58°Rain

by ARLnow.com — October 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm 8,415 111 Comments

(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) Clarendon buzzed even more than usual this evening, thanks to a presidential visit.

President Obama dined at Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd.) tonight with four supporters who won a campaign raffle contest.

People passing through the Clarendon area started hanging around and watching once they saw the blocked-off perimeter, dozens of police and security personnel for blocks and a telltale special event tent on N. Irving Street, next to Liberty Tavern. The president finally arrived in his black limousine around 6:50 p.m., as Arlington County police helped set up rolling roadblocks.

Liberty Tavern co-owner Stephen Fedorchak said he had an inkling on Tuesday that President Obama might be stopping by, and the confirmation came on Wednesday. As with all such presidential visits, Fedorchak had to keep quiet until tonight.

“As an Arlington restaurant and independent business people, we’re just extremely flattered,” Fedorchak said. “It’s an honor. We understand the magnitude of it but we wanted to have fun with it as well. We offered the same hospitality we strive for with every guest that comes in our restaurant.”

Server Randi Milton said although the dinner group discussed serious topics, such as the economy, there was much laughter. She said the president asked about each of his guests’ lives and families. Milton said she didn’t get to talk to President Obama very much because he was so focused on his guests.

“Obviously, he was not there to interact with us,” she said. “I shook his hand, took his order, and he chatted with us a little after dinner. But the point was not to talk to us, it was to talk to them.”

The president’s team had researched the menu at Liberty Tavern and didn’t want to limit themselves by just requesting one special item. The guests all ordered off of the regular menu, and the President dined on swordfish with white beans and lamb sausage.

When asked about the possibility of increased business from this event, Fedorchak said, “We want to be respectful of the fact that the President dined in our restaurant in terms of how we market it. But we’ll gladly accept any additional business as a result.”

Media and passersby gathered on nearby street corners to attempt catching a glimpse of President Obama as he left Liberty Tavern. Many tried in vain to snap pictures, but the security perimeter kept most people too far away to land a good shot. Traffic crawled through Clarendon and the already tough intersection of Washington Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard, at a couple times completely stopping as the presidential motorcade passed through.

The president left the restaurant just before 8:00 p.m. and was met outside with dozens of cheering onlookers.

“This is really cool,” one woman said. “I’ve lived here 17 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The last time President Obama came to Arlington for a meal was June 24, 2010, when he and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev grabbed lunch at Ray’s Hell Burger (1713 Wilson Blvd).

by ARLnow.com — October 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm 3,541 144 Comments

This week we asked the two candidates for the 31st District state Senate seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Caren Merrick’s campaign says they did not receive our request (emailed to the campaign manager), and thus were late in responding.

Here is the unedited response from Caren Merrick (R):

I’m running for the Virginia State Senate because I believe that in these uncertain economic times we need a State Senator who understands how to create jobs, help grow our economy, and make wise investments that will help individuals, families, seniors, and veterans succeed in education, work, and life.

As a candidate, I’ve listened to thousands of voters. I can tell you firsthand the top concern is jobs and the economy.

The region’s unemployment rate is nearly double what it has been. Our #1 employer is the Federal Government and the 2nd largest employer group is the contracting community that serves it. Major contractors are already feeling the pain of Federal spending cuts. Is our region ready for the cuts to come? Absolutely not.

We must diversify our economy and unleash Northern Virginia’s entrepreneurial capacity. I understand the challenges of starting and growing a business and creating jobs. I cofounded a software company in my basement, went without a paycheck for a year so we could pay employees, overcame many obstacles and grew our company to more than 1,100 employees. My plan to grow our economy addresses business tax and regulation reform, transportation, and education as we need to improve all three areas to advance a growing economy and a brighter future.

To spur the growth of new and existing businesses, I propose comprehensive tax and regulation reform, including a pay-as-you-go regulatory environment. For every new regulation we add, we need to remove an outdated one of equal cost from the books. We also need to reform Virginia’s tax code to make it simpler, fairer and more conducive to competition and economic growth.

Another key to growth is enacting a stronger R & D tax credit to promote innovation and job creation across our region and boosting industry sponsored research and collaboration with Virginia’s universities.

Transportation – we must prioritize spending based on congestion relief. This sounds obvious, but a bill to do just that was blocked in the last session of the General Assembly. We need a dedicated source of revenue and I support revenue from offshore oil leases as studies show it can be done safely and it is estimated that it would produce 15,000 jobs and $3.2 billion to our Commonwealth – and it has received strong bipartisan support from Senators Warner and Webb, Governor McDonnell, and candidates for U.S. Senate Tim Kaine and George Allen.

