A fire on the eve of Thanksgiving has damaged well-known local restaurant Caribbean Grill.
The fire broke out around 11 p.m. inside the restaurant at 5183 Lee Highway, according to fire officials. It was “caused by hot coals that fell out of [a] grill on to combustibles nearby.”
A large fire response was dispatched, but the fire was quickly extinguished and only minor damage — including smoke damage — was reported. No one was injured. The restaurant filled with smoke and firefighters remained on scene to ventilate the structure afterward.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
A few more pics from tonight’s restaurant fire. No injuries. Fire Marshals are investigating. pic.twitter.com/EK2qXxyjBh
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
Wednesday night was a busy night for the Arlington County Fire Department. Around 7 p.m. last night, firefighters battled a brush fire in the woods on the 3000 block of N. Quincy Street, in the Dover Crystal neighborhood.
A fire department spokesman estimated that the fire, which was extinguished without incident, scorched about 400 square feet of woodlands.
#Breaking: Engine 103 & FM 113 were on scene of a brush fire in the 3000 block of N Quincy St. The 🔥 was extinguished & there was no extension into any dwellings. #AlwaysHere4U pic.twitter.com/NdZKvZyfG9
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
The day after Thanksgiving promises to be a busy one for the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, as it throws open its doors at 7 a.m. for Black Friday.
It marks the start of the Christmas shopping period across the country, and the mall here will be open until 9:30 p.m. for shoppers looking for deals.
Todd Jerscheid, director of marketing and business development, said anticipation is building for customers and mall employees alike.
“It’s like our Super Bowl Day, if you will. It’s a big day for us,” he said. “It’s where retailers really pull out all the stops and put their best foot forward, and not only supply great sales and promotions and that sort of thing, but it’s also offering that customer experience and welcoming shoppers in during the holiday.”
Jerscheid said customers can expect a slightly slower start to the morning — fewer doorbuster shoppers — than in some other places that open early for Black Friday. But then by mid-morning, foot traffic really picks up.
“I’ve been here nine years, and we pretty much have a very good flow of traffic on Black Friday,” he said. “We are not an early-riser mall, like some malls that open really early in the morning. I would say from 11 a.m. on, the traffic becomes very heavy and then it goes on through the remainder of the evening.”
As in previous years, Jerscheid said the mall will offer its “Shopper Survivor Kit” for the first 100 people who visit Guest Services after opening. The kit has bottled water, coupons, samples and snacks, and is intended to encourage people to shop early in the day.
And the other offer, which Jerscheid said is a “pretty big hit,” is “Santa’s Grab Bag Giveaway.” If a shopper spends $150 or more between 7 and 9 a.m., they can reach into the grab bag and have a chance to win gift cards, prizes from retailers or even a free coffee at Starbucks.
That is in addition to the dozens of stores that will have sales and deals throughout Black Friday and the weekend, while the mall will have a special visitor for children of all ages.
“We can’t forget the big man in the red suit,” Jerscheid said. “He is definitely here. He arrived on November 18, and will be here for photos… Kids can also write a little letter electronically to Santa and send it up to the North Pole.”
ACPD Urges Vigilance at Malls, On Metro — “As the Holiday Season approaches, residents and visitors of Arlington County are asked to help protect their community by reporting suspicious activity to police for investigation. There are no known threats to Arlington County, however, the public is encouraged to remain vigilant, particularly in areas where large crowds of people typically gather such as shopping centers, restaurant districts, religious services, and public transportation hubs to name a few.” [Arlington County]
Thanksgiving Safety Tips — The Arlington County Fire Department is again sharing Thanksgiving cooking safety tips, especially for those using a turkey fryer. Meanwhile, the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services is reminding residents to avoid pouring “FOG” — fats, oils and grease — down the drain as it can resulte in pipe clogs. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
AHC Hosts Thanksgiving Meal for Residents — Earlier this week, local affordable housing provider AHC hosted Thanksgiving celebrations at six community centers. Per a press release, “AHC staff teamed up with dozens of volunteers to cook more than 30 turkeys, prepare side dishes, and help decorate community spaces for hundreds of residents to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast together.” [AHC Inc.]
