Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called a local talk radio show on Tuesday to complain about rats in D.C. Specifically, Cuccinelli was peeved about a D.C. law — the Wildlife Protection Act — which, since March 2011, has outlawed some common pest control practices including the use of lethal traps on certain species of rats and mice (and on other wild animals that get stuck in homes).
“Last year, in its finite wisdom, the D.C. City Council passed a new law — a triumph of animal rights over human health,” he told the hosts of WMAL’s ‘The Morning Majority‘ show. “Those pest control people… aren’t allowed to kill the rat. They have to relocate the rat. And… that’s actually not the worst part. They cannot break up the family of the rat.”
“Oh no,” one of the hosts said solemnly as another loudly gasped. But what does any of this have to do with Virginia? Cuccinelli explained that wildlife trappers might now simply take the rats they catch in D.C. into Virginia.
“Actual experts in pest control will tell you, if you don’t move an animal about 25 miles, it will come back,” Cuccinelli said. “So what’s the solution to that? Across the river.”
“It is worse than our immigration policies, you can’t break up rat families or racoons and all the rest,” Cuccinelli continued. “And you can’t even kill them. It’s unbelievable.”
(The audio can be found at 92:35 here.)
Arlington County Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a missing adult. Investigators say 70-year-old Julienne Erisnor was last seen near her home on the 4400 block of N. Pershing Drive on Jan. 2.
Erisnor is described as a black female, approximately 5’2” tall and 150 lbs. She has black hair and occasionally wears a curly black wig. Police say Erisnor is required to take regular medication but does not have the medication with her.
“Anyone with any information about Ms. Erisnor’s whereabouts is asked to call the Arlington County Police Department at 703-558-2222 or Detective Alan Lowery at 703 228-4199,” police said.
“She Got Game,” as the exhibit is being called, will hold its opening reception tomorrow night (Jan. 13) from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. It will feature “painted murals, larger-than-life-sized photos, videos, and installations depict[ing] women in professional tennis, bodybuilding, cheerleading, and even competitive eating.”
Among the male, female and transgendered artists whose works will be displayed are Holly Bass, Tara Mateik, Kristina Bilonick, Dewey Nicks, Sarada Conaway, Cory Oberndorfer, Jenny Drumgoole, Martin Schoeller, Nancy Floyd, Moira Lovell.
“Some of these artists offer iconic images of strong women athletes; others use the trappings of sport as a framework for performances about competition, objectification, and popular culture,” AAC noted in a press release. “The show opens just a few months shy of the 40th anniversary for Title IX, the historic legislation that leveled the playing field for women athletes-increasing their participation in college athletics some 450% over four decades.”
The exhibit will run through March 18. A “performance event” scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11 will feature artist Amber Hawk Swanson performing her work “Online Comments.”
“While completing a grueling three-hour CrossFit workout, [Swanson] will read every anonymous online comment she has ever received for her previous projects-including her controversial ‘Amber Doll Project,’ in which the artist commissioned the creation of a life-sized sex doll that resembled her exactly,” AAC said.
Arlington Arts Center is located at 3550 Wilson Boulevard in Virginia Square.
A video obtained by WTOP shows a Metrobus driver running a red light and nearly getting in a collision at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street.
The bus is shown coming down the steep, curvy hill near the Air Force Memorial and driving right through the red light — even honking its horn as an SUV with the right-of-way drives in front of the bus’ path.
The video is one of several dozen obtained by WTOP through a public records request. Many of the videos depict collisions and near-collisions with vehicles and pedestrians, as recorded by a “Drivecam” video camera in the front of the bus.
The head of Metro’s bus operations told WTOP that the Metrobus system is safe when compared with other large bus systems across the country.
Did you know that Arlington’s drinking water actually comes from the District of Columbia? And that when the county’s first drinking water system was completed residents held a big parade with elaborate floats in Clarendon?
Those are two of the interesting historical facts recently brought to light in an article on drinking water in the county’s Ballston Pond Blog. That article, written by county employee Jen McDonnell, is reprinted here with permission.
Arlington has three, separate pipe systems running underground that handle our three types of water – drinking (potable), wastewater, and stormwater. But there was a time in Arlington (not that long ago) when these pipe systems were not in place. In 1900, wells were the drinking water source for Arlingtonians, and outhouses and septic tanks “managed” the wastewater.
In 1926, the Arlington Board of Supervisors funded a study to devise a plan to bring a drinking water system to Arlington. The study findings recommended that Arlington connect to the Army Corp of Engineers-operated drinking water filtration plant that pulled water from the Potomac River for the District of Columbia’s residents. In 1926, Congress passed two acts that made this proposed plan possible. The first act authorized the sale of water from the federal supply to Arlington and the second act approved the connection of Arlington County to the federal supply. Virginia’s General Assembly then approved bonds to fund this major project. A water main was constructed from the Dalecarlia Plant in Washington D.C., across Chain Bridge, and then along Glebe Road. Infrastructure including pumps and pumping stations were installed and initially 340 homes were connected. Construction cost $636,110.
