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by Katie Pyzyk — December 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm 2,111 22 Comments

The County Board has approved a revised list of legislative priorities for the 2013 General Assembly session. As anticipated, the focus is to reverse some of the funding cuts Arlington has experienced in recent years.

Board members first presented a draft of the priorities at November’s Board meeting, noting that balancing the state budget will prove to be a major issue. Board members requested that the state restore at least some of the $7.2 million that was cut between fiscal year (FY) 2008 and FY 2013 to balance the state budget.

One of the major areas the members hope to receive funding is for transportation. The Board wishes to secure funding for new projects as well as some for maintenance of existing modes of transit.

Arlington is also seeking the power to collect local transient occupancy (hotel) taxes from online travel companies like Expedia and Orbitz, and asking that state legislators “oppose any state mandates to localities requiring local law enforcement officers to evaluate the immigration status of individuals encountered during lawful stops or other routine police activities.”

Other priorities include housing, human services and the environment.

Since November’s meeting, county staff members have been collecting public recommendations for changes or additions to the draft. Based on those suggestions, those of Board members and a work session with the Arlington General Assembly delegation, eight changes were made. Among those legislative requests:

  • Requesting that Virginia pass a law in order to join the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Program, which allows the collection of local sales tax on internet and mail order sales.
  • Requesting that transportation funding formulas not be adjusted in a way that reduces revenue to Northern Virginia
  • Requiring nursing homes and long-time care facilities to have auxiliary power generators and adequate emergency sheltering and evacuation plans

The Board unanimously approved the legislative priorities.

This year’s General Assembly session begins on January 9, 2013 and is scheduled to last for 45 days.

by ARLnow.com — December 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm 4,780 16 Comments

(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) Parents of Arlington public school students were told today that “one or more outbreaks of norovirus have been confirmed in schools in Arlington.”

It’s the second publicly reported norovirus outbreak at Arlington Public Schools so far this year. In February a norovirus outbreak was reported at two Arlington schools.

This time around, outbreaks have been reported at Patrick Henry and Randolph elementary schools, according to APS Assistant Superintendent for School and Community Relations Linda Erdos, who added that the letter below was sent to all parents “because it’s that time of year” for norovirus outbreaks.

Earlier this year, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia described the February outbreak as “nothing unusual” and noted that previous outbreaks did not result in any student requiring hospitalization.

The Arlington Department of Human Services sent the following letter to APS parents today.

Dear APS Families:

This communication is being sent to let you know that one or more outbreaks of NOROVIRUS have been confirmed in schools in Arlington. This virus spreads very quickly and easily and there is no vaccine or medicine for it. Even if your school has not been affected, prevention is essential!

FACTS:  Norovirus causes “gastroenteritis”, or infection of the stomach and/or intestines. The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms typically resolve in a few days, although in rare cases the outcome can be more serious.

HOW IT SPREADS:  These pathogens are HIGHLY contagious through contact with an infected person’s vomit or stool, or through contact with contaminated food or objects.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL IF:

  • You know or suspect that your child has a fever or is ill. Please delay sending her/him to school and take the time to feel certain that she/he is well enough to participate in school activities.
  • Your child has vomited the night before, or in the morning before going to school.
  • Your child has diarrhea, stomach pain or cramping.
  • Your child complains of generally not feeling well.
  • Your child has any combination of the above symptoms.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

Make sure your child washes their hands frequently and thoroughly before meals or food preparation, after meals, after using the bathroom, and anytime their hands get dirty. Use soap and warm water and scrub for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” TWICE).

IF SYMPTOMS DEVELOP:  Please keep your child at home and inform the school. For additional guidance, contact your healthcare provider and provide them with a copy of this letter.  Your child will need to remain at home until they are free from symptoms for one entire day (24 hours).

WHAT WE ARE DOING:  School Health, which is part of the Public Health Department, is working closely with Arlington Public Schools to identify cases and to prevent the spread of the disease

WARNING:  Monitor for signs of dehydration if your child is unable to keep fluids down.

MORE INFORMATION:  If you want to read more, information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/faq.htm.

QUESTIONS:  If you have questions, please contact the nurse in your child’s school clinic or visit the School Health Bureau’s website at www.apsva.us/schoolhealth.