Education – I have proposed cost effective ways to introduce science, technology, engineering, and math at earlier grades to ensure that our kids are prepared for jobs of the future. And we need to increase the college graduation rate across the Commonwealth.

I served on the Governor’s bipartisan Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission where 92% of our jobs and opportunity agenda passed with strong bipartisan support.

(more…)

by Katie Pyzyk — October 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm 2,177 58 Comments

A statue of Ronald Reagan will be unveiled at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday, raising the possibility of some traffic headaches for people driving to the airport.

A ceremony is being held by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation to commemorate the statue unveiling, in front of the airport’s Terminal A.

Drivers should expect heavier-than-usual traffic around the arrivals and departures terminals due to lane closures for the event, airport officials said. Four lanes will merge into one to detour around the event site. There’s also a possibility that traffic will be completely blocked for short periods along the detour route.

Detours will be in place from 11:00 a.m. through 12:00 p.m. Drivers are encouraged to avoid driving up to the terminals, and to instead keep left at the entrance to the airport, following signs toward parking garages. Passengers can be dropped off or picked up in the hourly parking garage closest to their terminal. Using taxis, which have their own boarding area, or Metro is also bring encouraged.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm 2,708 56 Comments

The Democratic Party of Virginia says it has been getting reports of residents receiving unsolicited political text messages.

The text messages sharply criticize Democratic political candidates in Virginia. The party says the texts are unsolicited and likely illegal.

“The DPVA has reason to believe that these text messages are illegal and we are doing everything we can to determine where they are coming from,” the party said in an email. “Virginia Republicans… [have] resorted to the usual underhanded tricks trying to scare, intimidate or confuse voters.”

This morning, an ARLnow.com reader reported having received the texts. The reader called the messages “pretty dirty” and wondered who was sending them. (The texts reportedly came from the same 410 area code phone number that sends out Arlington Alert text messages.)

The readouts of the reader’s messages are as follows:

SUBJ:Taxes
MSG:OBAMA & his VA DEMOCRAT allies want to RAISE YOUR TAXES. Send a message. DO NOT vote for VA Democrats on 11/08/11

FRM:Concerned Parents
SUBJ:Busted
MSG:Dave Marsden voted to allow Ffx County Schools to HIDE FROM PARENTS when they discipline kids. Ask Dave why.

The DPVA wants anybody who has received an unsolicited text message to call a hotline at 866-529-7620, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and file a complaint in small claims court.

“Please help us hold the Republicans accountable for these underhanded and illegal tricks,” the party said.

A spokesman for Republican Party of Virginia said they heard about the problem, but have no involvement with sending unsolicited texts and in no way condone the behavior.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm 1,475 6 Comments

Arlington Public Library is looking to the future, and wants the public to speak up with ideas and suggestions. A series of public gatherings called “Invent the Future of the Library” is being held to examine where the library is headed, and what steps need to be taken to get there.

The first session is tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Walter Reed Community Center (2909 16th St. S.). The second is next Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford St.), and the last is Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7:00 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N Stafford St.).

Tonight’s session will have a significant focus on technology and which trends are shaping, or will shape, the library. The results from the recent Library User Satisfaction Survey will also be discussed. You can take part in the new, very short, online survey regarding services and programming by clicking here.

by ARLnow.com — October 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm 2,052 73 Comments

This week we asked the two candidates for the 31st District state Senate seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Nov. 8. We did not receive a response from Caren Merrick (R).

Here is the unedited response from Barbara Favola (D):

I am running for the State Senate because I want to create a Virginia that is forward thinking and focused on our future.  Moreover, I believe I am best able to represent the values of the 31st District.  I am 100% pro-choice and 100% pro-equality.  Most importantly, I have the experience necessary to deliver for the region.  The Washington Post recently noted: “Barbara will be an effective Senator from Day 1.”

My first priority will be to invest in K-12 education and to make higher education more affordable and accessible.  I am particularly interested in ensuring that the Community College System has the necessary resources to accept every eligible student.  A well-trained workforce is the key to attracting high-paying jobs.  Our families, our communities and our businesses are worth the investment.

I am also intent on fixing Northern Virginia’s transportation problems.  I will work in a bipartisan way to find a new and dedicated source of revenue to fund our roads, bridges and transit systems.  Good transportation infrastructure is the backbone of a growing economy and a growing region.  I know that traffic congestion detracts from time with loved ones and community building.  We must work to maintain the region’s high quality of life.

Protecting the environment and encouraging the development of renewable energy options are critical components in creating a more desirable and a more competitive Virginia.  I want Virginia to do its part in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.  I have been a regional leader in this area and will use my expertise in Richmond.  I will also work to ensure that incentives are available for the creation of renewable energy sources.

