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by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm 4,214 12 Comments

Several local social clubs will be toasting the arrival of “Leap Day” in Arlington tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Feb. 29, a date that comes around only every four years or so during a leap year. Leap Day, as it’s known, might not be an officially recognized holiday, but it does have its fans. At least three Meetup.com groups are planning Leap Day events here in Arlington. Among them:

  • The 20s and 30s Wine Lovers group will be holding a Leap Day happy hour at Cheesetique (4056 Campbell Avenue) in Shirlington, starting at 5:30 p.m. After sipping wine and sampling cheese, the group plans to head to a nearby bar.
  • The Fairlington Social Club is planning a “Leap Day Sadie Hawkins Happy Hour” at Bungalow Billiards (2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive) in Shilrington, starting at 6:00 p.m. The “Sadie Hawkins” part, in case you’re wondering, refers to a pseudo-tradition of women asking men out on dates on Leap Day.
  • An Alexandria social group is planning a “Leap Day Party” at Tortoise & Hare Bar and Grille (567 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City, starting at 7:00 p.m.

As for the motivation for having a Leap Day celebration, last week the show 30 Rock (pictured above) explained that February 29 is “a magical extra day… to do the things you normally wouldn’t do.”

For the local Meetup organizers, however, the motivation was more along the lines of: “why not?”

“[It] seemed like a good excuse to have a happy hour,” said Gary, organizer of the Fairlington Social Club event, in an email.

Screen grab via NBC

by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm 2,805 82 Comments

Could the recent controversy in Richmond over social issues be hurting Virginia businesses? Yes, says Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) and a group of local business leaders.

This year’s state legislative session has been marked by heated partisan debate over the merits of Republican-sponsored bills concerning abortion, women’s health and gay adoptions. Most of the controversial bills have been either killed or delayed, and the legislature is now starting to focus its attention on the state budget, but Democrats are still decrying the renewed focus on social issues and the media attention it brought to Virginia.

(Update at 3:00 p.m.: a modified version of a bill requiring mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions has passed the Virginia Senate by a vote of 21-19.)

Yesterday Del. Brink took to the floor of the House of Delegates (see video, above) to read a letter from a number of Northern Virginia business leaders, including representatives of the Consumer Electronics Association and Vornado/Charles E. Smith. Addressed to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and the entire state legislature, the letter argued that “extreme proposals governing social issues” are detrimental to Virginia’s ability to attract “the best and the brightest employees and entrepreneurs.”

As business leaders and employers in Virginia we applaud your successful bi-partisan efforts to keep Virginia first in national rankings as the most business-friendly state.

We urge you to maintain this ranking going forward by ensuring Virginia is a magnet for the best and the brightest employees and entrepreneurs.

Specifically, we urge you to reject extreme proposals governing social issues on which Americans are passionately divided. Otherwise it will be difficult for Virginia to attract and retain the entrepreneurs and talent we need to grow Virginia.

Del. Brink minced no words in describing how he felt about the outward image projected by Virginia General Assembly this year.

“All you have to do is turn on your TV, open any national newspaper, or go to YouTube, and it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that we’ve allowed ourselves to be portrayed as a bunch of ignorant, backward-looking buffoons,” Brink said. “It’s not just our image that’s taken a hit: it’s the economy — the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century — that’s in danger.”

by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm 3,475 21 Comments

An Route 50 exit used by Clarendon area drivers is set to close for the rest of the week.

The Fairfax Drive exit from Route 50/Arlington Boulevard will be closed from Wednesday to Friday so that VDOT contractors can install new storm water infrastructure. The construction is part of the ongoing Arlington Boulevard/Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange project.

Lane closures are also planned in the area on both east- and westbound Route 50, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., through Friday.

Work on the interchange project is scheduled to continue through fall 2013, and is expected to result in additional periodic lane, exit and road closures.

Image via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2012 at 11:47 am 7,459 117 Comments

Arlington County is looking to hire a “Streetcar System Manager,” to help with the county’s $250 million Columbia Pike streetcar project. The full-time position is advertised as paying between $72,000 and $119,000 annually.

From a job posting on the county’s website:

Exciting, unique opportunity to be on the ground floor of a new multi-jurisdictional Streetcar System. Over the next decade, Arlington County, in partnership with Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria, will develop two streetcar corridors, which will ultimately operate as a unified streetcar system. The Streetcar System Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the County’s effort to design, finance, and construct the streetcar system including a wide variety of planning, project management and program management duties:

  • Leading the day-to-day development process within the County and coordinating legal and public processes required by jurisdictional partners and state and federal funding and oversight agencies;
  • Providing financial oversight to ensure that millions of dollars in public investment are spent in a responsible, cost-effective manner to ensure maximum grant-fund reimbursement, preparing budget requests for funding, and investigating additional funding sources;
  • Researching, analyzing, and recommending alternative methodologies, for funding, constructing, operating and maintaining the streetcar system;
  • Managing the contracting, contract administration and contract monitoring processes, including developing bid and proposal packages;
  • Directing and/or managing the work of, architectural and engineering consultants, construction management firms, and construction contractors ;
  • Building partner relationships and serving as primary spokesperson with news media and the general public; and
  • Developing systems, maintaining records and preparing written reports that provide for the proper evaluation, control and documentation of project activities.

