Press Club

Morning Notes

Preservation Legislation Shuffled — “After a subcommittee approved a measure being sought to give preservation advocates an additional voice in decisions made at the local level, but simultaneously stripped out some key provisions of the bill, its sponsor made a request. Would the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, where the measure was being considered, agree to move the bill to the Committee on Courts of Justice, Del. Patrick Hope asked.” [Sun Gazette]

Don’t Drive Drunk on Super Bowl Sunday — “To keep spectators safe on the roads, the Arlington County Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind football fans everywhere that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk… in 2019, there were 10,142 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes throughout the United States.” [ACPD]

Yogurt Cup Recycling Confusion — Can you recycle small plastic yogurt cups, like those used by Activia and other brands? That’s a solid maybe, according to the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services. Previously, the county has released publications that alternately described yogurt cups as recyclable and not recyclable. [Twitter]

Injured Squirrel Returns to Fairlington — “Last week, our Animal Control team took in a badly injured squirrel who who received life-saving care at [Blue Ridge Wildlife Center]. Today, Officer Ballena released the now-healthy squirrel back into the wild, very close to where he was found. He was very ready to be back in the wild where he belongs! ” [Facebook]

Kudos for Local Crossing Guard — “Shashu Gebre, Crossing Guard at both Alice West Fleet and Long Branch Elementary Schools, has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (VA SRTS) program as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards for the 2021-22 school year. The honor is part of Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, an annual Safe Routes to School celebration recognizing Crossing Guards for the critical role they play in the safe routes to school network.’ [Arlington Public Schools, Twitter]

Changes to Electoral Board — “Weinstein, who like [newly-elected Arlington Electoral Board Chair Kim] Phillip is a Democrat on the body, turned over the reins because, come December, he will depart when Republicans pick up a second seat due to the election of Glenn Youngkin as governor. State law requires electoral boards to be composed of two members of the governor’s party, one from the opposing party. Weinstein will serve as vice chair for the remainder of his term, while Republican Scott McGeary will retain his post as secretary.” [Sun Gazette]

Sunday Snow Likely to Be Light — “Our spell of springlike weather will come to a sudden halt Saturday night as a cold front barges through the region, setting the stage for a possible light snowfall early Sunday morning. Right now this doesn’t look like a big deal for several reasons.” [Capital Weather Gang]

It’s Friday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 62 and wind gusts as high as 30 mph. Sunrise at 7:02 a.m., sunset at 5:43 a.m. Saturday will be partly sunny, with a high near 58. Sunday we’ll see snow and some rain in the morning, then partly sunny with a high near 37. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Soccer practice at Long Bridge Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Organ Debuts Tomorrow — “The new organ [at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Virginia Square] cost $1.2 million… Opus 28 arrived in Arlington on Oct. 3, 2021. For three weeks, Pasi put together the 500,000 parts that constitute it. He spent the next two months ‘voicing’ the organ: doing the painstaking adjustments necessary to make everything sound just right.” [Washington Post]

Reminder: Pizza Boxes Can Be Composted — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “There’s No ‘I’ in Food Scraps: Arlington viewers of ‘The Big Game’ can give 110% and go all in in the green curbside cart: pizza crusts and boxes, wing bones and greasy napkins. You won’t be denied.” [Twitter]

County Helping With Museum Renovations — “As efforts begin to renovate its museum, the Arlington Historical Society is working to embrace close collaboration where possible with the Arlington County government. Whether that will turn into a financial partnership remains to be seen, but county staff will be providing their knowledge to help the renovation move ahead.” [Sun Gazette]

Public Defender Pay Bill Fails — “A measure to equalize pay between staff of Virginia prosecutors and those working in public-defender’s offices died in a House of Delegates subcommittee. The measure, patroned by Del. Alfsono Lopez (D-Arlington-Fairfax), would have required localities that supplement the compensation of staff in its office of commonwealth’s attorney beyond state minimums to do the same for staff of a public defender’s office, if a locality has one.” [Sun Gazette]

Nearby: Scammers Impersonating Police — “Officers have received reports from community members who stated that callers contact them claiming to be members of a police department or sheriff’s department. The law enforcement impersonator may… tell the community member they missed a court appearance or jury duty [and] state they need to send money or a warrant will be issued for their arrest or they may turn themselves in to jail.” [City of Falls Church]

