D.C. resident Ronald P. Berton, 37, was accused of crimes against two young Arlington women in 2008 and 2010. On Sept. 26, 2010, prosecutors say Berton entered unlocked first-floor apartment on the 2500 block of 20th Street N., where he found a woman sleeping. Berton raped the woman then stole items from the apartment and fled the scene. The woman, who had been drinking that night, did not wake up during the rape, but later woke up and found a condom next to her.
Arlington County Police used DNA to link Berton to a previous crime. According to prosecutors, Berton entered a Colonial Village apartment on the morning of Sept. 10, 2008. He took a meat cleaver from the kitchen, then went to the bedroom where a woman was sleeping. Berton forced the woman to remain in the bed while he exposed himself and masturbated, prosecutors said. He then stole items from the apartment and fled.
Police were able to link Berton to the 2008 crime via DNA left on the knife.
Yesterday a jury found Berton guilty on charges of rape, forcible sodomy, burglary and abduction with the intent to defile. Today the jury recommended a sentence of 93 years. His formal sentencing before an Arlington County Circuit Court judge is scheduled for April 6.
“We believe this was a dangerous predator who came to Arlington to prey on the young women of our community,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Clarke, who prosecuted the case along with fellow Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Cari Steel. “The police did a great job of linking these two cases, so we were successful in getting these convictions.”
Michigan-based Gibbs Amphibians held the demonstration in the shadow of the Pentagon in hopes of convincing the military to place orders for their newest land/sea vehicle, dubbed the Phibian.
Company engineers say the Phibian is revolutionary for being able to travel at a high speed on land and on sea. The vehicle can reach up to 80 miles per hour on land, 45 miles per hour on the water, and can enter the water from land at a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour, we’re told. The 30-foot craft has a 7,000 lbs hauling capacity and can transport about a dozen people.
Phibian sports a carbon fiber hull, twin turbo 250 horsepower diesel engines, four wheel drive, and a patented, hydraulic suspension system that retracts the wheels above the water level when at sea (somewhat like landing gear on a plane). It’s the retractable wheels that allow better speed and maneuverability in the water, engineers said.
The Phibian will be produced in Michigan and will create 200 jobs, according to Gibbs. The company hopes to sell the Phibian to the military and to various federal and local government agencies for search and rescue and disaster relief operations.
Gibbs also manufacturers an amphibious sports car, which was on display today at the marina.
The restaurant had the rare privilege of catering a congressional event last week, thanks to a devoted fan: Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). Barton has a home in Arlington Heights, not too far from Pedro and Vinny’s, and has become a regular customer since it opened last summer.
When it recently came time for Barton to arrange the catering at a weekly lunch for Republican members of congress from Texas, he asked his staffers to approach the restaurant to see if they’d be up for the task. It would be tough to appease the discerning palates of the Texas lawmakers — whose lunch is usually catered by a rotation of larger, more established restaurants like Hill Country Barbecue and Tortilla Coast — but owner Roger Coroneo said he was up for the challenge.
Sean Brown, Rep. Barton’s press secretary, said the office was a bit worried about their “outside the box” choice of a caterer. After all, Pedro and Vinny’s is essentially housed in a glorified shack in the corner of a CVS parking lot. In the end, though, Coroneo and company delivered 30 freshly-made burritos to the halls of congress last Thursday — 10 chicken, 10 beef and 10 pork — and won over the crowd.
“We were a little nervous, but it actually went over really well from all reports,” Brown told ARLnow.com. “When it comes to food the members are not afraid to [voice] their pleasure or displeasure… And you know, in Texas we like to pride ourselves on knowing when we have a good burrito. ”
There’s now talk of Pedro and Vinny’s being added to the regular rotation of caterers for the Texas GOP delegation, perhaps even for larger events. Brown said the restaurant scored extra points by providing more than just tasty food.
“Their customer service is very good and they were very helpful every step of the way,” he said.
