We’re hearing that the light is expected to remain out of service overnight.
Police have reportedly set up cones in the intersection’s turn lanes in order to allow traffic to move more smoothly. As a reminder, any non-functioning traffic signal should be treated as a four-way stop.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Arlington County’s plan to buy a Courthouse office building and place a year-round homeless shelter on two of the floors is drawing intense opposition from residents of a nearby condominium building.
Residents of the Woodbury Heights building (1301 N. Courthouse Road) have been distributing flyers (pictured), emailing officials and calling media outlets with a litany of concerns over the plan. Chief among them: worries about safety, property values and neighborhood “charm.”
“I work long hours, which often means I am in this area when it is dark,” said one female resident, in a letter to County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman. “I would feel considerably less safe with the shelter’s entrance so close to what is in essence the front door of my home.”
“The shelter will drive down property values in the area, especially the values of the homes in Woodbury Heights,” the resident continued. “Considering the weak housing market, my home will be even less attractive and competitive to prospective buyers.”
Residents brought their concerns to a Tuesday night meeting with Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier and Kathy Sibert of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, which runs the current emergency winter shelter and would run the new shelter.
Sibert said the meeting was “very emotional” for residents but added that she can understand the worries.
“Anytime there’s a change in your neighborhood, you’re very, very concerned, and I understand that,” said Sibert, A-SPAN’s Executive Director. “What I can assure them is that we will have staff there 24/7, and they will have our number, and we will be their neighbor, and we will address any concern they have.”
Sibert pointed out that the office building, at 2020 14th Street N., is directly across the street from the entrance to Arlington County Police headquarters, and only two blocks from the emergency winter shelter. By being open year-round, she continued, the shelter will actually keep homeless individuals off the streets of Courthouse.
“The design… is such that there will be less loitering, less homeless living on the street,” Sibert said. “The police are literally across the street. That can’t get any safer. And we have a really good working relationship with the police.”
(Updated at 2:00 p.m.) Arlington is home not only to a high concentration of Virginia Tech graduates, but also to the new Virginia Tech National Capital Region Research Center.
Given this afternoon’s breaking news about a shooting on the Blacksburg campus, our thoughts are with Virginia Tech and the local VT community. As of 1:50 p.m., news outlets were reporting that two people had been shot and killed, with scattered reports of more shots fired and a shooter who may still be at large on campus. Follow the real-time reporting of the Collegiate Times student newspaper or the reporting of local TV station WDBJ for more details.
Today’s shooting no doubt conjures up bad memories of the 2007 shooting spree that claimed 33 lives. Feel free to voice your thoughts in the comments.
Arlington maintained its prime Aaa investment rating from Moody’s, but the firm argued that the county’s close connection with the federal government makes the future of its finances a bit uncertain.
“Today’s actions are based on an expanded evaluation of the exposure each municipality has to the U.S. government, including economic sensitivity to federal spending reductions, dependence on federal transfers and exposure to capital markets disruptions,” Moody’s Managing Director Naomi Richman said in a press release. “Issuers with outlooks that remain negative are viewed as having greater exposure to potential cuts in federal employment and federal spending.”
Arlington isn’t the only Northern Virginia locale to receive a negative outlook. Alexandria, as well as Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties, have all been given negative outlooks due to the area’s “linkage with the U.S. government.”
“Arlington remains in a strong financial and economic position,” County Board Vice Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement, in response to the Moody’s decision. “During the bottom of the economic downturn, the County demonstrated its resilience and diversity. Our key economic indicators outperformed most in the region and the nation. Most recently, despite the threat of federal government budget reductions, private sector investment in the County has increased and housing values have remained stable.”
Hynes noted that the county maintains a sizable reserve fund as part of its budget.
“Even in the most difficult times, Arlington has remained committed to funding our reserves, including action this month to increase the County’s operating reserve to 5 percent of our budget,” she said.
The county is expected to brush up against one of its self-imposed debt limits in financial year 2013. Still, officials say they’re following the bond market closely.
“The County is not currently in the market with any bond issues and has no plans to go to market until mid-2012,” Arlington said in a press release. “The County last sold bonds in June 2011, with very favorable interest rates and market reception. Any downgrade of the County’s credit rating could result in higher interest rates on future bond issues. The County and its financial advisors are monitoring the situation and market reaction closely.”
Yorktown resident Kathleen Summers is one of 10 winners of the 2011 National Punctuation Day paragraph contest. In case you missed it, Sept. 24th marked the annual celebration of National Punctuation Day — a day that has promoted the correct usage of punctuation since its founding in 2004.
For the traditional Punctuation Day contest, punctuation fans around the world were invited to: “Write one paragraph, maximum of three sentences, using these 13 punctuation marks: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than once. Multiple entries are permitted.”
Here’s Kathleen’s winning paragraph:
The semiliterate—and unintentionally hilarious—sound bites of the 2012 presidential candidates (such as this recent gem by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, quoted in the Milford [Mass.] Daily News: “If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people … who knows what may come out of that?”) make me wonder if we should return to the back-to-basics teaching methods of the 1950s. I know what you’re thinking: “Okay, genius, did all those grammar drills, diagrams, and rote memorizations turn you into a gifted writer?” Alas, no; but as prosaic as my sentences may be, at least they’re sentences!
Summers was selected as a winner from the pool of 220 entries received. Entrants were from locales as far-flung as India.
As a winner, Summers will receive “a box of punctuation gifts.”
In this week’s Arlington County crime report, a 70-year-old man, identified as a registered sex offender from California, is accused of “peeping into bathroom stalls” in the Ballston area.
PEEPING TOM-ARREST, 12/02/11, 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard. On December 2 at 1 pm, a man was witnessed peeping into bathroom stalls. Clyde Medeiros, 70, of Napa, CA, was charged with Peeping and for Violation of a Registered Sex Offender. He was held without bond.
Also this week, a driver was assaulted when he tried to confront a pedestrian who kicked his car in Clarendon.
ASSAULT AND BATTERY, 12/05/11, 1100 block of N. Hudson Street. On December 5 at 9:50 pm, a pedestrian kicked a passing vehicle. When the driver exited the car, the pedestrian assaulted him. The suspect is described as man with a medium complexion, 6’ tall, wearing a black jacket, jeans, and carrying a black book bag with a white antler design on it.
An additional item of note: two young women are accused of robbing a man after being invited back to his hotel on Columbia Pike.
ROBBERY-ARREST, 12/02/11, 3000 block of Columbia Pike. On December 2 at 10:20 pm, a man invited three women back to his hotel. One of the women stole his wallet and when confronted, assaulted him. Two of the suspects were located by police. Sarah Jordan, 24, and Savannah Grant, 21, both of Arlington, were charged with Robbery. They were held without bond.
All suspects are innocent until proven guilty. The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.