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More many in Arlington, the Friday after Thanksgiving is an off day, often spent with family and friends (or braving the malls).

For others — including those with jobs that don’t take holidays off and those whose jobs only take official federal holidays or major holidays off — it’s a work day like any other.

Today we’re wondering: what’s the split? How many Arlingtonians worked on Black Friday vs. enjoyed an off day?

Photo by Burst on Unsplash

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Happy Thanksgiving, Arlington!

Thanksgiving wishes at Arlington Auto Care in 2012 (photo by Katie Pyzyk)

It’s turkey time.

Thanksgiving Eve is upon us and extra revelry can be expected at some local bars tonight, ahead of the holiday. Please be careful on the roads and aware of county closures over the next couple of days.

The ARLnow team is signing off a bit early but will be back in the event of breaking news. We may also publish a couple of articles on Black Friday, depending on what there is to report.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, Arlington! We are thankful for your continued readership and support.

P.S. We are also thankful to the dozens of people who have ordered Arlington Gondoliers gear, generating nearly $600 to help fund our local reporting. Check out the t-shirt and hoodie of Arlington’s favorite fake football team. And a very special shout out to whoever ordered the throw pillow.

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Recycling collection in Arlington (photo courtesy Arlington County)

The Thanksgiving holiday will mean closures of county facilities.

Arlington courts, libraries, community centers, vaccine clinics and government offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday. Thursday will also be a rare weekday off day for hard-working trash collection crews, who will resume collections a day delayed on Friday and Saturday.

Additionally, parking meters will not be enforced during the holiday.

From the county website:

Arlington County Government offices and services are operating on modified schedules for the Thanksgiving holiday, Thur., Nov 24, and Fri., Nov. 25, 2022.

Trash/Recycling/Yard Waste Curbside Routes – No collection Thursday. Thursday routes run on Friday, Nov. 25; Friday routes run on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Parking – Permit parking is always in effect unless specifically noted on the sign. Meters are not enforced on holidays.

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Traffic on I-395 looking south as the sun sets on Thanksgiving Eve in 2019 (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Thanksgiving week is here and, based on past polls, that means about 45% of you are traveling.

Our 2015 morning poll on the topic found that most local Thanksgiving travelers — about 75% — will do so by car, while 20% will travel by plane.

With that in mind, we have three key tips for Thanksgiving road and air travelers.

1. If driving, leave earlier or later in the day

Expect plenty of traffic if you’re planning to drive to your destination on Wednesday, but you can avoid some of it by leaving earlier in the morning or later at night. The same applies for those driving back on Saturday or Sunday.

“Based on the traffic data, periods of heavy congestion are most likely to occur from mid-morning to evening on Wednesday, Nov. 23, afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 26, and all day on Sunday, Nov. 27,” said a VDOT press release last week.

Based on a VDOT map of past travel trends, there is likely to be a fair amount of traffic in and out of Northern Virginia on Tuesday as well, particularly around the evening rush hour.

VDOT will be suspending most work zones and lane closures from Nov. 23-28, but that will only marginally ease the traffic onslaught.

2. Reserve your airport parking now

If you’re flying out of Reagan National Airport and planning to drive there, parking is currently widely available in all three lots.

However, you’re unlikely to find much — if any — parking by the time Wednesday rolls around. Fortunately, as of publication, online reservations were still available for Terminal 2 and economy parking.

DCA parking availability as of Nov. 21, 2022

Meanwhile, if you’re flying out of Dulles International Airport, don’t forget that the new Silver Line extension to Dulles is now open.

3. Drive carefully (and if you don’t, State Police might stop you)

With so many people on the roads, sometimes after having a few drinks, Thanksgiving weekend is sadly a time of many serious crashes nationwide.

That’s why authorities regularly encourage drivers to be extra careful this time of year.

Virginia State Police announced this morning that it would be conducting extra patrols and enforcement for Thanksgiving. More from a press release, below.