Arlington an ‘All-Star’ for LGBTQ Protections — “Arlington County has again been named one of 41 American ‘All-Star Cities’ for its high standards of inclusiveness and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. Arlington scored 93 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI).” [Arlington County]
Turkey Trot 5K Road Closures — This year’s 12th annual Arlington Turkey Trot 5K will take place tomorrow (Thanksgiving) morning. A number of streets in the Lyon Park, Penrose and Ashton Heights neighborhoods will be closed between 7-10 a.m. as a result. [Arlington County]
Rosslyn Repositions Itself — “Once a hub for government agencies and 9-to-5 commuters, Rosslyn has transformed into a live-work-play destination for millennials. Media companies, consulting firms and financial services have set up shop in the submarket’s Class-A office buildings, drawn to amenities like fitness centers, games, roof decks and outdoor spaces.” [Bisnow]
The department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share the reminder: “Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time.”
More from ACPD:
Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes. As we approach the winter holiday season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement from November 20 to December 1, 2017.
According to NHTSA, during the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend, 301 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, and 53 percent were not their wearing seat belts at the time of the fatal crash. Nighttime proved even more deadly, with 57 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night. That’s why one focus of the 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.
To learn more about the campaign, visit the NHTSA website.
In a similar effort, Virginia State Police will be be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and not wearing seatbelts.
State police will have increased enforcement from tomorrow (Wednesday) through Sunday.
“Tragically, traffic fatalities are on the rise in Virginia,” Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, said in a statement. “We’ve seen an 11 percent increase over this time last year. With so many people estimated to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to help prevent crashes by driving smart, buckling up and never driving drunk or drugged. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday.”
And while traffic may be busy along the I-95 corridor, as it has been historically at this time of year, the Virginia Department of Transportation is trying to make life a little easier.
During the Thanksgiving travel period, VDOT will suspend most major highway work zones and lift lane closures on Virginia interstates and major streets from Wednesday through noon on Monday, November 27.
VDOT’s Thanksgiving traffic trends map shows that Tuesday evening and midday Wednesday are among the busiest times on Virginia highways for heading out of the D.C. area.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) November 15, 2017
Similarly, Metro has no scheduled track work on Thanksgiving Day, with trains and buses operating on a Sunday schedule. The system opens at 8 a.m., and will close at 11 p.m. On Friday, November 24, the system will be open on a normal weekday schedule.
Reagan National Airport is preparing for one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
Between Friday, November 17, and Tuesday, November 28, more than 28.5 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 3 percent from 2016, according to industry estimates.
Trade association Airlines for America said it expects the busiest travel days to be Sunday, November 26 and Wednesday, November 22, while the lightest is expected to be Thanksgiving Day.
Anyone travelling to and from the region’s airports can expect more congestion on the roads and inside the terminals, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
MWAA had the following tips for travelers, after the jump.
Plan before you go
- Pack smart –– Know your airline’s checked bag policies and fees, remember not to pack laptops and other devices with lithium ion batteries in your checked bags, leave gifts unwrapped and pack liquids you plan to carry on with you according to the 3-1-1 rule.
- Check with your airline –– Confirm your flight status and gate location before departing for the airport, and make sure you’re aware of airline policies regarding check-in times, boarding processes, fees and rebooking options.
Arrive your way
- Consider your options –– Reagan National and Dulles International are both accessible via car, taxi, ride share services and public transit. Reagan National is accessed directly by Metrorail on the Blue and Yellow lines while Dulles International is connected to the Silver line via the Washington Flyer Silver Line Express Choose the most convenient or most economical option for you and your family.
- Park with confidence –– Reagan National and Dulles International airports provide economy, daily and hourly parking options depending on the length of your travels. Keep in mind certain lots at Reagan National may fill up on peak travel days, so ensure you’re able to park by reserving a parking space in advance online.
- Leave early –– Allow for extra time getting to and through the airport, as holiday travel can cause backups on roadways and longer passenger queues throughout the terminal. The Airports Authority recommends arriving at the airport at least two hours before domestic departures and three hours before international departures.
Minimize your wait
- Prepare for new screening procedures –– The TSA is implementing new screening procedures in standard security lanes, which require passengers to remove electronic devices larger than a cell phone from carry-on baggage. The TSA also recommends placing food items in bins for easier screening. Pack your carry-ons accordingly by putting items like electronics, toiletries and food in easily accessible places.
