Tens of thousands of volunteers will again head to Arlington National Cemetery later this month to honor veterans’ graves with wreaths this holiday season.
The annual Wreaths Across America ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 16, as part of a nationwide effort by the nonprofit to lay wreaths at veterans’ gravesides.
Organizers hope to lay a wreath at all 245,115 veterans’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery. And according to its website, more than 29,000 volunteers have already committed to laying more than 196,000.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer can sign up online, and anyone wishing to donate to sponsor a remembrance wreath can do so, to honor a veteran, alive or dead, or to have a wreath placed at a specific marker.
The opening ceremony for the day of wreath-laying begins at 8:15 a.m. From the event website:
For those wanting to observe the arrival of the Wreath Truck Convoy, which will arrive at approximately 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, ANC will begin their screening process at 7 a.m. at the ANC Welcome Center. Those screened early will be directed to holding areas near the Opening Ceremony location which will be held in front of the Women In Military Service for America Memorial at the end of Memorial Drive starting at 8:15 a.m. All gates into Arlington Cemetery grounds will be opened to the general public at 8:30 a.m. after all Wreaths Convoy Trucks have been staged. Wreath placement will begin at 9:15 a.m.
If you are interested in attending, there will be special wreath layings conducted at the Columbarium at 10 a.m.; at the President William F. Taft Monument in Section 30 at 10:30 a.m.; at the President John F. Kennedy Memorial in Section 45 at 11 a.m.; at the USS Battleship Maine Monument in Section 24 at 11:30 a.m.; and a formal Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 12 p.m. (noon).
The cemetery’s welcome center garage will open at 7 a.m. that day, but only those with an authorized ANC Family Pass and vehicles with valid Handicap Permits will be allowed to park there. Metrorail will open at 7 a.m. that morning, and organizers are encouraging attendees to take the train to the Arlington National Cemetery Metro station instead of driving.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Residents Urged to Report Water Main Breaks — “With colder weather in the offing, Arlington government officials are asking the public to serve as a first line of defense against catastrophic water-main breaks… County residents who see a problem are asked to immediately call the 24-hour emergency hotline at (703) 228-6555.” [InsideNova]
Airbags, Doors Stolen from Car — Thieves broke a window of a car in a Crystal City apartment building parking lot overnight this past Friday and proceeded to steal two of its doors and the airbag. Police said it was “clearly the work of professionals.” [Fox 5]
Preserving the Arlington Woods — Ecologist Joan Maloof is working to preserve the remaining 12 acres of the once 600 acre Arlington Woods on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, along with other old-growth forests. [Washington Post]
Programs at Arlington County Jail — Inmates have access to a number of programs during their typically short stays at the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse, including English language training, special education, chaplain and library services. For some of the instructors, running their programs is just as rewarding for them as it is for the inmates. [Falls Church News-Press]
Glebewood Neighborhood Profiled — “When house hunters encounter the Glebewood neighborhood in Arlington County, they tend to express admiration for its location, schools, amenities and transportation. That the townhouses, duplexes, apartments and some single-family homes are reasonably priced for North Arlington only adds to the appeal.” [Washington Post]
Local affordable housing provider AHC Inc. is still seeking volunteers to work in its education programs ahead of school resuming next week.
Spaces are still available to help in AHC’s After-School and Teen Tutoring programs, which help educate young people from kindergarten through 12th grade.
In the After-School program, volunteers work with elementary school students to build literacy and math skills, and to help with homework. AHC asks for a commitment of one hour once a week between 4 and 6 p.m.
Teen Tutoring helps foster both academic and life skills to help teens graduate from high school and maximize their potential. Tutors are paired with one student during the school year, and meet for one hour once a week between 6 and 8 p.m.
There will be several orientation sessions in the coming days for both programs:
- September 6 – After-School Orientation, 6-7 p.m. (Gates of Ballston, 4108 4th Street N.)
- September 12 – Teen Tutoring Orientation, 6-7:30 p.m. (Gates of Ballston, 4108 4th Street N.)
- September 14 – Teen Tutoring Orientation, 6-7:30 pm (Gates of Ballston, 4108 4th Street, N.)
In addition to these schemes, AHC offers various others through its resident services program. Earlier this year, 15 high school graduates in the pilot year of its college mentoring program celebrated finishing the program and advancing into higher education.
For more information, potential volunteers should contact Cindy Rozon at [email protected].