Snow Possible This Weekend — “Light to moderate snow could fall in the D.C. area on Super Bowl Sunday. But it’s still not clear whether it will snow hard enough or be cold enough for it to amount to much and have serious effects on the region.” [Capital Weather Gang]

It’s Thursday — Sunny, with a high near 55 today, and wind gusts as high as 21 mph. Sunrise at 7:04 a.m. and sunset at 5:40 p.m. Sunny again tomorrow, with a high near 57 and wind gusts as high as 22 mph. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Hawk withdrawing (Photo courtesy of Huskerdont/Flickr)

Towers Coming to Site in National Landing —  “Developers have closed on the purchase of a vacant site near Crystal City and Potomac Yard in Arlington, a transaction that paves the way for a new two-building project there.” [Washington Business Journal]

Anti-Vaccine-Mandate Rally Growing — “The event, called ‘Defeat the Mandates: An American Homecoming,’ plans a march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial… [A spokesperson] says the group has more than 36,000 signups; a permit application filed with the National Park Service… says it expects 20,000 people.” Organizers have been encouraging attendees to stay in Arlington. [Washingtonian]

Keep Uncollected Bins Out — “Curbside recycling/trash/organics collection resumed Monday, Jan. 10, following last week’s storms. Keep any carts left unemptied this week at the curb through Saturday, Jan. 15. The County’s contractor is making progress collecting about twice the regular tonnage but runs are slower, trucks fill faster and Covid has affected staffing.” [Arlington County]

MLK Mass This Weekend — “On Sunday, January 16, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, will celebrate a Mass in Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More. The annual Mass honors the life and legacy of the late civil rights leader who was slain almost 54 years ago.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]

Shred and Recycling Material Drop-Off — Each Arlington resident can shred up to two boxes or bags of paper or unload a small truckload of inert materials for free at a regularly held recycling event this Saturday. [Arlington County]

Return of 7000 Series Delayed Again — “Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld said today he will not resume the placement of 7000-series trains into passenger service for about 90 days to allow Metro engineering and mechanical experts time to focus on root cause analysis and acquire technology to measure 7000-series wheelsets. During the 90-day period, Metro will accelerate efforts to restore 6000-series railcars to increase the availability of newer cars in the fleet and improve reliability for customers.” [WMATA, Washington Post]

It’s Friday — Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 46. North wind 8 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Sunrise at 7:25 a.m. and sunset at 5:10 p.m. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 27. North wind 7 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. On Sunday, snow is likely after 1 p.m. [Weather.gov]

Photo courtesy of Huskerdont/Flickr

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Plastic bag in a fence (Photo by Morgan Vander Hart on Unsplash)

Arlington’s new bag tax is only a few days away from taking effect.

The tax, which was also enacted by neighboring Alexandria and Fairfax County after being authorized by the Virginia General Assembly, calls for certain stores to collect a five-cent tax on single-use disposable bags.

More from an Arlington County press release, below.

Beginning January 1, 2022, a five-cent tax on single-use disposable plastic bags will go into effect for grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores in Arlington County, the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County. The Arlington County Board, Alexandria City Council and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors each adopted a plastic bag tax in September 2021, as a step to reduce the negative environmental impacts of single-use plastic bags.

To support the transition, the jurisdictions have been working closely with the Northern Virginia Regional Waste Management Board to align outreach, education, timelines and common language for the localities to ensure consistency and clarity. A regional informational website contains answers to frequently asked questions and multilingual outreach materials for retailers. Reusable bags have also been distributed with information about the plastic bag tax to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefit recipients over the past few months.

The tax would not apply to:

  • plastic bags intended for reuse;
  • plastic bags solely used to wrap, contain or package certain items (ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, produce, unwrapped bulk food items or perishable food items);
  • plastic bags for dry cleaning or prescription drugs; or
  • multiple plastic bags sold in packages for garbage, pet waste or leaf removal.

Collected taxes may be used for environmental cleanup; providing educational programs designed to reduce environmental waste, mitigating pollution and litter; or for providing reusable bags to benefit recipients of either Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC).