For many Virginians, gathering with family and friends is the true meaning for Thanksgiving. Some will even travel long distances to share in these wonderful family moments. Just as important as it is to make sure those pies and casseroles make it to the dinner table safely, motorists need to make their own safety a priority, as well. Virginia State Police is reminding all drivers and passengers of all ages to buckle up this holiday weekend. Preliminary data show that 54% of those who have died in traffic crashes this year were not wearing a seatbelt or safety restraint.*

“The fact that more than half of those who have lost their lives in traffic crashes this year were not wearing a seatbelt is a tragic and inexcusable reality for Virginia,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Your family wants you to arrive safely and clicking a seatbelt can help that happen. Virginia State Police and your loved ones want you to arrive at your destination safely – ditch distractions, comply with posted speed limits, never drive buzzed or drunk, and, again, always buckle up.”

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Mark Riley as Chief Turkey (photo courtesy of Arlington Turkey Trot)

Arlington Forest native Mark Riley has been managing the Arlington Turkey Trot for a decade and enjoys being called “Chief Turkey.”

“It’s fun. And if you are having fun, you can do great things,” Riley (or Chief Turkey) told ARLnow. “If you are not having fun, it’s very difficult to get people to want to do anything.”

The annual Thanksgiving 5K is set to take place on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 8 a.m. this year, starting on N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park. The race is likely returning to the course — through the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights neighborhoods — that was run prior to the pandemic, per the event’s website.

Wherever this year’s race may trot through, Riley plans to be there donning a turkey costume as he has since 2013.

“This community loves to get together in a festive, heartening, helpful, friendly, joyous atmosphere. [The turkey trot] has become a tradition in Arlington County over the years,” Riley said. “People keep coming over, over, and over again. They bring their kids. Then, the kids who grow up bring their kids. And it just keeps going on and on.”

The Arlington Turkey Trot was first started in 2006 by Christ Church of Arlington Pastor Brian Webster and his wife Diane. That first run had about 300 joggers, runners, and walkers. This year’s race is expected to attract about 4,000 trotters and raise about $120,000 for assorted local charities, equivalent to pre-pandemic numbers.

Riley said that initially the trot only supported a few organizations, but last year they expanded the number of charities that received funds to 18. Those include Path Forward, Arlington Thrive, R.E.A.D., Phoenix Bikes, and others.

“A number of nonprofits, typically smaller budgeted non-profits, have been knocking on [our] door to say we want to be included,” said Riley. “We did not know how to say no to any of them. So, we included them all.”

For his work over the years, Riley is being presented with a “Spirit of Community” award by the Arlington Community Foundation next week. The acknowledgment had him “tearing up,” he said because it’s a reminder of how passionate the community is about helping others.

There was some gobbling that Riley may be hanging up his feathers as the Chief Turkey after this year’s race, but he said those rumors are fowl.

Yes, 2021 was particularly tough due to the lingering impact of Covid and a shortage of police officers, but this year has proven ​​Riley still has the energy of a poult. With a bit of extra support and taking on fewer tasks, he said that the plan is to keep on gobbling as Chief Turkey “for the foreseeable future.”

Besides being able to provide for those less fortunate in the community, what Riley really loves about the trot is seeing the joy it brings so many people. On often-chilly Thanksgiving mornings, watching families run together and kids darting across the finish line fills him with warm feelings.

Adding to the good vibes, every kid that finishes gets a medal.

“The thing that really resonates for [me] when I think of the trot is… joy. I think of joy probably more than anything else,” Riley said. “People who have big, joyous smiles on their faces. They love the turkey trot.”

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(Updatedat at 1:40 p.m.) The Thanksgiving weekend was not much of a holiday for Arlington County police.

In two separate incidents in Rosslyn and Pentagon City, on Thursday and Friday respectively, drunk men allegedly bit and assaulted ACPD officers.

The first incident, just before noon on Thanksgiving, took place on the 1500 block of Wilson Blvd, the same block as the Target store. An intoxicated man who was making threats inside an unspecified business was taken into custody and proceeded to kick and try bite officers, according to police. He also declined to identify himself and police still do not know his name.

On Friday night, police faced off with another intoxicated man, this time in the area of the Pentagon City mall. The 26-year-old Maryland resident allegedly bit and spat at officers after being taken into custody for refusing to leave a closed business.

More details from an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2021-11250093, 1500 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 11:51 a.m. on November 25, an officer on patrol was flagged down by employees of a business for the report of a suspect allegedly making threats. A lookout was broadcast, and, while en route to the call, another officer observed the suspect nearby and detained the visibly intoxicated individual. Employees of the business declined prosecution for the threats and wished to have him banned from the premises; however, the suspect was placed under arrest for being drunk in public. When officers attempted to search the suspect incident to arrest, he actively resisted, kicking an officer and their patrol vehicle. The suspect then attempted to bite an officer multiple times as he wrapped his legs around them and continued to actively resist. Officers attempted to continue to search the suspect on the ground, and he continued to resist by kicking and flailing, striking an officer and causing a laceration. The suspect refused to identify himself and attempts to determine his identity were unsuccessful. John Doe was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Law Enforcement (x2), Obstruction of Justice, and Drunk in Public, and held on no bond.

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2021-11260168, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 10:16 p.m. on November 26, police were dispatched to assist with the removal of an intoxicated individual inside a closed business. Upon arrival, officers made contact with the individual and attempted to have him leave the property. The individual was uncooperative and as the officers attempted to place him into custody, he ran and fell a short distance away. Once in custody, the individual continued to act disorderly and spat at the officers. While being transported to an area hospital for medical clearance prior to booking, he bit an officer’s finger. Upon arrival at booking, he refused to exit the transport vehicle and had to be carried inside. [The suspect], 26, of Landover, MD, was arrested and charged with Assault on Police (x2), Obstruction, Drunk in Public and served with an outstanding warrant out of Fairfax County, VA.

Separately, police said in a crime report today that an intoxicated suspect arrested in Crystal City on Monday evening kicked officers.

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2021-11290183, 3500 block of S. Ball Street. At approximately 5:00 p.m. on November 29, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute. Upon arrival inside the residential building, officers made contact with the male suspect and attempted to detain him but he began acting disorderly and actively resisted arrest. A brief struggle ensued, during which the suspect was taken into custody; however, he continued to act disorderly and kicked one of the officers. The investigation determined that the female victim was with the suspect when she heard him allegedly make threats to harm her while on the phone with another individual. During the course of the investigation, the suspect provided officers what was later determined to be a false identity. [The suspect], 28, of Forestville, Md., was arrested and charged with Drunk in Public, Threatening Language Over a Phone, Obstruction of Justice, Assault & Battery on Police, and Identity Theft.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Arlington!

It’s late on a Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you’re starting to get ready for a Wednesday night out at the bars with your fellow locals. Or mentally preparing for a long day of parades, football, cooking, eating and dishwashing with family.

Whatever you’re doing, ARLnow hopes you have a fun and safe Thanksgiving. Lest anyone forget, here are some turkey frying safety tips from ACFD:

Cooking safety aside, we were also wondering around Covid safety.

Though our planned morning poll on the topic got preempted by the unexpected Ballston development news, we’ll ask it now: given that vaccines are widely available, but the virus is still infecting people, how has the pandemic affected your Thanksgiving plans this year?

ARLnow will not be publishing tomorrow unless there’s major breaking news. We’ll have a lighter-than-normal publishing schedule for Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Arlington County government headquarters in Courthouse

Most county operations and services, including COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, will be closed or operating on a limited schedule for the Thanksgiving holiday on both Thursday and Friday.

County government offices, courts, community centers and libraries will all be closed both on Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26.  The Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center will also be shuttered, and COVID-19 vaccinations and testing at county facilities will be paused.

Arlington County schools are closed today, as well as Thursday and Friday for the holiday.

Metered parking won’t be enforced on either day, providing Thanksgiving diners and Black Friday shoppers another thing to be thankful about.