- Enroll in a trusted traveler program –– Trusted traveler programs like TSA PreCheck and Clear provide passengers an easy alternative to standard screening procedures and speed-up the security screening process. If travelling abroad, consider enrolling in Global Entry or using Mobile Passport to expedite Customs processing upon your return.
Enjoy your journey
- Relax in our new restaurants –– A multi-year effort to transform the concessions offerings at Reagan National and Dulles International is almost complete. Check out locally inspired offerings like Ben’s Chili Bowl, The Burgundy & Gold Club and &pizza, along with national favorites like Chick-fil-A and Five Guys.
- Shop for those last minute gifts –– Give the gift of travel this holiday season by sharing new experiences with family and friends to one of many new nonstop destinations, or pick up one of the many items featured in the #FlyWashington magazine gift guide.
Family Still Searching for Missing Arlington Woman — Family and friends spent the weekend searching for Katherine Hawald, who went missing Thursday, last seen in Arlington. Volunteers checked places Hawald would hang out and handed out flyers, enlisting others to assist in the search effort. [Fox 5]
Veep Participates in Veterans Day Ceremony — Vice President Mike Pence participated in the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday. “From the hour of our nation’s birth, our best and bravest have stepped forward to defend our freedom,” Pence said. “And as we speak, a new generation of American veterans is being forged across the wider world.” [Dept. of Defense]
Millennials Moving Out = Lower Rents — “More millennials are leaving Greater Washington than moving in, and that could spell trouble for commercial real estate developers across the region. Those young professionals helped the region avoid oversaturation of new apartments, but the diminishing pool will likely shrink demand for those units, among other potential consequences.” [Washington Business Journal]
Which Restaurants Are Open on Thanksgiving — Those hoping to avoid the hassle of making a turkey at home have a few options for dining out in Arlington on Thanksgiving. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) ARLnow.com wishes you and yours a happy Thanksgiving weekend.
Except for regularly-scheduled features and breaking news, we will be not be publishing for the remainder of the weekend.
For those who are staying in town and participating in the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza, the Pentagon City mall has announced its extended holiday weekend hours:
- Thanksgiving: 6-11 p.m.
- Black Friday: 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
- Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Don’t forget that Saturday is Small Business Saturday — which reminds us to support local, independent retailers this holiday season.
Speaking of mixing holiday cheer and altruism with commerce, the charity-oriented Christmas tree sales around Arlington start this weekend, and on Tuesday Shirlington shopping center is holding its annual Light Up the Village event.
With that, feel free to use the comment section of this post to discuss any issue or news item of local interest this holiday weekend.
Racist Group Has Offices in Arlington — The National Policy Institute, a fringe white nationalist group that has gotten national media attention recently for a conference that culminated with Tila Tequila giving a Heil Hitler at a D.C. restaurant, has offices in Arlington. Asked about it, County Board members condemned the group but said “we have no standing to tell people who can and can’t be here.” [WTOP]
Remembering Arlington’s Racist Past — Arlington has not always been the welcoming, diverse community it is today. In 1968, for instance, Yorktown High School students protested outside of Washington Golf and Country Club in north Arlington, after the club refused to participate in interclub tennis matches with a black woman. Arlington was also once home to the headquarters of the American Nazi Party. [Falls Church News-Press]
Thanksgiving Bell Concert — The Netherlands Carillon near Rosslyn will play two special songs for Thanksgiving at noon and 6 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday). The Carillon plays automated concerts throughout the year but there are special performances for Dutch Liberation Day, V-J Day, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. [National Park Service, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
If you were planning to drive out of town for Thanksgiving this evening and haven’t left yet — good luck.
Highways are already crowding with heavy traffic around the D.C. area, particularly on some of the main routes leaving town: I-95, I-270 and I-66.
In fact, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving from 5 to 6 p.m. has “the lowest average travel speed on the interstates and other prime travel routes” in the D.C. area, according to the regional Transportation Planning Board.
VDOT, meanwhile, says that drivers should expect some of the heaviest Thanksgiving traffic between mid-morning and the evening on Wednesday.
County government offices, courts, libraries, schools, recreation centers and other facilities will be closed both days. Parking meters will not be enforced.