Besides local funding, the project will also be funded through grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). The Streetcar System Manager shall have a thorough understanding of the requirements and processes of the FTA for project approval, funding and oversight. This employee leads the Streetcar Section within the Transit Bureau where project development and streetcar program work will be accomplished using internal and external matrix teams, including County employees and a wide variety of contractors. Depending upon the eventual partnership agreements, organizational structure, and federal requirements associated with funding streams, it is likely that the section will grow to include permanent county staff, especially as development moves toward the construction and operation stages.

The position reports to the Transit Bureau Chief within the Transportation Division of the Department of Environmental Services. The County’s proposed streetcar system is multi-jurisdictional and depending upon the evolution and development of the system, at some time in the future this position and its functions may be transferred to a separate entity created to manage the streetcar system.

As of September, county officials were hoping to begin construction on the Columbia Pike streetcar system in 2015 and have it up and running in 2017. Earlier this month officials gave a community presentation in which they discussed a number of alternative options to the streetcar, including building an articulated bus system along Columbia Pike.

by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2012 at 10:32 am 4,167 31 Comments

A home invasion armed robbery in South Arlington last week has a connection to a series of bank robberies late last year, ARLnow.com has learned exclusively.

Two men impersonating police officers with a search warrant forced their way into a home on the 300 block of S. Fillmore Street around 11:20 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, according to Arlington County police. One of the suspects held the residents — a woman and two children — at knifepoint in the living room while the second suspect, armed with a handgun, ransacked the house. In the end, the suspects made off with nearly $13,000 in cash and jewelry.

A police source has confirmed to ARLnow.com that the house targeted by the two armed robbers was that of Rafi Khan, 23, who was arrested in December and charged with two counts of bank robbery. Both robberies both took place in Arlington over the course of a week.

Khan’s trial is currently scheduled for May. The exact connection between Khan and the home invasion is unclear, but police have indicated that they believe his home was specifically targeted, telling news outlets that the crime was likely an “isolated incident” and that “there’s no reason to believe that this is an ongoing occurrence.”

In a crime report last week, police issued the following descriptions of the suspects.

The first suspect is described as a black male, 6’2” tall, with a medium build and was wearing a black ski mask, sunglasses, a black Northface winter coat and black gloves. The second suspect is described as a black male, 5’5” tall, with a heavy build and was wearing eyeglasses, black coat and black pants.

by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2012 at 9:30 am 691 2 Comments

Are you planning on voting absentee in next week’s Super Tuesday GOP presidential primary? If so, today’s the last day you can apply for an absentee ballot.

The absentee application can be mailed or faxed — but the deadline is 5:00 p.m. today.

Those who want to vote absentee in person can still do so through this coming Saturday. Additional information on the absentee voting process, including the list of valid reasons for voting absentee, is available on the Arlington County website.

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only candidates certified to appear on the Virginia Republican primary ballot. Polling places will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Election Day (March 6).

Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99

by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2012 at 8:45 am 2,838 96 Comments

Senate Dems Defeat HPV Immunization Repeal — State Senate Democrats are taking credit for killing a bill that would have repealed the 2007 law that requires sixth grade girls be immunized from the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Said Arlington’s Sen. Barbara Favola (D), in a statement: “The best way to eradicate cervical cancer is widespread HPV vaccination. In the past, the most successful immunization programs, such as those for smallpox or polio, required universal vaccination. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the world, but with this vaccination, there is hope for ending the suffering caused by cervical cancer.” [Washington Post]

Favola Criticized for Skipping Budget Vote — State Sen. Barbara Favola is being criticized by Republicans for skipping a vote on the state budget in favor of making a TV appearance. Favola appeared on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ while votes were being taken on the Republican-supported budget plan. In the end, however, her vote wouldn’t have changed the outcome — the budget didn’t pass. [Sun Gazette]

Cat Enters Va. Senate Race — A cat is running for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat. The “Hank for Senate” campaign has launched, amid a flurry of publicity, with a campaign TV ad and the campaign slogan “Milk in every bowl.” Hank has quite the personal story — including being saved from euthanization by an animal rescue group. [WTOP]

Cherrydale Library Book — The 50-year history of the cozy Cherrydale branch library has been documented in a new book. “Fifty Years of Cherrydale Library,” by Greg Embree, is available online (for free) and in print. [Blurb]

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