As a result, the project — which started last summer and was originally slated to take 15 months — has been prolonged by an estimated three months. Planners will now have to redesign the relocation process. Work is not expected to resume until “late spring,” according to a letter from the county to local residents and organizations.
The delay will also affect the Metro and ART bus stops that were closed and relocated as a result of the project.
Separately, the county announced that it’s working to repair the torn-up and uneven stretch of the Pike between Four Mile Run Drive and South Wakefield Street. However, cold temperatures are expected to keep the necessary asphalt work from being completed until mid-February.
Residents have been complaining about the potholes and sinkholes and other car-rattling pockmarks in the roadway.
“Right now the road is in a very bad state,” said Takis Karantonis, director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. “Folks have complained often to us.”
Voting has just begun for the county’s 2011-2012 vehicle decal design competition.
Arlington residents will be able to vote for one of four designs selected for the competition. Each design was created by an Arlington high school student.
Voting will take place online between now and Feb. 13. The winner will be announced at February’s county board meeting.
Last year’s winning design showcased a snow-covered bridge over the W&OD Trail. This year, the design finalists include another snowy photo, a photo of the historic Hume School, a photo of the large clock near Courthouse Plaza, and an illustration featuring a bike path and the Rosslyn skyline.
Del. Patrick Hope (D), who represents part of Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates, has proposed a bill that would raise taxes on tobacco products to fill several gaps in the state’s Medicaid budget.
The bill would raise the tax on cigarettes from the current $0.015 per cigarette to the national average of $0.0725 per cigarette, or $1.45 per pack. Virginia currently has the lowest cigarette tax in the U.S.
The bill would also raise the tax on snuff and other tobacco products. Cigars would be taxed at 50 percent of the wholesale price, up from 10 percent.
Hope’s legislation would direct 52 percent of the additional tax revenue (estimated at about $250 million) to fund Medicare waivers for intellectual and developmental disabilities. Forty percent of the revenue (about $150 million) would go to Medicaid reimbursement for physicians and hospitals. And 8 percent (about $30 million) would be split among the state tobacco quitline and a youth tobacco prevention program.
“Virginia’s Medicaid budget is on an unsustainable course,” Hope said in a statement. “Cuts to Medicaid only result in higher costs down the road. The sick end up in the hospital and ERs for costly medical procedures and avoidable hospitalizations; and individuals with disabilities wind up in institutions rather than being served in their communities for a fraction of the cost. This proposal will take a significant step in preserving and protecting the Medicaid program for future generations and will fulfill a promise to Virginia’s families.”
What do you think?
Virginia has traditionally been one of the more tobacco-friendly states in the country, making consideration and passage of such a bill an uphill battle. Hope has received public words of encouragement, however, from a number of influential health-related organizations, like the Medical Society of Virginia, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
See the press release prepared by Hope’s office, after the jump.
We’re hearing initial reports of a power outage in Shirlington. A number of businesses in the Village at Shirlington are affected.
No word on how wide-spread the outage is or when power might come back on.
Update at 10:55 a.m. — The Dominion web site says 33 customers in the Shirlington area are currently in the dark. Power is expected to be restored between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m.
The spaces, located on the ground floor of an adjacent parking garage, are often full, leading to complaints to Harris Teeter management. Even though the spaces are reserved for grocery customers and limited to one hour, an employee tells us that drivers often flout the rules by parking in the spaces and heading to other stores.
The new meters are expected to “go live” on Saturday. Much like the meters at the Harris Teeter in Pentagon City, the Shirlington meters will have a button that will give drivers an hour of free parking. Coins will not be accepted.
Currently, the Shirlington Harris Teeter does not actively enforce its parking rules. We’re told that at least at first, the time limits on the meters will likely not be enforced, either. However, that could eventually change depending on how effective the meters are as a deterrent.
A number of people have emailed us with questions about the meters.
“If you haven’t reported it, I hope you’ll consider doing so,” one reader said. “Your readers who patronize Shirlington Village will want to be informed that parking there is about to become more costly and less convenient.”
Alas, the meters will be free and the parking rules will remain the same, at least according to people who work at the store.
Controversy over the text, Our Virginia: Past and Present, erupted in October when it was revealed that the book contained a dubious passage about black soldiers fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Fairfax County schools announced on Friday that they would be pulling the text after dozens of additional errors were found. Yesterday, Arlington Public Schools followed suit.
“APS was notified by the [Virginia Department of Education] last Friday, January 7, of the specific errors in the Grade 4 text,” Arlington Public Schools said in a press release. “Based on that information, school officials feel it is in the best interest of students to remove the print version of the textbooks at this time.”
Teachers will use supplemental learning materials in classrooms until a corrected digital version of the textbook becomes available, likely at the end of the month. The publisher will provide corrected print editions of the textbook free of charge this summer.
The school system says it will help train parents who want to learn how to use the digital textbook.
Del. David Englin (D), who represents part of Arlington, has proposed a bill that would require experts to review textbooks before they could be certified for use in Virginia schools.
Circa at Clarendon (3010 Clarendon Blvd) will be opening its doors on Monday at 5:00 p.m., according to an announcement on its Facebook page.
The upscale American-style restaurant, best known for its four-year old Dupont Circle location, has been under construction on the ground floor of the Clarendon Center development’s south building (left) since this fall.
“The wait is over,” Circa’s management wrote on the restaurant’s official blog. “The pantry is stocked and the kegs have been tapped… There is only one thing that we need to make Circa at Clarendon something special: We need you.”
McDonnell Gives State of the Commonwealth Address — Speaking to a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly last night, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) urged state lawmakers to put aside their partisan differences to help solves the state’s challenges, particularly roads and transportation. He also spoke of job creation and the rapid rise of college tuition. The speech was so polished that one state delegate from our area tweeted that he thinks McDonnell “is running for president.” Despite the overall bipartisan tone, McDonnell took the time to lavish praise on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s pending lawsuit against the Democrat-backed federal health care reform bill. [Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post]
Arlington Cop Helps Nab Jersey Bank Robbery Suspect — While driving on westbound I-66 early Tuesday morning, an alert Arlington police officer got a hit on a vehicle belonging to a suspected bank robber out of New Jersey. The officer stayed with the car as it exited the county. Backup — in the form of Fairfax County and Virginia State Police — eventually caught up and helped arrest the suspect after he pulled off the highway in Fairfax. [Bergen Record]
Hynes to Speak About Helicopter Noise — County Board Vice-chairman Mary Hynes will discuss helicopter noise before the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments today. Noise from helicopters is a persistent source of resident complaints in Arlington. Hynes is expected to talk about what’s being done to mitigate the noise. [WTOP]