When the new drinking water system became operational, a big parade with elaborate floats was held in Clarendon. Arlingtonians wore buttons saying, “YES We Have Water.” The new, easy access to water encouraged change and growth in Arlington. In the post-WWI era, housing became denser around the available water connections. Easy water access encouraged the use of larger quantities of water, and increased the quantities of wastewater produced. While the drinking water system has been significantly expanded since then, Arlington still gets its drinking water from the Potomac River and the Dalecarlia Plant today.
An equally interesting history of the county’s wastewater system has also been posted on the Ballston Pond Blog.
Over the past two nights, civic association debates between the six candidates running for County Board have been a remarkably civil affair. The candidates — five Democrats and one Green Party member — touted their records, focused on the issues, politely disagreed with some county policies, and refrained from directly criticizing one another.
Behind the scenes, however, mud is being slung, and it’s being directed at one Democratic candidate in particular: Melissa Bondi.
For the past couple of weeks, Republicans and Democrats alike have been bombarding local media outlets with dirt on Bondi — on and off the record — claiming she failed to register a car in Arlington and she has been late in paying her taxes on multiple occasions.
In an interview with ARLnow.com on Tuesday, Bondi had some answers, but professed surprise at the most serious charge: that she failed to pay the IRS $19,252.23 in taxes accrued between 2005 and 2006, resulting in a federal tax lien being filed in March 2011. (See: document provided to ARLnow.com.)
According to Bondi, she was not notified about the lien at the time and only found out about it this week via a post on a local blog. She said she immediately contacted the IRS and tried to find out why the lien was assessed.
“I learned about when I learned about the blog post, and I was shocked and extremely concerned,” Bondi said. “I believe it’s an error, I believe it’s a mistake. I don’t know what the circumstances are, but I’m anxious to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible.”
Asked if she has, to her knowledge, paid all her federal taxes “in full and on time,” Bondi said yes.
But according to the Arlington County Treasurer’s Office, Bondi has not always paid her local taxes on time. A FOIA request filed by a local resident reveals that Bondi was twice delinquent in paying Arlington personal property taxes on her car. In 2004, Bondi was 14 days late in paying the tax. In 2005, she was 53 days late, and only paid “following a threat of seizure by the Treasurer’s office,” according to Treasurer Frank O’Leary.
O’Leary, who’s supporting the campaign of County Board candidate Terron Sims, did not mince words when sharing his professional opinion of Bondi with the Clarendon Patch.
“She is a scofflaw and tax evader,” O’Leary told the website. “If I sound a little angry about it, I am. She simply ignored us.”
Asked about the past delinquencies, Bondi would only discuss her current county tax situation.
“I believe I am fully paid up with Arlington County with any obligations I have,” Bondi said. “I try to be responsible on my obligations, and I believe I am responsible on my obligations.”
If there were any tax delinquencies, she said, they were not intentional.
The questions surrounding Bondi’s personal property taxes don’t stop there. Critics say Bondi kept a car in Arlington from 2006 to 2008, despite the fact that her car was reported as sold and removed from Arlington’s personal property tax rolls in February 2006.
Backyard Chicken Debate Rages On — Egg-laying hens aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, according to an Arlington resident whose neighbor had an illegal chicken coop. “I can tell you that I thought we had excessive flies, we had rodents; the chickens do make noise and there is a smell,” Darryl Hobbs told WUSA9 at a community discussion about backyard chicken raising last night. Chicken supporters dispute claims that their coops are unsanitary, and say that egg-laying hens produce a steady stream of healthy, tasty and sustainable food. [WUSA 9]
Shoplifting Suspect Flees Down Metro Tracks — Metro trains were temporarily shut down near the Pentagon City station Tuesday night after a shoplifting suspect jumped on the tracks in an attempt to get away. The man, who’s accused of shoplifting from the Nordstom’s in Pentagon City, was eventually caught by Metro Transit Police. [NBC Washington]
Hope Wants Insurance Exchange — Arlington’s Del. Patrick Hope (D) is one of the Democratic lawmakers hoping to pass a law to create a state-run health insurance exchange during the new General Assembly session in Richmond. All states are to have an insurance exchange in place by the end of 2013 under the Obama health care plan. “It will allow small businesses and individuals the opportunity to leverage similar to or even greater resources than that of large employers, using that clout to drive better pricing, choices and quality,” Hope said. [Roanoke Times]
Yoga, Pilates, Spinning in Clarendon — Mind the Mat, a new yoga and Pilates studio, opened in Clarendon this week. The studio, at 3300B Fairfax Drive, is offering free classes this week. Meanwhile Revolve, an indoor cycling studio that opened at 1025 N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon late last year, is holding its official grand opening celebration tonight from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Correction to Item Yesterday — A Morning Notes item yesterday erroneously stated that County Board member Walter Tejada was seeking the creation of a proposed Office of Latino Affairs in Arlington. In fact it’s BU-GATA, a tenants-rights organization, that is proposing the office’s creation. Tejada told ARLnow.com that he supports improving services for Latino residents, but doesn’t think the creation of a separate county department is necessarily the best way to go about it. “I don’t think it’s the thing to do,” he said. ARLnow.com regrets the error.
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief