On Tuesday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation For The Cure cut its funding for Planned Parenthood. The money had supplied breast exams for 170,000 women over the past five years.
The founder of the foundation cited changes in priorities and policies, and says the money will be put elsewhere to benefit a larger number of women. However, some say the decision was political, and the foundation was pressured by right-leaning organizations who disapprove of Planned Parenthood’s abortion services.
Just today, The Atlantic reported that a top official at Komen resigned in protest over the dust up.
Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) released the following statement following Komen’s decision to pull funding for Planned Parenthood:
The Komen Foundation’s decision regarding Planned Parenthood is deeply troubling. As an organization dedicated to eradicating breast cancer, it’s hard to understand how eliminating funding that provides hundreds of thousands of women with preventive screenings is in anyone’s best interest.
I call on the Foundation to reverse their decision and not let politics interfere with protecting women’s health.
(Updated at 2:20 a.m.) President Obama will visit Arlington’s Fire Station 5 tomorrow morning to discuss a new initiative to help returning military veterans get jobs — including jobs as firefighters and police officers.
Obama and representatives from the International Association of Fire Fighters union will announce the initiative at the closed event, which is expected to begin around 11:00 a.m.
Fire Station 5 is located at 1750 S. Hayes Street in Aurora Highlands, just blocks from Pentagon City mall. Police say drivers should expect road closures and other impacts in the area.
“The event is expected to create moderate traffic disruptions in the Crystal City area from approximately 10:00 a.m. to noon,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “Emergency parking restrictions will be in effect along South Hayes Street to facilitate the presidential visit.”
(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) The long-awaited unveiling of the new traffic signals on Wilson Boulevard at N. Pollard Street should be happening soon. In fact, they should be working before the start of the weekend.
The lights were installed a couple of months ago, but have remained covered up. Concerned about pedestrian safety, some residents have been emailing ARLnow.com to ask when the lights would begin functioning. One reader compared crossing the intersection to maneuvering through a video game.
“Too many people play ‘Frogger’ at night trying to go to and from the Gold’s Gym,” the reader wrote.
Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel said the county’s installation of the lights has been completed, and Dominion Virginia Power just needs to supply electricity. Dominion tells us the lights should be turned on either today or tomorrow, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Today a crew was at the intersection repairing the sidewalk that had been torn up to install the lights.
A man accused of forcing prostitutes to perform sex acts at gunpoint in Crystal City is facing a lengthy jail sentence after pleading guilty or being found guilty on an assortment of charges.
Last month, a pair of Arlington County Circuit Court juries found McKinley C. Joyner guilty on two counts of forcible sodomy, two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and one count of abduction with the intent to defile. He also entered an Alford plea on charges of rape, forcible sodomy and abduction.
Prosecutors say Joyner victimized three female escorts in two separate incidents between 5:00 and 8:00 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2010. The women, who Joyner found via the web site Backpage.com, were each forced to engage in sexual activity at gunpoint at Joyner’s Crystal City apartment, according to prosecutors.
Joyner is facing up to 51 years in prison as a result of the convictions and the plea. His final sentencing dates are set for late next month.
Joyner’s legal troubles don’t end with there, however. He’s also facing a charge of possession with intent to distribute for the drug N-Benzylpiperazine, also known as BZP or Legal X. A trial on that charge and an accompanying firearms charge is scheduled for March 27.
Prior to these alleged crimes, Joyner had a relatively clean record. Prosecutors say they were only aware of one past conviction — on a 1999 charge for possession of marijuana in Montgomery County, Md.
Even though the Joyner’s victims were prostitutes, prosecutors say that doesn’t diminish the serious nature of the crimes.
“These are difficult cases for a lot of reasons,” Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Bergman told ARLnow.com. “When you’re dealing with victims that are prostitutes, it obviously was our contention that they were worthy of the protection our system. And the jury came back and echoed that sentiment.”
Arlington is now home to another exercise facility, with yesterday’s opening of CrossFit Rosslyn (1100 Wilson Blvd).
The training center is connected to Verve Health & Fitness near the Rosslyn metro. Verve Co-owner Michael Lin explained that part of the existing facility was partitioned off to add CrossFit. Lin believes offering both CrossFit style workouts and more traditional exercise options benefits customers.
“I believe the balance is very important to keep a person as healthy and capable as physically possible,” said Lin.
Lin said there are pluses and minuses to setting up shop in an area that already has a number of CrossFit options, such as the new one coming to Ballston or the one that just closed in Clarendon. But he’s not interested in the competition.
“We’re not doing this to dominate the CrossFit business,” Lin said. “We’re doing this to expand the service to our clients and customers. I think it’s a move in a positive direction for everyone.”
Unlike many other CrossFit facilities which can’t provide showers due to space restrictions, customers can purchase a membership to use Verve’s showers. The facility also touts a unique training program for people of all fitness levels that will build relationships as well as bodies.
“People who are just average Joes are really gonna benefit from CrossFit,” said Lin.
Lin likes the idea of the dual purpose facility so much, that if the decision is ever made to add additional Verve locations, they will also be split facilities to include CrossFit. But for now, he’s content to just stick with the Rosslyn location.
“We’re happy to be a part of the community,” Lin said. “Rosslyn is a funny city where most people go home after work, so I think it will help to have more hang out places for people to go after work. Whether it’s for happy hour or places to eat or places to work out together.”
As part of the grand opening, CrossFit Rosslyn will hold an open house next month. On March 3 from 12:00-3:00 p.m., visitors can try free workouts and yoga classes.
This morning, on Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil was rudely awoken from his slumber and asked to predict the weather.
Phil saw his shadow — meaning that, according to tradition, there will be six more weeks of winter. Given the mild winter so far, would you mind six weeks of cold, wintry weather before the start of spring?
Obama to Appear in Arlington on Friday — President Obama will deliver a speech about the economy at Arlington’s Fire Station 5 on Friday. The fire station is located on S. Hayes Street in Aurora Highlands, a couple of blocks from Pentagon City mall. [Washington Post]
Three Candidates Running for School Board — There are now three Democratic candidates running for two open Arlington County School Board seats: Emma Violand-Sanchez (incumbent), Noah Simon and Larry Fishtahler. Arlington Democrats will endorse two candidates at a May caucus. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Fire Hockey Team to Play Fairfax — The Arlington Fire Hockey Team, made up of personnel from Arlington County’s fire and police departments, will face off against the Fairfax County Fire team on Saturday, from about 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The game is being played at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston (627 N. Glebe Road). Tickets are $5 for adults and benefit a hockey club for athletes with developmental disabilities. Kids 12 and under are free. [NOVA Cool Cats]
Board Won’t Consider Office Project This Month — The site plan for an office development in Courthouse, originally expected to be considered by the Arlington County Board this
weekend month, is being pushed back a bit. It’s now expected to be voted on by the Board in March, April or even later.