Trash, recycling, and yard waste collection will not happen on Thanksgiving, though it will resume on Friday. Thursday routes will be run on Friday and Friday routes will be run Saturday, Nov. 27.

Arlington Transit (ART) buses will operate on a holiday schedule on Thursday, meaning many lines won’t be running. Friday will operate under the Saturday bus schedule.

Metro will be running on Thanksgiving, though at an even further reduced service level due to the pulling of the 7000 series cars after last month’s derailment.

Parking will be free, however, at all Metro-owned garages and lots.

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Morning Notes

An airplane taxis after landing at Reagan National Airport (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Calling 911 Over Leaf Blowers — Writes a former Arlington County 911 dispatcher, regarding a recent ARLnow opinion column about leaf blower noise: “Hard hitting stuff coming out of ArCo, as always. I remember taking a 911 call once where the caller complained about this very issue and, in an effort to get police dispatched, called his neighbour’s leaf-blower a ‘violent weapon.’ This county is truly deranged.” [Twitter]

New Drug Recovery Resource — “For individuals having difficulty with substance use, the first step to a better life involves withdrawing  from alcohol or drugs. The new Arlington Recovery Center – a partnership between the County and National Capital Treatment and Recovery (NCTR) – is ready to help people with that journey. Arlington Recovery Center opened its doors this year and includes both Withdrawal Management and Early Recovery programs.” [Arlington County]

Book About Arlington House’s Builder — “Arlington journalist, historian and author Charles S. (‘Charlie’) Clark recently penned ‘George Washington Parke Custis: A Rarefied Life in America’s First Family.’ The book chronicles the complicated life of Custis (1781-1857), who was raised at Mount Vernon – he was the grandson of Martha Washington and step-grandson of George Washington – and in adulthood was responsible for the construction of the Arlington House estate using both free and enslaved workers.” [Sun Gazette]

VHC Expanding With McLean Building — “Virginia Hospital Center is charging ahead with its campus expansion while growing its ambulatory footprint — starting with a $34.5 million purchase in McLean. The Arlington health system has purchased a building at 1760 Old Meadow Road where it’s setting up an orthopedic outpatient surgery center, according to VHC CEO Jim Cole. The hospital is now renovating a 14,900-square-foot area of existing building in a project expected to cost $6.4 million including construction and equipment.” [Washington Business Journal]

Crossing Guard Spreads Thanksgiving Cheer — From Williamsburg Middle School Principal Bryan Boykin: “Mr. La is bringing a little holiday flavor to his traffic duties,” thanks to a large turkey costume. [Twitter]

New Tech Repair Store in Pentagon City — “Leading tech repair provider uBreakiFix by Asurion has opened its newest location in Pentagon City at 1101 S. Joyce St., Suite B-12 on Pentagon Row. The store offers professional repair services for anything with a power button, from smartphones, tablets, and computers to game consoles, smart speakers, and drones-and everything in between.” [Press Release]

Officials Urge Caution on the Roads — “The American Automobile Association predicts that 1.4 million Virginians will travel for this Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, which equates to 11 percent more motorists than in 2020. Virginia State Police urge patience for motorists planning to hit the roadways. ‘With traffic on the roads increasing and many people anxious to get to their destination, I encourage all Virginians to be patient. Buckle up and take your time,’ said Col. Gary Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Wednesday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 47. Sunrise at 7:01 a.m. and sunset at 4:48 p.m. Thanksgiving day will be mostly sunny, with a high near 55. Showers early Friday morning, then mostly sunny, with a high near 46. We will not be publishing Thursday but will be back with a light publishing schedule on Friday.

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Covid cases in Arlington as of 11/23/21 (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

The average rate of new daily Covid cases in Arlington has risen more than 50% between early November and now, two days before Thanksgiving.

As locals prepare for feasts and family gatherings, Covid has rebounded from its seasonal low of about 20 cases per day earlier this month. The seven-day moving average now stands at 32 cases per day, though that is still well below Arlington’s Delta wave peak of 48 cases per day, reached in mid-September.

