“Our tax party isn’t very popular any more,” Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary said with a smile this afternoon, as residents trickled into the county government building in Courthouse (2100 Clarendon Blvd) to make last-minute tax payments. Thanks to a clockwork-like directing-and-collecting operation, some 25 county staffers strong, lines have remained relatively short on what is traditionally a very busy tax deadline day.
“A year ago, you would have had a sea of humanity here,” said O’Leary, who has served as Treasurer for 28 years. “So far, that’s not the case…. This is the lightest due date in my history.”
After handling about 1,600 in-person tax payments on Monday, and 1,800 payments on Tuesday, O’Leary guessed last night that his office would have to handle about 2,600 payments today. That, O’Leary says, now seems like an overestimation.
“The biggest story this year is there is no story,” he said. “We were surprised.”
“Ahh, it’s not like the old days,” one Treasurer’s office employee was overheard saying to a colleague.
O’Leary credited the work of employees from the Treasurers office and the Commissioner of Revenue’s office for keeping things moving. He also said that “alternative” payment methods he’s worked to put in place over the years — from online tax payments to instituting tax payments at banks — have also helped.
The biggest change from past years O’Leary has noticed is that immigrants — who make up the overwhelming majority of in-person taxpayers on the due date — aren’t here in the numbers of previous years.
Tax payment stations — including the usual Treasurers counter on the second floor and an “express” area set up on the first floor — will remain open until 5:00 tonight.
Customers of Kavenchy Spa Salon received an email from owner Sam Kavenchy last night stating that the glitzy salon was closing effective immediately.
“We certainly enjoyed having you as part in [sic] Kavenchy’s success for the past two years,” the email said. “But now it’s time to say goodbye.”
“I wish that your dreams may come true as did mine with opening Kavenchy,” the email continued. “But life goes on and new ventures are waiting for each of us. As for me I will pursue full-time my other passion and dream, which has always been art.”
“I’m shocked that he’s gone out of business,” one customer told ARLnow.com. “I thought the place was a real success.”
The salon was located at 1025 N. Fillmore Street, on the ground floor of the ZOSO Flats building. The salon was located next to the former American Flatbread restaurant, which closed last December.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who’s tied for first among a crowded GOP field in a new CBS News poll, is scheduled to appear at a book signing in Pentagon City later this week.
The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO will sign copies of his new memoir, This Is Herman Cain!, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Friday at the Pentagon City Costco (1200 S. Fern Street), according to the Costco web site. Following the book signing, Cain is scheduled to attend the Value Voters Summit in D.C.
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) A number of groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Arab Law Students Association and the American Constitution Society, will be participating in an “anti-hate” protest at the George Mason University School of Law in Virginia Square tonight.
The groups will be protesting a speaking engagement at the school by Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-American author and speaker who has brought her anti-Islam, pro-Israel message to numerous college campuses in the U.S. and abroad. Critics call Darwish a “radical anti-Muslim Islamophobe” and point to a recent video of her speaking at a protest in Florida as evidence.
“Islam is a poison to a society. It’s divisive. It’s hateful… It’s full of anti-Semitism,” Darwish said in the video. “Because Islam should be feared, and should be fought, and should be conquered, and defeated, and annihilated, and it’s going to happen… Islam is based on lies and it’s not based on the truth. I have no doubt whatsoever that Islam is going to be destroyed.”
Darwish, who is particularly critical of Islam’s treatment of women and minorities, was invited to speak at the school by the GMU student chapter of the Federalist Society and the Jewish Law Students Association. The controversy over her invitation has attracted attention from the popular Above the Law blog and a blog called “LoonWatch.”
GMU law dean Daniel Polsby was even compelled to weigh in on the controversy. In an email, Polsby told students that “the law school will not exercise editorial control over the words of speakers invited by student organizations, nor will we take responsibility for them, nor will we endorse or condemn them.”
“Sometimes speakers are invited who are known to espouse controversial points of view,” Polsby wrote. “Just as speakers are free to speak, protesters are free to protest.”
The protests are scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. at Hazel Hall, Room 225, at 3301 N. Fairfax Drive. The speech by Darwish is scheduled to take place at 5:00 p.m., and is open to GMU law students only.
Photo via Wikipedia
Bayou Bakery owner and chef David Guas made an appearance on the Today Show this morning.
Guas was featured in a cooking segment called “Hot Chef,” during the show’s 9:00 hour. The segment focused on seasonal, “all-American desserts” — specifically a blackberry and blueberry crumble, an apple-spiced upside down bundt cake and a “lemon icebox pie.” Guas showed hosts Al Roker and Tamron Hall how to make the desserts, while discussing the use of apples and other seasonal ingredients during the fall.
Bayou Bakery is located at 1515 N. Courthouse Road in Courthouse.
Around 8:00 last night, an a cappella group showed up outside the Clarendon Metro station and began singing for a small crowd of bystanders.
We don’t know who they are or why they were there, but the above video shows them performing a pretty impressive rendition of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. If you’re familiar with the group, please let us know in the comments.
Update at 2:20 p.m. — The group has been identified by commenters as the “Noctonals.”
Hat tip to @anuckols
County Board Candidates Debate — The three candidates for Arlington County Board — two incumbent Democrats and one Green Party challenger — answered questions at the Civic Federation candidates forum last night. The Democrats, Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, spoke generally about the advantages of living in Arlington, while challenger Audrey Clement sharply criticized the County Board as being “in bed with developers.” [Sun Gazette]
Unopposed Candidate Roundup — Six Democrats who are running unopposed for local offices also spoke at last night’s candidates forum. [Sun Gazette]
7-Eleven Move Causes Disruptions — Who knew that one 7-Eleven store (out of 24 in Arlington) can have such a significant impact on a community? After a store in the Williamsburg Shopping Center moved closer to the East Falls Church Metro, daily routines were disrupted and other businesses in the shopping center withered. “7-11 may have a fine national strategy, but it sends ripples around localities, affecting livelihoods as well as routines beyond mere convenience,” writes columnist Charlie Clark. Luckily, the store is now moving back to Williamsburg. [Falls Church News-Press]
Redesign Suggestion for Dangerous Rosslyn Intersection — Greater Greater Washington proposes a possible way to enhance pedestrian safety at the dangerous intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway, while also (possibly) improving traffic flow. [Greater Greater Washington]