Photo via AHC
Metro Delays This Morning — Updated at 9:25 a.m. — A disabled train outside of the Pentagon Metro station caused significant delays on the Blue and Yellow lines during part of this morning’s rush hour. Meanwhile, a signal problem outside of the Rosslyn station caused delays on the Orange and Silver lines at the tail end of the rush hour. [Washington Post, Twitter]]
Arlington Men Charged With Murder — Updated at 10:40 a.m. — Two young Arlington men have been arrested and charged with the fatal shooting of a Silver Spring man. Police say the Arlington men, ages 19 and 21, and a 19-year-old Maryland man went to the victim’s house to rob him of marijuana. [WTOP, Washington Post]
Crystal City Library to Remain Open For Another Year — The “popup” library in the Crystal City Shops will remain open through June 2018, Arlington County announced this morning. Newly-renamed landlord JBG Smith reached an agreement with the county to keep it open, according to a press release. [Arlington County]
ACPD Releases Video With Talking Dog — The first Arlington County Police Department video promoting an upcoming public safety block party has been released, and it’s “narrated” by one of ACPD’s K-9 units. A highly-anticipated video featuring ACPD officers doing synchronized swimming has yet to be released. [YouTube]
Volunteer Arlington Awards — Earlier this week, the group Volunteer Arlington handed out its 2017 Volunteer Arlington Awards, celebrating dedicated volunteers in categories like “lifetime of service award,” “distinguished corporate service award,” and “distinguished county service award.” [Volunteer Arlington]
Clever Signs at AWLA — A sign outside of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in Shirlington is using pop culture references to help build demand for pet adoptions at the shelter. The latest: “They want to watch Game of Thrones too.” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Homeless Population on the Rise in Arlington — “Most jurisdictions saw declines in homelessness from 2016, though the population… increased by 33 percent in Arlington County. Kathleen Sibert, the president and chief executive of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, noted that because Arlington has a relatively small homeless population, modest fluctuations can create dramatic-looking percentage increases or decreases.” [Washington Post]
More on New Rosslyn McDonald’s — The new state-of-the-art McDonald’s in Rosslyn has some food offerings not available elsewhere in D.C. It has an in-house bakery that serves fresh pastries; the other closest McDonald’s with a bakery is in New York City. Also, the restaurant will soon offer two special ice cream sundaes: turtle brownie and strawberry shortcake. [Rosslyn BID]
County Seeks Volunteers for ‘BioBlitz’ — “Arlington County is seeking dedicated volunteers to support its May 20 ‘BioBlitz,’ a quick-but-intense wilderness exploration that will produce a catalog of our natural holdings spotted within a 24-hour window. Think of it as a snapshot of the common-to-rare wildlife that can be found hiding in plain sight within our borders.” [Arlington County]
Drafthouse Continues to Critique Kennedy Center — Arlington Cinema Drafthouse owner Greg Godbout has penned another letter to customers that makes the case for why the Kennedy Center is competing unfairly for comedy acts. The letter also accuses the center of “lying” and a “cover up” after Godbout went public with his initial criticism. [Drafthouse Comedy]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
How to Fix a “Stuck” Homepage — A few users have been reporting that our homepage has been “stuck” for the past few weeks, frozen in time after March 31. This is a browser caching issue that is affecting a very small subset of users. To resolve it, press the “refresh” button on your browser.
Park Volunteers to Be Honored — Two Arlington residents will be recognized as “outstanding park volunteers” at tonight’s Arlington County Board meeting. This year’s honorees are Paul Holland and Yu-hsin Hsu. [Arlington County]
Two Added to Business Hall of Fame — Attorney and former County Board member John Milliken and former Arlington Chamber of Commerce president Rich Doud are being inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame on May 2. [InsideNova]
Video: Morning Activity at Trades Center — A time-lapse video shows the bustle of early morning activity at the Arlington Trades Center near Shirlington, where the county’s school buses and maintenance crews are based. [YouTube]
Flickr pool photo by GM and MB
Wakefield Boys Fall in State Tourney — An outstanding season for the Wakefield boys basketball team ended Friday when the Warriors fell to Bethel 62-56 in the state tournament quarterfinals. The Lady Warriors also lost in the state quarterfinals last week. [Twitter, Daily Press]
Logistics May Have Sunk St. Pat’s Bar Crawl — There’s no St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl in Clarendon this year, and the reason may be due to logistics, not lack of interest. Organizers might have been able to get bars on board and their permit applications in on time, one police official suggests. [CityLab]
Volunteers Needed to Bag Meals — The Clarendon United Methodist Church is seeking volunteers to help “pack 20,000 meals for distribution around the world” on Saturday. [InsideNova]
Lyon Park Mansion Auction Is Tonight — The huge “Pershing Manor” mansion at 3120 N. Pershing Drive is scheduled to hit the auction block at 5 p.m. tonight. The opening bid is $750,000, though the property is assessed at $4 million. [ARLnow, ARLnow]
McHenry Talks About Towing Spat — ESPN sportscaster Britt McHenry is opening up about the time she berated an Advanced Towing employee in Arlington — and was caught on camera doing so, in a video that would go viral around the world. McHenry says she regrets what she said during the 2015 incident. The fallout has hurt her both professionally and personally, she says. [Marie Claire]
Garvey’s Swearing In Ceremony — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey will be sworn in for her second full term today. The ceremony will take place in the County Board room (2100 Clarendon Blvd) at 5 p.m. It will feature remarks from Garvey and a poem from Arlington County Poet Laureate Katherine E. Young. [Arlington County]
Developers Want Gondola, Boathouse — At a Bisnow event in Pentagon City last week, local developers said they’re generally supportive of the proposed Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola, though they’d also be interested in a Rosslyn boathouse to connect with a local water taxi system. Rosslyn, they noted, has fewer opportunities to develop its waterfront than jurisdictions like Alexandria, Prince George’s County and D.C. [Bisnow]
Volunteers Needed for Wreath Laying — The group Wreaths Across America is seeking volunteers to help lay wreaths on gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. The holiday tradition will take place this coming Saturday morning. [Wreaths Across America]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
Average Paycheck Decreases — The average weekly paycheck in Arlington was $1,734 in the first quarter of 2016, down 0.2 percent compared to one year prior. Nationally, however, the average paycheck was down 0.5 percent. Arlington ranked in the top 10 of U.S. counties with the highest pay. [InsideNova]
New Media Venture Based in Clarendon — Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei’s next media venture is headquartered in Arlington. VandeHei, along with Politico’s Mike Allen and the publication’s former Chief Revenue Officer, are among those helping to found the venture, which has reportedly secured $10 million in financing and is said to be “a media outlet targeting corporate executives and other professionals with a mix of business and political news.” While Politico remains in Rosslyn, VandeHei’s new venture is based in MakeOffices in Clarendon. [Wall Street Journal]
Porn Discussion at DJO — Last night Bishop O’Connell High School hosted a public discussion, aimed at parents and teens, about “the effects of pornography on teenagers.” Today the founder of the website The Porn Effect will address DJO students and “present the reality behind pornography to the entire student body.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]
First Responders Cup This Weekend — The annual First Responders Cup fastpitch softball tournament will take place in Arlington this weekend. Among the participants, one team from Salem, Va. is paying tribute by wearing the name of fallen firefighters on the back of their jerseys. The players, who also wrote letters to the families of the firefighters, will be visiting Arlington’s Fire Station No. 5 near Pentagon City today. [WDBJ]
New Website for Chamber — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has launched a redesigned website. [Arlington Chamber]
AHC Seeking Volunteer Mentors — Updated at 2:15 p.m. — Affordable housing organization AHC Inc. is seeking volunteers to serve as mentors and tutors for middle- and high school students. Before the start of the school year, AHC provided backpacks filled with school supplies to more than 900 low-income, school-aged children living in its apartment communities. “Along with scores of generous individuals, several local organizations donated funds or supplies, including Arlington County Community Outreach, BM Smith, Boeing, The Reading Connection, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington,” AHC noted in a press release. [AHC Inc.]