As an Arlington County Board member, I balanced 14 consecutive budgets.  Arlington has the lowest unemployment rate in the State and the lowest real-estate rate of any major jurisdiction in Northern Virginia.  Moreover, the County still enjoys a triple- AAA bond rating.  I know how to get the best value for our tax dollar and how to make key investments in critical areas such as education.

My Republican opponent is listed on the VA Tea Party Alliance Web Site as a possible candidate to create a conservative majority in the State Senate.  I submit to you that it is in the interest of the 31st District and the Commonwealth as a whole to keep the State Senate in Democratic hands.

My opponent supports her party’s extremist agenda.  She defended a recent McDonnell initiative to restrict a women’s access to abortions by requiring women’s health centers to meet costly and unnecessary regulations, thereby, forcing the closure of 17 out of 21 clinics around the State.  My opponent received an A- from the NRA.  Yet, most Virginians are looking for reasonable gun control measures.  Moreover, my opponent will not be voting with the Democrats to defeat the usual onslaught of harsh anti-immigrant legislation that will certainly come out of the House Delegates in this next session.  Caren Merrick is out of step with Northern Virginia and the voters of the 31st District.

I ask for your vote on November 8 because our children deserve a brighter future.  Please join your friends and neighbors at the polls anytime between 6:00am to 7:00pm.  Thank You.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 27, 2011 at 11:25 am 1,517 7 Comments

Halloween fun is in store tonight at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. This time, it’s all for pups.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington encourages you to dress up your dog in a costume and attend a trick or treat event at Dogma Bakery (2445 N. Harrison St.) in the Lee-Harrison shopping center. With a $10 donation, you can fill your dog’s treat bag at various stores in the center. There will be treats for humans as well.

There will be games and prizes for best costumes–both pet and handler. The whole family is welcome at the event, which starts at 6:00 p.m.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 27, 2011 at 10:13 am 2,899 26 Comments

Updated at 10:50 a.m. Start going through your medicine cabinets and gathering your unused medications. Arlington County officials will be on hand for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.

Police and fire officials throughout the county will allow anyone with unused or expired medication to drop it off at designated sites for safe disposal. The program works to prevent prescription drugs from getting into the wrong hands and being abused. It also prevents medications from being disposed of improperly, such as being flushed down the toilet or thrown in the garbage.

You can bring any unwanted medication to the following locations on Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.:

  • Arlington Fire Station #9, 1900 S. Walter Reed Dr.
  • Arlington Fire Station #8, 4845 Lee Hwy.
  • Arlington Fire Station #1, 500 S. Glebe Rd.
  • Henderson Hall MCX, 1555 Southgate Rd., Ft. Myer
  • Ft. Myer PX, 210 McNair Rd., Ft. Myer
  • Pentagon Parking Lot, 551 Army Navy Dr.
The following location will collect medication Thursday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m.:
  • Chief of Staff Support Office, 111 S. George Mason Dr.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 27, 2011 at 8:42 am 2,695 98 Comments

Update at 9:00 a.m. — WMATA is reporting that normal service has resumed on the Blue and Orange Lines.

Emergency crews are on their way to the Rosslyn Metro station for reports of a sick person on board an Orange Line train. WMATA says the person is unresponsive.

There are delays on the Orange and Blue Lines in both directions as a result. Delays will continue until the situation is resolved.

by ARLnow.com — October 27, 2011 at 8:34 am 1,488 27 Comments

Grass Gets Mowed After Article — High grass that had been obstructing the view of drivers on the already-dangerous ramp from eastbound Columbia Pike to northbound Washington Boulevard was mowed yesterday, one day after ARLnow.com published an article about it.

Potomac Avenue Bridge Opens — One can now drive from Potomac Yard to Crystal City without having to hop on Route 1. The Potomac Avenue bridge over Four Mile Run has opened to traffic, making Arlington’s Market Square shops and restaurants more accessible for residents in the new Potomac Yard housing developments in Alexandria. [Patch]

Trick or Treating at Pentagon Row — Dozens of Pentagon Row merchants will be greeting little trick-or-treaters Saturday afternoon. Some stores will also be offering Halloween specials for shoppers. [Facebook]

Republicans Optimistic About State Senate Race — Arlington Republicans are becoming more optimistic about the 32nd District state Senate race between Patrick Forrest (R) and incumbent Janet Howell (D). “People are realizing this is a very close race,” one operative told the Sun Gazette. Meanwhile, the Arlington County Republican Committee raised $8,404 in October, which is $8,400 more than it raised in September.

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