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by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2013 at 3:55 pm 1,138 17 Comments

RedRocks will open its third D.C.-area Neapolitan pizzeria on Columbia Pike tomorrow (Friday).

RedRocks is opening the 133-seat eatery at Penrose Square, on the 2500 block of Columbia Pike. The restaurant overlooks the new Penrose Square park and the restaurant’s owners plan to debut outdoor seating (about 20 seats) starting this spring.

The restaurant is best known for its wood oven pizza, but also offers charcuterie, cheeses, salads, vegetable dishes, pasta, small plates and snack-sized items. Drink offerings include 20 draft beers, a small bottled beer selection, a wine selection and seven signature cocktails.

The happy hour menu includes DC Brau Public pale ale and Port City Optimal Wit, plus Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot for $3. Mixed drinks are $5. Basic marinara and Neapolitan pizzas are offered for $6 during happy hour.

RedRocks will be open today (Thursday) for an invite-only “soft opening.” It will hold its grand opening on Friday, with doors open to the public at 6:00 p.m. The restaurant will start its lunch service on Saturday. It will open for lunch every day except Mondays, starting at 11:00 a.m. (RedRocks will be open for dinner every night.)

RedRocks has existing location in D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood and in Old Town Alexandria. An H Street NE location is also opening soon.

by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm 1,088 56 Comments

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column by published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

GOP county board candidate Mark KellyCounty Board members went out of their way last week to say “the fix” was not in on the PenPlace development near Pentagon City in South Arlington. PenPlace has raised serious concerns from local residents who are not thrilled with the type and amount of non-residential development proposed there.

As part of the deal, Vornado is reportedly offering land for the Columbia Pike trolley maintenance facility as well as $20 million to help offset the costs of the new aquatics center. The Board desperately needs the space for the trolley facility, and the money for the pool is good PR for an expensive facility that had its share of detractors. With these sweeteners on the table, future public discussions seem likely to only be a formality.

Residents in the South Arlington neighborhoods who are concerned about PenPlace need only look back a couple years to the Crystal City redevelopment plan. They raised a number of issues on the plan with the County Board and staff throughout the process. At the end of the day, virtually none of the issues were addressed by the Board. Instead, the Board created an ongoing neighborhood advisory group, presumably to keep talking about changes the Board has no intention of making.

They can also look back at the widespread neighborhood opposition to the proposed purchase of 2020 14th Street North to house a new homeless shelter. The new building and renovations could cost the county nearly 20 times what it would have cost to retrofit the current facility. The County Board hearing room was packed by opponents of the plan, but their concerns simply fell on deaf ears. The decision had already been made.

Chairman Tejada just announced that there will be a public forum on the future of the massive Columbia Pike trolley project on March 27th. But, the promise of a forum seems somewhat hollow after the January 1st meeting where Chris Zimmerman pronounced the trolley issue had already been decided.

The Board certainly has a history of encouraging community dialogue and input. What seems to be a recent trend is that the Arlington Way stops when the Board realizes the community will not come around to their way of thinking. This is probably why a friend quipped to me last year after then-Chairman Hynes announced her PLACE initiative — it really stands for “Pretending Like Arlington County Ever-listens.”

When negotiating with the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan’s philosophy was “trust but verify.” Based on our Board’s recent track record of paying lip service to concerns raised by Arlingtonians, South Arlington residents concerned about PenPlace should consider taking the posture of “verify then trust.”

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm 1,959 45 Comments

County Board Chair Walter Tejada at the Board's Jan. 29 meetingA sewage backup that flooded an Arlington Harris Teeter store last May is still causing a stink in the backrooms of county government.

The Harris Teeter at 3600 S. Glebe Road, near Potomac Yard, remains closed with no reopening date in sight. The grocery store was flooded with raw sewage on May 11, 2012, due to a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plan.

Earlier this month, Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius told ARLnow.com that “no civil lawsuits have been filed” against the county as a result of the sewage incident. But at its Tuesday meeting the County Board adjourned to closed session to discuss, as County Board Chair Walter Tejada put it, “two matters requiring consultation with the County Attorney and staff concerning pending claims made by Harris Teeter and others, arising from an incident on May 11, 2012.”

It’s unclear what “claims” are being made. Asked about the behind-closed-doors session, Curtius declined further comment.

Harris Teeter says they’re “actively working with both the county and our landlord to discuss solutions to make sure that which happened does not happen again,” but a company rep declined to give additional specifics.