County Backtracks on Uber Story — Arlington County is in the early stages of considering a plan to replace low-ridership ART service with some sort of partnership with ridesharing services, like Uber. However, the county is backtracking on an official’s statement that the service would be subsidized. “A recent press account quoted a County staff person as saying, incorrectly, that we will be subsidizing this service,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “No such decision has been made at this preliminary stage of analysis.” [Arlington County]
Advisory Group: Change Name of Jeff Davis Highway — An advisory group appointed by the City of Alexandria has recommended changing the name of Jefferson Davis Highway. Alexandria’s “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Confederate Memorials and Street Names” says the Confederate president’s name should be removed from Route 1 in the city. [Patch]
Ultimate Frisbee Vote — Arlington Public Schools is now the first school system in Virginia to make ultimate frisbee an official school sport. The Arlington School Board voted Thursday night to implement ultimate as a sport in middle and high schools, on an initial countywide budget of $90,000. [WTOP]
New ART Bus Route Launching Monday — The new ART 54 bus route will begin serving Dominion Hills, Madison Manor and East Falls Church on Monday. The new bus will run every 24 minutes on weekdays, during the morning and evening rush hours. [Arlington Transit]
Medicine Dispensing Exercise — Arlington residents are being encouraged to participate in the county health department’s mass medication dispensing exercise on Saturday. Volunteers are needed to form a crowd seeking medication (the county will be dispensing two types of candy during the exercise.) [ARLnow]
United Bank Purchasing Cardinal Bank — Two regional banks are coming together to form what may be the “most dominant community bank” in the D.C. area. United Bank, which has four Arlington branches, is purchasing Cardinal Bank, which has five Arlington branches. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Board to Consider Arts Grants — The Arlington County Board on Saturday is set to consider its latest round of annual grants to local arts organizations. Among the 18 organizations being allocated a portion of the $215,810 in financial support for the arts are the Arlington Arts Center ($20,547), Bowen McCauley Dance ($27,237), Encore Stage and Studio ($24,715) and Washington Shakespeare Company ($24,247). [Arlington County]
ACFD Says Thanks for Fire Staffing — The Arlington County Fire Department thanked residents yesterday for fully funding safe fire truck staffing levels and an additional peak-time medic unit with the county’s latest Fiscal Year 2017 budget. The new budget took effect July 1. [Twitter]
Landscapers Volunteer at Arlington National — A group of some 400 professional landscapers from around the country volunteered their time at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to help spruce up the grounds. The annual event is organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals. [WTOP]
Extended Construction Hours for Ballston Project — The County Board will consider a proposal by Marymount University and developer the Shooshan Company to temporarily extend the construction hours at the “Blue Goose” project in Ballston. The proposal would extend construction hours to 1:30 a.m. for eight weeks, to allow nighttime deliveries of construction materials that would otherwise require lane closures on Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive during the day. [InsideNova]
Lane Closures on GW Parkway — Expect single lane closures on the northbound GW Parkway, 2.5 miles north of Key Bridge, due to repair work on a stone wall along the Parkway. The closures will be in place from 8 p.m.-5 a.m. through Wednesday. [Patch]
Courthouse, Columbia Pike Developments Approved — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a 90-unit condominium building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse. The Board voted 4-1, with John Vihstadt voting against, after hearing objections from residents of the nearby Odyssey condo tower. Also on Saturday, the Board unanimously approved a 105-unit condo building on the Rappahannock Coffee site on Columbia Pike. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Plans Filed for New Affordable Complex in Rosslyn — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing has filed preliminary plans to redevelop the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex into a new, 12-story, 250-unit affordable apartment building, with underground parking and a 9,000 square foot public park and playground. The redevelopment was included in 2015’s Western Rosslyn Area Plan, or WRAP. [Washington Business Journal]
Woodlawn Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a $616,000 contract for improvements to Woodlawn Park in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. The improvements to the 3.2 acre park includes “replacing the playground equipment, updating the trails and better protecting Lubber Run stream.” [Arlington County]
Couple Gets Engaged at Local Event — A San Antonio, Texas couple got engaged at Friday night’s Wine in the Waterpark event in Crystal City. [Twitter]
Stream Restoration Project OKed — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.5 million contract to restore the lower portion of the Four Mile Run stream. Work on the project, which has been in the works since 2000, is expected to begin later this summer and may result in some trail detours over the course of a year. [Arlington County]
First Day of Summer Today — Today is the first day of astronomical summer, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. [Capital Weather Gang]
Leadership Arlington to Run Volunteer Arlington — The nonprofit group Leadership Arlington will be taking over the administration of Volunteer Arlington from Arlington County. Leadership Arlington won the contract in a competitive bidding process. Volunteer Arlington is “the County’s clearinghouse for volunteerism, matching volunteers with non-profits and government programs that rely on volunteers in carrying out their work.” [Arlington County]
Arlington native Marvin Spencer Binns fought his first fire as a teenager. He liked it, a lot. For the next six decades, he kept plugging away.
“I’m a fireman,” Binns said not too long ago.
On Monday morning, the long-time president of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department passed away following a lengthy illness. He was 80.
Until the end, Binns kept a two-way radio chattering in his room at The Carlin retirement home near Ballston. When he heard an emergency call originating from the 10-story complex, he would march downstairs to aid the arriving Arlington County Fire Department crews.
“I can’t put the gear on, and my knees are terrible,” Binns allowed, “but I can still go and do things.”
Binns’ remarkably durable volunteer career earned him a unique reputation. Tellingly, in a county where relations between volunteer and career firefighters have not always been harmonious, ACFD Honor Guard members stood watch in early March during a public viewing for Binns’ late wife, Betty.