Last year, after the state law passed, we asked readers if Arlington should enact the bag tax. About 57% of more than 2,000 respondents to our unscientific online poll said yes.

Today, we’re wondering if the bag tax will change your behavior — which, after all, is its primary goal. Specifically, do you plan to use fewer single-use plastic bags as a result of the new tax?

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Christmas tree set for curbside collection (via Arlington County)

Those who decorated for Christmas with real trees this year can have their festive fire hazards collected by the county starting next week.

From Monday, Jan. 3 through Friday, Jan. 14, residents can place trees at their curb for pickup. The trees should be curbside “no later than 6 a.m. on your regular trash collection day after removing ALL decorations, nails, stands. Do not place trees in plastic bags,” according to the county.

Trees collected these two weeks will be turned into free mulch that locals can pick up from the Solid Waste Bureau’s Earth Products Yard in Shirlington (4300 29th Street S.) or at the corner of 26th Street N. and Yorktown Blvd.

“Make sure the tree is bare and ready for composting,” the county says. “Trees over 8 feet long will need to be dismantled.”

After Friday, Jan. 14, Christmas trees can be put on the curb as part of the county’s year-round yard waste collection.

Arlington residents who don’t have regular curbside pickup —  including folks who live in townhomes, apartments and condominiums — can bring their live Christmas trees to the Earth Products Yard in Shirlington.

The county asks those looking to drop off their trees to call (703) 228-5000 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule a weekday appointment. Proof of residence in Arlington is required for drop off.

DES also has a guide for reducing holiday waste, including how to dispose of tissue paper and bows and what Christmas decor can’t go into blue bins.

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Morning Notes

Signs for the I-395 Express Lanes (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Gift Wrap Recycling FYI — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Unfun Post-Holiday Fact: If wrapping paper has a thick glossy finish, it can’t go in the blue recycling bin. Same for anything with glitter.” [Twitter, Arlington County]

More Big Lines at County Testing Sites — “Walk-in #COVID19 tests at County @curative kiosks may not be available due to holiday volumes and weather-related shipping delays. Appointments are strongly encouraged.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Testing at Pharmacy Snarls Traffic — “Scanner: ACPD responding to Preston’s Pharmacy at 5101 Langston Blvd for reports of traffic issued caused by Covid testing.” [Twitter]

N. Va. Lagging D.C. in Test Options — “Shortages in COVID-19 testing availability have become acute lately, as the highly contagious omicron variant surges and area residents scramble to get tested before and after holiday gatherings. In Northern Virginia, where free public testing availability has frequently lagged behind the options in D.C., capacity is particularly strained.” [DCist]

ACFD Ambulances Dispatched to Maryland — From public safety watchdog Dave Statter: “Not sure what’s going on right now in Prince George’s County (I imagine @PGFDNews is slammed on the EMS side), but recently heard @ArlingtonVaFD’s Medic 105 sent to Hillcrest Heights.” [Twitter, Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Today it will be mostly cloudy with a high near 56 and a slight rain chance in the afternoon. Sunrise at 7:26 a.m. and sunset at 4:54 p.m. Tomorrow expect light rain throughout the day, with a low of 47 and a high of 54. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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Morning Notes

Running Store Coming to Pentagon City — “Federal Realty Investment Trust has leased the last bit of vacant retail space at Westpost, the 14-acre mixed-use development a short walk from where Amazon.com Inc.’s new headquarters buildings will stand. The leases put the roughly 297,000-square-foot retail center on course to be fully occupied in the first half of 2022 after a handful of notable vacancies, including the nearly 34,000-square-foot former Bed, Bath & Beyond to be replaced by a Target store, and the roughly 4,500-square-foot space where Road Runner Sports will replace a shuttered Unleashed by Petco.” [Washington Business Journal]

Library Seeking Latino History Donations — “Over the last three decades, Arlington’s Latino community has rapidly grown and stockpiled a wealth of history. And this week, librarians and historians at the Center for Local History at Arlington Public Library are asking for donations of documents to archive the county’s Hispanic history. The project is called Re-Encuentro de Arlington Latinos.” [WTOP]