The bump in cases — Arlington currently has “substantial” community transmission of the virus, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health — is nonetheless a reminder that Covid is still spreading, after a relatively quiet first half of the summer that was set against the backdrop of a steep rise in vaccinations.

With 81.5% of the population having received at least one dose, the county is now focused on booster shots for adults and recently-authorized vaccine shots for younger children.

The relatively high vaccination rate has helped to tamp down severe illness in Arlington.

So far this month in Arlington there have been 615 new cases, but only 12 Covid-related hospitalizations and four deaths have been reported, according to VDH data.

Local, state and federal authorities are urging anyone gathering for the upcoming holidays to take health precautions.

“Public Health leaders in the Northern Virginia region — including Arlington County — are encouraging residents to maintain their vigilance in preventing the spread of COVID-19 this fall and winter and throughout the holiday season,” Arlington County said in an email last night. “Getting vaccinated, washing your hands, and taking travel precautions are just a few of the ways to enjoy a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.”

“Although Northern Virginia localities have some of the highest vaccination rates in the state — 73% of Arlington’s adult population is fully vaccinated — there is still Substantial Community Transmission in Arlington,” the county’s email added. “We must remain vigilant to protect those who are not eligible for vaccination and those at higher risk for serious illness.”

Thanksgiving health “recipe” (via Arlington County)

Nationally, about two-thirds of Americans plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends or family outside of their immediate households, according to a recent Axios poll.

The poll also found that Americans are less worried about the health impacts of such gatherings.

“This year, 31% see a large or moderate risk in seeing friends or family for Thanksgiving — way down from 64% a year ago,” Axios reported.

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Morning Notes

Construction cranes for Amazon HQ2 tower over Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Initial Plan Filed for Americana Site — “JBG Smith has filed a conceptual site plan application with Arlington County for 1400 Richmond Highway [the Americana hotel site in Crystal City], proposing a by-right 19-story building with 650 residential units above retail. There will also be 325 parking spaces across two below-grade parking levels.” [UrbanTurf]

Apartment Fire in Ballston — A fire broke out in the kitchen of a fourth floor apartment at the View at Liberty Center building in Ballston yesterday evening. The fire was extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system, but water damage was reported in the apartments and ground floor retail space below. The incident prompted a large fire department response and closed lanes on Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street. [Twitter]

Vax Rate Lags Among Younger Adults — “Pleading, cajoling, finger-wagging and threatening still don’t seem to be doing the trick in getting the 24-to-34-year-old age group in Arlington on board with COVID vaccinations. Data last week show that while 71 percent of county residents in that age group have received at least one jab of the vaccine… Countywide, just under 79 percent of 223,000 Arlington residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose.” [Sun Gazette]

Thanksgiving 5K Along N. Pershing Drive — “The Arlington Turkey Trot 16th Annual 5k Fun Run will take place on Thursday, November 25, 2021. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.” [ACPD]

Arlington Gets Perfect LGBT Equality ScoreUpdated at 8 a.m. — “Arlington garnered a 100-percent rate in the 10th annual Municipal Equality Index, reported by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The average score for 11 major localities in Virginia was 88 on a zero-to-100 scale, compared to a national average of 67. Arlington was among 110 communities earning a perfect rating, up from 11… when the survey debuted.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Woes Extend to 2022 — “Metro customers can expect to see current (reduced) rail service levels through December 31, Metro announced today.  With no timeline established to return the 7000-series fleet in the interest of safety, and 6000-series railcars awaiting parts due to global supply chain challenges, incremental service improvements will be made during December as parts arrive for older model railcars.” [WMATA]

Snow Possibility in Forecast — From the Capital Weather Gang: “DC first flakes? Watching possibility of disturbance/clipper passing thru cold air Sun-Mon timeframe. It could shift or fizzle and probably not a big deal even if it hits, but first feature this season we’re watching with some curiosity.” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Sunny today, with a high near 43. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Sunrise at 7 a.m. and sunset at 4:49 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 47. [Weather.gov]

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