“There are certain volunteer members over the years who have been accepted into the career family,” noted Capt. Randy Higgins, a career Arlington firefighter at Fire Station 2 who has known Binns for many years. “Marvin was always around, pitching in and helping out.”
Born in Arlington on March 20, 1935, Binns attended Washington-Lee High School and, later, vocational school in Manassas. By the time he was 16 or so, he was starting to hang out at the Cherrydale station, home to the county’s oldest volunteer fire organization.
The two-story, red-brick station dedicated in 1920 held multiple attractions for Binns. Some nights, he would just sit outside while music floated down from the weekly dances held in the upstairs social hall. Binns would also listen to the career and volunteer firemen chewing the fat while awaiting a summons.
Though Arlington County had initiated a career fire department in 1940, volunteers still responded to emergencies, sometimes informally. When he was 16 and still too young to join, Binns drove himself to Rosslyn on the bitterly cold night of Dec. 30, 1951 to pitch in on the fight against a devastating fire at the Murphy & Ames lumber yard.
“I went to a lot of fires,” Binns recalled, “and I wasn’t even a member of the fire department yet.”
When he turned 18, Binns paid $5 and formally joined the Cherrydale department. There was no particular school to attend; the learning was hands-on and experiential. At the training academy, officers would set fire to hay bales or old tires and the men would enter the burn house with only rudimentary protection.
“You couldn’t see a foot in front of you, it was so black,” Binns recalled.
Binns moved into the Cherrydale fire station for a time before he joined the Navy in 1957 and served as a baker aboard the USS Norfolk, a destroyer leader.
It wasn’t always sweetness and light. Tensions sometimes arose between the career guys and volunteers. The volunteer department sometimes struggled financially or administratively; the old fire station, some neighbors occasionally opined, could attract rowdies. Sometime in 1967, Cherrydale historian Kathryn Holt Springston recounted in her history of the Cherrydale department that Arlington officials received complaints that firefighters were whistling at women passing by.
“All were asked to stop such practices,” Springston reported.
Binns could spin a yarn; he had plenty of stories from his decades of service. The way the old siren would wail, summoning volunteers. The winter calls that would leave the firefighters covered in ice. The two dead sisters he helped carry out of the house near Washington Golf and Country Club; some bad, bad car accidents.
The incomparable fellowship.
“I wanted to protect the county,” Binns said; besides, he added, “to me, it was fun. I mean, I enjoyed it. You never knew when you got on the scene what you were going to find. Going down the road, in your mind, you’d be thinking what you were going to run into.”
Binns is survived by five children, 27 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren. A daughter pre-deceased him.
Photo and story by Michael Doyle, who is also a member of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department. Editor’s note: the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department provides support services for the professional firefighters and EMTs in the Arlington County Fire Department.
Gates open to the public at 8 a.m. Saturday and an opening ceremony is planned at 9. The wreath laying is expected to begin at 10 a.m., followed by a closing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at noon.
Metro says it will be operating on a normal weekend schedule Saturday morning, but all Blue Line trains — which service the Arlington Cemetery station — will be eight cars long in order to accommodate as many riders as possible.
“Arlington Cemetery Station is one of the smallest on the Metrorail system and can be expected to become crowded before and after the event,” Metro said on its website. “During peak crowding times, Arlington Cemetery escalators may be configured as ‘exit only’ before the event and ‘entry only’ after the event. Customers traveling in the reverse direction will be directed to station elevators.”
Metro riders should consider getting off at the Rosslyn station, from which Arlington National Cemetery is “a short walk to the south,” the transit agency suggested. Free shuttle buses will also be provided from the Pentagon Metro station to the cemetery.
Flickr pool photo by Jeff Reardon
The local Knights of Columbus chapter is continuing its 29-year history of serving Thanksgiving meals to those in the Arlington community who need them most.
The organization needs 90 volunteers for its annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner for the Needy, which falls on Nov. 26 this year. Volunteers will prepare, deliver and serve holiday meals to as many as 3,000 community members.
Over the last 29 years, the Knights have served more than 25,000 Thanksgiving meals to the poor, needy, elderly and homebound.
According to event co-coordinator David Nassar, volunteers are needed in three shifts between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., lasting three or four hours. All the preparation and serving will take place at the chapter’s headquarters, located at 5115 Little Falls Road.
One of the shifts is for morning deliveries, suitable for volunteers with a valid driver’s license and a car. They will make bulk deliveries of individually boxed meals to locations throughout the county.
Nassar added volunteers do not need any cooking experience or other specific skills to help out, just a “positive attitude and a desire to help others.”
Photo via Facebook/Knights of Columbus Edward Douglass White Council 2473