Among the things that will be open and running on Thanksgiving and Black Friday:
- Trash, recycling and vacuum leaf collection, on its normal schedule
- ART buses, on a Saturday schedule
- The county jail’s visiting hours, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Judging by the multiple Washington Post articles about it this year (and another from last year), it seems that some sizable percentage of the population is dreading their Thanksgiving dinner conversation following Donald Trump’s election.
Especially when the family is divided politically, such conversations can apparently go downhill fast.
Are you among those who cringe at the idea of Uncle Bob passing along his political views with the gravy and stuffing? Or is that not a concern for you?
Thanksgiving Travel in D.C. Area — More than 1 million D.C. area residents are expected to leave town for Thanksgiving, and 9 out of 10 of them will be traveling by car. The worst day and time for traffic in the region is expected to be next Tuesday afternoon. [Washington Post]
Arlingtonians Spend Big for the Holidays — The average Arlington household is expected to spend $1,741 celebrating the holidays, according to a new survey. That’s the highest expected holiday spending in the region and the 13th highest in the U.S. [InsideNova]
GMU Renames Building in Arlington — George Mason University’s Metropolitan Building in Virginia Square has been renamed for one of the school’s Nobel Prize laureates. The building will be renamed Vernon Smith Hall in a ceremony tomorrow (Friday). The university-owned building, at 3434 Washington Blvd, also houses the new Virginia DMV office. [George Mason University]
Beer Coming to Donut Shop — It’s a combination that would make Homer Simpson drool. Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia Pike has applied for a Virginia ABC permit to serve beer. The application was filed Nov. 7. No word yet on how soon the store may be offering cold brews to pair with its donuts.
Good Stuff Eatery Opening at DCA — Burger restaurant Good Stuff Eatery is opening a new location today in Arlington: specifically, at Terminal B of Reagan National Airport. [Good Stuff Eatery]
Students Win Video Contest — “A team of students from the Arlington Career Center has won the fifth annual student video challenge sponsored by the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA), taking home the top prize for the fourth year in a row.” [Arlington Public Schools]
In actuality, the Saturday before Christmas is usually the biggest shopping day of the year. And with Cyber Monday and e-commerce encouraging online shopping, and Small Business Saturday encouraging shoppers to support local businesses, Black Friday may be losing its luster.
We wanted to check with those who are actually heading out to the malls and shopping centers today: how big are the crowds?
Alternatively, if you had to head into work today instead of shopping — like us — there’s an option for you.
We’ll be back on Friday with local news coverage that you can perhaps read while standing in giant checkout lines at the mall.
In the meantime, get ready to enjoy a couple of days of free parking: metered parking and residential zone restrictions will not be enforced in Arlington on Thursday or Friday, according to the county’s list of holiday closures.
County offices, schools and courts will remain closed until Monday. Recreation centers will be closed Thursday and Friday, and will resume normal hours on Saturday.
ART buses will operate on a holiday schedule. Trash and recycling collection will not take a day off — it will go on as normal and cart off scores of turkey carcasses and other Thanksgiving dinner detritus as you sleep off your food coma.
Thanksgiving festivities will begin bright and early tomorrow when more than 4,000 runners, joggers and walkers hit the streets for the 10th Annual Turkey Trot 5K.
This also means the holiday will begin with road closures around the course.
The race begins at 8 a.m. at the Christ Church of Arlington at 3020 N. Pershing Drive. Police are working with race directors to divert traffic and ensure the course is safe.
According to the Arlington County Police Department, the following road closures will be in effect from 7-10 a.m. tomorrow:
- Pershing Drive from Washington Boulevard to N. Oxford Street
- N. Oxford Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N
- 5th Street N from N. Nelson Street to N. Oxford Street
- N. Nelson Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N
- Washington Blvd from 9th Street N to Arlington Blvd, eastbound lanes only
- N. Fillmore Street from 9th Street N to 3rd Street N
- 3rd Street N from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Blvd
- N. Bedford Street from Arlington Blvd to N. Brookside Drive
- N. Brookside Drive from N. Bedford Street to Washington Blvd
All roads west of N. Highland Street will close and reopen before those east, due to the direction participants will travel along the course. A detailed course map is available online.
Street parking will also be restricted in certain areas that morning, marked with temporary “No Parking” signs.
Photo courtesy of Arlington Turkey Trot