Rock Climbing Gym Goes Green — “Earth Treks Crystal City prides itself as a rock climbing outlet for people living in a metropolitan area and the business in northern Virginia hopes its roots in rock climbing can bring forward better environmental practices… Earth Treks announced recently its partnership with a Virginia company that allows its climbers to bring in old and rundown equipment — shoes, water bottles and harnesses — which will be reused in a variety of ways, including to make dog harnesses.” [WUSA 9]

Synetic Returns to Theater — “Last night night found me in Crystal City, where Synetic Theater was back in its performance venue for the first time since the pandemic, staging a production of ‘The Madness of Poe…’ Performers were not masked, a nice change after recent experiences with a number of troupes who use Arlington Public Schools facilities and are not allowed to let their actors, though all vaccinated, go without masks.” [Sun Gazette]

New Commuter Bus Service Funded — “The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission plans to fund a new express bus service, part of efforts aimed at reducing congestion connected with Interstate 66 and the Beltway. The commission approved a plan yesterday to fund the bus service with over $5.1 million for two years. Routes would run from the Reston South Park and Ride lot to key destinations in Arlington County that include the Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal City.” [Reston Now]

More Studies for Route 7 Bus Route — “A regional study of the proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) route from Tysons to Alexandria is moving into a new phase that will assess options through the Seven Corners area. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission voted last night (Thursday) to approve a contract for the fourth phase of its Envision Route 7 mobility analysis study.” The bus might also make a stop at the East Falls Church Metro station in Arlington. [Tysons Reporter]

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A past E-CARE event (via Arlington County)

Arlington County will host the latest iteration of its biannual E-CARE event this weekend, offering locals a chance to dispose of hazardous materials and other stuff from around the house.

Locals can bring approved items to the drop-off site at 1425 N. Quincy Street, across from Washington-Liberty High School, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9.

“No E-CARE was held in 2020 for COVID-19 safety,” the county noted in a press release. “This spring, a scaled-down version still collected almost 95 thousand pounds of household hazardous materials (HHM) and 26 thousand pounds of used electronics, dropped off by 1,870 Arlington residents, a new record.”

“Returning for the first time since 2019, the group Bikes for the World will take bicycle donations for use as basic transportation overseas,” the press release added. “Also, back for Oct. 9: a special collection area dedicated to metal item recycling.”

In addition to bikes, electronics and small metal items, the following items will be accepted at drop-off:

  • Automotive fluids
  • Batteries
  • Car care products
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Corrosives (acids/caustics)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flammable solvents
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Fuels/petroleum products
  • Household cleaners
  • Lawn and garden chemicals
  • Mercury
  • Paint products (25-can limit)
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Poisons (pesticides)
  • Printer ink/toner cartridges
  • Propane gas cylinders (small hand-held or larger)
  • Swimming pool chemicals

Also being collected: “household devices containing mercury (thermostats, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, manometers, barometers, hygrometers and liquid mercury)” as well as compact fluorescent lights.

The following will not be accepted.

  • Asbestos
  • Explosives and ammunition
  • Freon
  • Medical wastes
  • Prescription medications
  • Radioactive materials
  • Smoke detectors

Residents are asked to place hazardous materials and electronics in separate cardboard boxes for easy handling and to prevent spills. The cardboard boxes will then be recycled.

Participants will also be required to wear masks and stay in their cars as crews unload the items.

This event is only for Arlington residents. Commercial waste is not accepted. Participants will be asked to verify their residency at the event.

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We’re now in week two of food scrap collection in Arlington.

If you receive Arlington County’s residential trash collection service, then you can now place compostable items in your green organics cart instead of the trash. Earlier this summer the county distributed a countertop caddy and compostable bags to residential collection customers as a way to collect food scraps in the home.

(Apartment and condo residents who receive private collection service can drop off food scraps at designated locations.)

Examples of items that can be composted include:

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Meats, including bones, and old meat grease (sopped up with a paper towel)
  • Dairy products and eggshells
  • Breads
  • Coffee grounds, paper coffee liners and tea leaves (but not tea bags)

Food and beverage containers that are marked as compostable, some of which actually contain a plastic lining, should be kept out and placed in the trash instead, officials previously said.

For those who still have questions about how to best go about collecting and disposing of food scraps, a dedicated county web page has answers and a new county-produced video, below, also offers tips. Among them: place a paper towel at the bottom of the bag to soak up liquids, and be sure to wash the caddy with soap and water regularly.

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Morning Notes

Pupatella Gets Millions for Expansion — “Arlington’s own Pupatella pizza restaurant chain has raised $7.5 million to continue its growth spurt, with plans to open more more than a dozen restaurants in the coming years. The round was fully subscribed and had participation from almost all of the investors who participated in the company’s first round in 2018, when it raised $3.75 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

Steel from WTC Donated to Arlington — “Two pieces of steel from the World Trade Center will now be on permanent display in D.C. and Virginia ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. The words ‘never forget’ are written on the front of a piece of steel beam unveiled during a ceremony in front of the Arlington County Police Officer Memorial on Sunday.” [WTOP]

Crystal City Getting Cooler? — “Nearly three years after Amazon announced it would be bringing its second headquarters to Arlington — and specifically to ‘National Landing,’ a name conjured by local officials to sell the area as a tech hub — its reputation may be changing.” [Washington Post]

Big Win for Fmr. Youth Soccer Star — “Congratulations to #TeamArlington alum [Eryk Williamson] and the @usmnt on winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup.” [Twitter, ALXnow]

Food Scrap Caddy Being Delivered — “With Arlington’s weekly food scraps collection program launching next month, a County-provided countertop caddy, instructions and even introductory biodegradable bags will be delivered to curbside customer homes beginning this week.” [Arlington County]

Fire Engine Involved in Crash — “An Arlington fire engine was involved in a crash at the intersection of 18th Street S. and S. Fern Street this morning around 9:30. No firefighters were injured. One person in the second vehicle involved was taken to the hospital but is expected to be okay, per an ACFD spokesman.” [Twitter]

CPRO to Mark 35th Anniversary — “As the group’s 35th anniversary looms on the horizon this fall, the recent annual meeting of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) was a chance to take stock of tumultuous times and fly the organization’s flag in the march toward the future.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Poetry Book — “I picked up a copy of the ‘Written in Arlington: Poems of Arlington, Virginia’ edited by Katherine E. Young, our poet laureate emerita. Published quietly last fall during the pandemic, it showcases storytelling via 150 poems by 87 poets who ‘live, work, study, worship in or simply pass through… and in so doing, make Arlington their own,’ Young explains. She nodded to famous Arlington-based poets — George Washington Parke Custis, Doors singer Jim Morrison, and Zitkala-Sa.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) If hazardous materials and old electronics have been piling up around your Arlington home, help is on the way.

Arlington County is relaunching its biannual Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) after an extended pandemic hiatus. The event is scheduled to return on Saturday, May 22, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at 1425 N. Quincy Street, across from Washington-Liberty High School

The twice-yearly event usually allows residents to dispose of their hazardous household materials, electronics, and large metal objects — though metal is out this go-round.

“They won’t be taking bikes and big/small metal things, from ducts to frying pans,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin. “Maybe by the fall.”

(An appointment-only drop-off at the Earth Products Yard near Shirlington remains an option for smaller metal scrap.)

E-CARE is only available for personal use — businesses and commercial waste should be disposed of elsewhere. Residents are also encouraged to combine their scrap to reduce total trips.

Accepted materials listed on the County website include:

  • Automotive fluids
  • Batteries
  • Car care products
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Corrosives (acids/caustics)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flammable solvents
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Fuels/petroleum products
  • Household cleaners
  • Lawn and garden chemicals
  • Mercury
  • Paint products (25-can limit)
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Poisons (pesticides)
  • Printer ink/toner cartridges
  • Propane gas cylinders (small hand-held or larger)
  • Swimming pool chemicals

There are some limits, however, so be sure to leave your spare plutonium and uranium at home.

  • Asbestos
  • Explosives and ammunition
  • Freon
  • Medical wastes
  • Prescription medications
  • Radioactive materials
  • Smoke detectors

Electronics can be collected curbside on weekdays by special request submitted online, and can also be dropped off at the Electronic Collection and Recycling Center at Water Pollution Control Plant Gate 3 (531 31st Street S.).

Photo via Arlington County

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