The closed session was not the only hush-hush County Board action to take place on Tuesday. The Washington Post reports that the Board unanimously approved 5 to 10 percent raises for three top county officials at the end of the public meeting. The raises come as the county faces a $25 to 50 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year.

by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm 1,402 52 Comments

Video grab of Patrick Moran (via YouTube/Project Veritas)There will be no criminal charges filed against the son of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) as a result of the video that purported to show him going along with a scheme to commit voter fraud.

In a statement released this afternoon (below), the Arlington County Police Department said it has completed an investigation and will not be filing charges against Patrick Moran, who resigned as Director of Field Operation for his father’s reelection campaign following the release of the video.

The video was created by Project Veritas, a nonprofit investigative group founded by conservative activist James O’Keefe. The police department said the video-makers did not cooperate with their investigation.

The Arlington County Police Department, in collaboration with the Offices of the Virginia Attorney General and the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney, has concluded its investigation of election offense allegations against Patrick Moran.

A criminal investigation was initiated by the Arlington County Police Department in late October 2012 after a video was released allegedly depicting Patrick Moran, former Director of Field Operations for the Jim Moran for Congress campaign organization, assisting another to vote illegally.

Patrick Moran and the Jim Moran for Congress campaign provided full cooperation throughout the investigation. Despite repeated attempts to involve the party responsible for producing the video, they failed to provide any assistance.

As a result of the investigation, there will be no charges brought against Moran and the investigation is now closed.

Rep. Moran was reelected despite the video controversy. In a separate incident, Patrick Moran later pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend outside a D.C. bar.

by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2013 at 11:55 am 3,526 74 Comments

An alleged bike thief takes off on the victim's pink-tired bike (courtesy photo)In publishing last week’s Arlington County crime report, we wrote that a man’s effort to recover his stolen bike “backfired” when he was punched in the face and his new bike was stolen.

The victim of that alleged crime wrote us shortly thereafter and said it was actually he who had the last laugh.

The man, who didn’t want his name published but who was able to confirm non-public details about the incident, says he successfully recovered his pricey Gary Fisher mountain bike while the thief only managed to punch him once and take off with his girlfriend’s used $100 bike with pink tires.

Here’s the victim’s side of the story:

My Gary Fisher 29er mountain bike with multiple very distinguishable and colorful upgrades was stolen Sunday [Jan. 13] in downtown DC in front of a Safeway at 3 pm in broad daylight by a guy who broke my lock.

The next Thursday I was biking to Caps practice at Kettler in Ballston on my girlfriend’s pink tired bike (which the perp is pictured with here) when I saw a bus pull up with my stolen Gary Fisher on front. I put the pink tire bike I was riding on the rack with my stolen Gary Fisher and boarded the bus. I rode for a few blocks and got ready to make my move at the Whole Foods. I went to get both bikes and the guy charged off the bus and we wrestled for the Gary Fisher. Eventually I got my lock around the frame and wheel so he couldn’t ride away as he got one good punch in. With the Gary Fisher secure, I knocked him down and he put his hand in his bag and threatened to have a gun. He probably didn’t but l was spooked and let him up and backed off.

He got up and got on the pink tired bike and rode off. I got my nice Gary Fisher back. He rode off on this pink tired bike that I bought for 100 bucks a few years ago heading toward Courthouse and Rosslyn. I assume he dumped it right after he rode out if sight because he stood out on that thing and cops never found him.

I was fine after the fight and didn’t have a mark on me.

If you see the pink tired Specialized Hardrock around Clarendon he stole it. Also by the time I got to Kettler on my Gary Fisher, practice was over. At least I got my bike back.

I’m sure the police don’t encourage confronting thieves like this and maybe that’s why they took the successful part of the report out. But the bike I got back is really valuable to me.

Police say they have not made any arrests in the case so far.