Sincerely,

Marian D. Harmon, MSN, RN
School Health Bureau Chief

Samuel Stebbins, MD, MPH
Public Health Physician

by Katie Pyzyk — December 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm 4,916 55 Comments

Some morning commuters heading through Ballston got an eyeful today. Police responded to calls of a naked man wandering the streets.

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., police started receiving calls about a naked man walking north on N. Randolph Street from 9th Street. When police arrived, the man was still naked, and officers noticed a large gash on the side of his neck. The man was taken to Virginia Hospital Center for further evaluation.

So far, police haven’t identified the man and haven’t said if the neck wound was the result of an assault or whether it was self-inflicted. They also haven’t said if alcohol or drugs were involved. There’s also no confirmation to a report that the man may have been carrying a knife or some sort of a blade.

by Katie Pyzyk — December 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm 9,345 203 Comments

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Patrick Moran, the son of Rep. Jim Moran, has pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend outside a bar in D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood.

The Washington City Paper reports that the incident happened early on the morning of Dec. 1, outside The Getaway at 3400 14th Street NW. Moran was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence. The incident happened a little more than a month following the release of a video showing Moran discussing how to commit voter fraud.

According to the City Paper, a D.C. police report indicates Patrick Moran and his girlfriend were fighting outside the bar when Moran allegedly slammed the woman’s head against the bar’s metal trash can cage. A police report cited by the paper said the woman was “bleeding heavily from her nose” and her “nose and right eye were extremely swollen.”

Moran was charged with felony domestic violence assault, but today he pleaded guilty to the downgraded charge of simple assault, which is a misdemeanor. He has been sentenced to probation.

“Patrick and Kelly are both good kids and I hope their privacy will be respected,” Rep. Moran said in a brief statement. “They look forward to putting this embarrassing situation behind them.”

At 2:30 p.m., Rep. Moran’s office issued a second statement, condemning domestic violence but calling the Dec. 1 incident an “accident.”

The Congressman strongly condemns domestic violence. As was stated in court by both his son Patrick and his girlfriend Kelly, the situation was an accident. They were the only two people involved in the scene. In that sense, their statements are the only ones that matter. They are both very embarrassed by the situation, which involved drinking, and they are looking to move past it, and ask for their privacy to be respected.

Kelly Hofmann, who identifies herself as the victim of the incident, released a statement late this afternoon.

This was an accident that has been blown out of proportion. The statements in the police report are inaccurate. Pat and I were arguing, one of my high heels gave out, and I fell into the side of a trashcan. On impact, I fractured my nose. False conclusions were made as a result. I hope our privacy will be respected.

Kelly Hofmann

A source close to Rep. Moran tells ARLnow.com said that Hofmann did not press charges and testified in Patrick’s defense today, adding that she suffered from no broken bones and is back at work.

Hofmann’s account is contrary to the police report, which states that a Metropolitan Police officer and a D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration agent observed Moran “grab [Hofmann] by the back of her head with his hand and slam her head into the metal trash can cage in front of the nightclub.”

by Katie Pyzyk — December 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm 4,293 48 Comments

 

The above photo on the left shows the Clarendon Metro station under construction, before it opened in December 1979. Clarendon first became part of a streetcar line in 1896, as a transfer point between the Rosslyn-Clarendon line and the D.C.-Falls Church line. The current Metro Orange Line closely follows the old Rosslyn-Clarendon route.

In 1920, the same year the Virginia legislature officially named Arlington (previously known as Alexandria County) to avoid confusion with the City of Alexandria, there was an effort to incorporate Clarendon as a town. The courts eventually prevented it from going through. Under current Virginia law, counties that have population densities greater than 1,000 people per square mile cannot create a new municipality within the county.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Clarendon affectionately became known as “Little Saigon” due to a number of Vietnamese restaurants opening in the neighborhood. Queen Bee is one of those restaurants, pictured in the late 1980s photo on the above right.

Below is a photo of how that section of Clarendon looks today. Spider Kelly’s now occupies 3181 Wilson Blvd, which is where Queen Bee was located until it closed in 2006.

Historic photos courtesy Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room

by Katie Pyzyk — December 12, 2012 at 11:15 am 4,567 29 Comments

The Arlington County Board decided not to make a decision yet on approving a new high-rise apartment building at 1720 S. Eads Street. The developer, Kettler, has asked for more time to work around issues surrounding a part of the building plan.

The site currently houses a post office that was built in 1969 and closed last year when a new post office opened nearby. The Crystal City Sector Plan allows for the site to be rezoned for development into a medium or high density residential building. County staff recommended approving the rezoning, which Board members also favored.

However, county staff was not on board with two other aspects of the redevelopment plan — specialized pavers on the sidewalk near the building entrances and a pool deck on the roof.

The Board would need to approve a special exception for the building height if a rooftop pool were to be added. The plan includes a raised pool deck, a lifeguard room and restrooms. Under the current plan, buildings are allowed a maximum height of 110 feet; the rooftop pool would put the proposed building over the limit by four feet.

“Some say the applicant had a choice to take this into account earlier and they didn’t. They’re getting an awful lot as it is. The flip side is, so who’s bothered by it in the long run?” said Board member Jay Fisette. “It’s a nice amenity on the roof, and all the rest. But the rules are the rules.”

The developer pointed out that the roof area is not rentable space, but merely an amenity. Board member Chris Zimmerman disagreed, saying that technically the developer is asking for an extra floor in the building. He believes that making an exception to the rule would set a precedent, especially considering this would be the first development under the new Crystal City Sector Plan.

“The trouble is that we went through a whole process to develop the plan to establish what the heights would be. And if we make this exception, which it’s clear the ordinance was designed to not allow us to do, then we’d be changing the definition of height throughout the Crystal City plan,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman further stated that limiting the amount of space for each building directly controls density, and making changes would have a larger impact on developments and density throughout the county.

As far as the pavers, most of the Board members didn’t oppose the idea. Hynes was the only member not in favor of approving the specialized pavers.

“I walk a lot and these clear paths are very important to me,” said Hynes. “I certainly can support the alternative treatments around the clear zone, which is what the sector plan calls for, but I must say I’m not intrigued by doing it sort of randomly at entrances of buildings.”

As a whole, the Board agreed that the only remaining issue is the rooftop pool.

“I just want to say, apart from this basically one in particular issue that we focused on, I think this is a really nice project,” said Zimmerman.

The Board ultimately granted the developer’s request for the matter to be deferred until the January meeting to allow for more time to examine the concerns surrounding the rooftop pool deck.

by ARLnow.com — December 12, 2012 at 10:20 am 2,038 22 Comments

Arlington County has released a video that recounts the year that was 2012.

Among the topics covered in the four-and-a-half minute video: the PLACE initiative, the opening of the Mary Marshall Assisting Living facility, the Buckingham Gardens renovation, awards for the VPoint affordable apartment project, the 10-year Capital Improvement Plan, the opening of Penrose Square park, the new Yorktown Aquatic Center, Fourth of July at Long Bridge Park, the Frida Kahlo exhibit at Artisphere, President Obama’s visit to Washington-Lee High School, progress on the county’s streetcar projects, adoption of a new sign ordinance, the purchase of 2020 14th Street N., and the approval of various new office and residential developments.

by Katie Pyzyk — December 12, 2012 at 8:55 am 2,112 33 Comments

Tejada Named County Board Chair — The Arlington County Board has announced its intent to elect Walter Tejada as its chair for 2013. Tejada, who was first elected to the Board in 2003, served as the chair in 2008 and vice-chair in 2007 and 2012. Jay Fisette has been chosen as vice-chair for 2013. [Arlington County]

Lost Item Found in Library Donation — The library is trying to track down a mystery person who donated items to the Friends of the Library book sale. The donation contained something of “significant value” that the donor must have mistakenly included and likely wants back. In order to make sure the correct person comes forward to identify the item, the library will not release any more details. If you are the mystery donor, call Central Library Manager Margaret Brown at 703-228-5952. The library asks that people do not call with wild guesses in an attempt to claim the item. [Library Blog]

November Boost in Real Estate Market — A combination of higher sales and increasing average sales prices boosted the Arlington real estate market by more than 50 percent in November, compared to the previous year. The average price of single family homes rose by 6.3 percent to $753,408. The average price of condominiums increased by 13.4 percent to $404,063. [Sun Gazette]

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