The parade — featuring homegrown floats, Mardi Gras beads, and people and animals in costume — will take place on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 8:00 p.m. The parade route will take marchers up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street.
Groups expected to participate this year include the Ballou High School Band, the Washington Nationals and the D.C. Rollergirls. The all-women, Afro-Brazilian/samba-reggae percussion band Batala Washington, meanwhile, will serve as the parade’s new drum corps.
Groups can still register to take part in the parade through next Tuesday, Feb. 14.
“Normally we have a lot of participants sign up at the last minute, so we know we’ll have a lot more entries by parade night,” said Matt Hussman, Executive Director of the Clarendon Alliance, which organizes the parade. “We think it is going to be a great parade, and we hope lots and lots of people come out to enjoy the spectacle.”
The Arlington County Board will consider approving $3.4 million worth of Neighborhood Conservation Program projects at its meeting on Saturday.
In December, the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee considered 33 different requests and recommended six for the current round of NC funding. Among the recommended projects:
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs and bike lanes on Patrick Henry Drive from 16th Street N. to Washington Boulevard in Westover Village ($531,829)
- Park improvements to the playground at Glencarlyn Park in Arlington Forest ($485,000)
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs and bike lanes on N. Sycamore Street from 26th Street N. to Williamsburg Boulevard in Williamsburg ($679,101)
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs, landscaping and possible bio-retention features on 23rd Street S. from S. Culpeper Street to S. Columbus Street in Claremont ($495,671)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and streetlights on 20th Street N. from N. Kenmore Street to N. Monroe Street in Cherrydale ($562,481)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and streetlights on S. Fern Street from 22nd Street S. to 19th Street S. in Aurora Highlands ($683,673)
Funding for the projects will be provided through Neighborhood Conservation bonds. The Neighborhood Conservation program allows neighborhoods to, essentially, compete with one another to receive funding for public improvements requested by residents.
An Arlington boy’s long-distance goal has him in the running for the U.S. Youth Soccer ‘Goal of the Year.’
Mateo Leach’s remarkable, game-winning goal for the Under-12 Boys Arlington Eagles was caught on video by his dad. The goal, which broke a 1-1 tie with five minutes left in the game, was eventually chosen by U.S. Youth Soccer as one of the top ten goals of 2011, and is now nominated for the honor of Goal of the Year.
Through Feb. 10, members of the public can vote for Leach’s goal. He’s got tough competition, though, including amazing goals by boys and girls from Frederick, Md. to Anaheim, Calif. to Kaneohe, Hawaii.
General Assembly Votes to Lift Gun Purchase Limit — The Virginia General Assembly has voted to lift the state’s limit of one gun purchase per month. The limit, which has been in place since 1993, was intended to reduce gun trafficking and gun-related crimes. Sen. Janet Howell (D), who represents part of Arlington, said lifting the limit could turn Virginia into a “gun-runners’ paradise.” [Washington Post]
Arlington’s Triple-AAA Rating Reaffirmed — Arlington has once again received a top AAA rating from each of the three major bond rating agencies. “With these ratings, the County will be able to continue making critical capital investments at the lowest possible cost to residents and businesses,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan. [Arlington County]
Library Launches New Web Site — Arlington’s library system revealed a newly-designed web site over the weekend. The new library site includes “fresher-looking pages… richer graphics… catalog browsing that might remind you of strolling the shelves… a friendlier study room reservation system… [and] a customized events calendar with more options to find what you want.” [Arlington Public Library]
New Leadership for BRAVO — The nonprofit Buyers and Renters Arlington Voice (BRAVO) has appointed a new Executive Director. Dennis Jaffe, a longtime community activist, says he’s looking forward to advocating for the rights and needs of tenants in Arlington County. “I have a personal mission… and that is to increase tenants’ connectedness to each other and to the Arlington community,” Jaffe said in a statement. Tenants make up about 57 percent of the Arlington County population, according to BRAVO.