organization’s National Executive Director and National President, in a letter to members. “Why can’t we let these foreign countries fight their own wars? This administration keeps getting us deeper and deeper in the war against Islam.”
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
“Our parkour park will be the stuff legends are made of. Design and construction has already started on our one of a kind playground. If you were there last year you know the scale, this year will be bigger with some fun new challenges and lots of new obstacles. With challenges for all skill levels and a kids area it’s shaping up to be the best year yet!”
The event will feature more than 450 parkour athletes from as far away as Switzerland. There will also be a DJ, sponsors, giveaways, seminars, a film festival and a “nature day.”
The event is $10 to attend as a spectator. Ticket prices are higher for participants.
Those who are in town Memorial Day weekend might also see parkour participants jumping around in Crystal City. The event’s official hotel is the Courtyard Arlington Crystal City/Reagan National Airport.
Honoring War Dead at ANC — At the annual Memorial Day service in Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, President Obama said the country should “never stop trying to fully repay” Americans who have died in battle. It was the first Memorial Day in 14 years without a major American ground war — the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan ended in December. Over the weekend, Boy Scouts and other volunteers placed some 88,000 roses on the graves at the cemetery. [Associated Press, Stars and Stripes]
Post Endorses Cristol, Fallon — The Washington Post’s Editorial Board has endorsed Katie Cristol and Peter Fallon in the upcoming Democratic Arlington County Board primary. The Post lauded Cristol’s “drive and intelligence” and Fallon’s “command of policy.” The political action committee that represents Arlington public school teachers, meanwhile, has endorsed Fallon and Christian Dorsey. [Washington Post, InsideNova]
County’s Bond Rating Reaffirmed — The three major credit rating agencies have reaffirmed Arlington’s triple-A bond rating, the highest rating possible. There are only 39 counties, including Arlington, that have a perfect triple-triple-A rating. “Retaining the County’s AAA ratings is critical to ensuring the absolute lowest interest rates on our General Obligation bonds,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a press release. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The Hope for our Veterans benefit starts 7 a.m. at the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. There, a group of veterans will do 22 pushups to signify the fact that, statistically, 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
The poker run portion of the charity event starts at 10 a.m. at the Iwo Jima memorial. During the poker run, teams drive or ride to five locations across Northern Virginia to draw one poker card.
The five locations are:
- Crystal City Sports Pub in Crystal City
- Walkers Grille in Springfield
- Heritage Brewing Co in Manassas
- Gypsy Soul in Falls Church
- Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill in Courthouse
Poker cards may also be purchased for $20 each for those who don’t want to visit all the stops. All of the event’s proceeds go toward benefitting charities Operation Renewed Hope Foundation and Renovating Hope.
At 6 p.m., teams will convene on the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill to present their poker hands. The best poker hand wins a 10-day trip to the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii.
The concert portion of the event also begins at 10 a.m. at the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill, and is hosted by former Yahoo! and TV Guide Channel personality Nikki Boyer. Artists such as McKayla Reece, Tommy Fields and Mars Rodeo will play until 1:30 a.m.
The concert is free before 2 p.m., after which tickets cost $25.
The annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally will rumble through Arlington starting today.
The Memorial Day weekend event will begin with the expected arrival of thousands of motorcyclists this afternoon, many of whom will be arriving via I-66. Authorities are warning drivers to expect delays on eastbound I-66 between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.
The Hyatt Regency in Crystal City will serve as the hotel headquarters for the event, which according to organizers attracts some 900,000 bikers to the nation’s capital. The expected arrival time at the hotel is 3:00 p.m., according to a weekend schedule.
Arlington residents who live along the Route 1 corridor should, as usual, expect plenty of motorcycle noise throughout the weekend.
Aside from activity around the hotel, no Rolling Thunder events are planned in Arlington on Saturday. On Sunday, starting at 7:00 a.m., participants will gather at the Pentagon north and south parking lots for a large rally, which this year will include food trucks.
From the Pentagon, the bikers will depart for a rally on the National Mall, featuring various speakers and musical tributes, at noon.
To accommodate the large expected crowds, Arlington County and Virginia State Police will close Washington Blvd between I-395 and the Memorial Bridge from about 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.
“In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110,” ACPD said in a press release. “Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area this weekend.”
Flickr pool photo by Michelle Dupray
Memorial Day Closures — Arlington County government offices, courts, schools, and community centers will be closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. Arlington’s public indoor pools will be open, trash and recycling will be collected and ART buses will operate on a holiday schedule. [Arlington County]
Flags In at Arlington National Cemetery — More than 1,000 soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as the Old Guard, placed small American flags in front some 275,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. The annual ceremony, known as “Flags In,” has been taking place before Memorial Day for more than 60 years. [U.S. Army]
Arlington Man Convicted of Sexual Abuse — Arlington resident Gary Hankins, a 45-year-old former licensed clinical social worker, has been convicted of sexually abusing a 17-year-old patient. The boy’s parents first contacted authorities after they discovered sexually suggestive texts from Hankins on his phone. [NBC Washington]
Candidates Bash Board’s Reevesland Vote — The Democratic candidates for County Board are criticizing the County Board’s vote this week to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse. At a debate lacking one candidate — School Board Chair James Lander, who had a School Board meeting — candidates took turns bashing the decision, calling it “shameful,” “bad business” and “beneath Arlington.” [InsideNova, Washington Post]
APS to Discuss Swanson, Williamsburg Plans — Next month Arlington Public Schools will hold public forums to discuss “interim options” for addressing capacity issues at Swanson and Williamsburg Middle Schools. “These interim solution options include the use of both on-site or off-site locations to house some portion of the school populations, the possibility of some interior redesign, the use of relocatables as part of the solution, and changes in scheduling,” APS said in a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
Survey Says: Resident Satisfaction High — Resident satisfaction with Arlington County is high, according to Arlington County. The county’s fourth Resident Satisfaction Survey, conducted by an outside research firm, suggested an 89 percent overall satisfaction rate with the quality of county services. “Just two percent of residents were dissatisfied with the overall quality of County services,” said a press release. One notable area for improvement: maintenance of county streets, with a satisfaction level of only 42 percent. [Arlington County]
Peak Memorial Day Traffic Expected Thursday — Contrary to conventional wisdom, the worst Memorial Day holiday traffic in the D.C. area will be Thursday evening, not Friday. According to an analysis of average travel speeds, drivers hoping to escape local holiday traffic should leave at night, around lunchtime Wednesday or Thursday, or Friday morning. [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments]
Split Board Approves Reeves Farmhouse Sale — The Arlington County Board voted 3-2 last night to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse. “The County worked with the community for six years to find a way to retain public ownership of the house, or to create a public-private partnership to restore the house and open it to the public, but we were unable to achieve such a partnership, and the cost of restoring the property and bringing it up to code for public use was prohibitively expensive,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. Much of the land around the house will remain publicly-owned. [Arlington County]
County to Outsource Volunteer Program — The County Board also last night voted 3-2 to outsource Volunteer Arlington, the county’s volunteer management program. The county will now seek a nonprofit with which to form a public-private partnership. [Arlington County]