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2013 at 11:00 am 845 5 Comments

Rainwater near intersection of George Mason and Wilson Boulevard in Arlington Virginia January 30, 2013 by Ddimick

 APS Announces Make-up Day Plan — Arlington Public Schools has lost three days this school year due to inclement weather, including the day lost as a result of the controversial decision to close this past Monday for what turned out to be mostly drizzle. APS has announced its make-up plan, though most schools will not actually have to make up any days due to additional hours built into the school calendar this year. Those impacted by the make-up plan are elementary schools with early release and the Stratford Program, which will see three abbreviated days turned into full days as part of the make-up plan. [Arlington Public Schools]

County to Explore More Options for Reeves Farmhouse — Arlington County is issuing a ‘request for information’ for the historic Reevesland farmhouse. The county is now seeking ideas from individuals and groups who want to use the farmhouse and its grounds but don’t have the nearly $1 million necessary for repairs to the property. That’s a win for one group of residents who have been pushing for the property to be used as a learning center. “We’re open to the idea of shared investment,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan. [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Judge to Retire — Arlington County General District Court judge Karen A. Henenberg is retiring. Henenberg and her husband plan to spend more time with their sons: Kenneth, a rock band guitarist, and Benjamin, a professional golfer. [Falls Church News-Press]

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

by Nick Freshman — January 31, 2013 at 9:45 am 2,367 43 Comments

Restaurant Talk is an occasional feature written by Nick Freshman, a native Arlingtonian and co-owner of Spider Kelly’s and Eventide Restaurant in Clarendon.

Donuts

Are doughnuts the new cupcake?

I have to confess that writing that line has me shaking my head. If you think restaurant professionals understand every trend, think again. A lot of us have no idea where this stuff comes from (although the nexus for the most avant garde trends seems to be Brooklyn).

While Arlington is rarely the birthplace for the latest and greatest, we certainly seem to have a knack for embracing what is once it gets here.

Temples to the cupcake trend have popped up everywhere in the DC area, with multiple cupcakeries within blocks of each other, celebrity visits (Suri Cruise, no less), and even cupcake-based TV shows. Who saw that coming? Nobody, frankly.

So how long does the trend last? Forever? Another year? I thought cupcakes would come and go a couple years back, but I was clearly wrong. And who’s to say they won’t be here forever? After all, hamburgers were a fad at one point.

But a threat has arrived: America’s breakfast workhorse is on a tear. No longer the exclusive domain of Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme, doughnuts have been popping up on menus everywhere—and not just at breakfast. Two places that are set to make waves this year are GBD (Golden, Brown, Delicious) in Dupont and Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken near Metro Center. The former is the latest from local trendsetters Neighborhood Restaurant Group (of Tallula and Rustico fame) while the latter is the brainchild of two local boys, one of whom (Jeff Halpern) recently played for the Caps.

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by ARLnow.com — January 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm 603 2 Comments

Arlington and the surrounding D.C. region is now under a Tornado Watch.

The warning of possible tornadic activity comes as a strong storm front approaches the area. We’re also under a Flash Flood Watch and a Wind Advisory. From the National Weather Service:

… WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM EST THURSDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY… WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM EST THURSDAY.

* TIMING… THE STRONGEST WINDS ARE EXPECTED AHEAD OF A COLD FRONT LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

* WINDS… SOUTH 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS 45 TO 50 MPH. WINDS WILL SHIFT TO THE WEST BEHIND THE COLD FRONT OVERNIGHT.

* IMPACTS… THE STRONG WINDS COULD BRING DOWN TREE LIMBS AND CAUSE SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES. UNSECURED OBJECTS MAY BE BLOWN ABOUT… AND HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES MAY BECOME DIFFICULT TO MANEUVER.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WIND GUSTS OF 45 TO 55 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT… ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES

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by ARLnow.com — January 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm 1,690 21 Comments

Yellow taxi cab in Pentagon CityHard-driven, high-mileage taxicabs might not seem like a very attractive target for car thieves, but in the past week three have been stolen from the same block of Columbia Pike.

Arlington County auto crimes detectives are “actively engaged in” an investigation into the thefts, said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, who couldn’t recall any other taxi thefts in Arlington in the past year. The cabs all had D.C. tags and ranged in model year from 1998 to 2004.

From the stolen vehicle portion of this week’s crime report:

01/23/13, DC 01232H, 2004 Ford Crown Victoria (Taxi), White/Yellow, 5500 block of S. Columbia Pike
01/23/13, DC H95014, 2002 Ford Crown Victoria (Taxi), Blue, 5500 block of S. Columbia Pike
01/28/13, DC H87744, 1998 Ford Crown Victoria (Taxi), Blue and Gray, 5500 block of S. Columbia Pike

Also in this week’s crime report, a woman was grabbed from behind while walking home from the Ballston Metro station. Her purse was stolen but she was otherwise physically uninjured.

ROBBERY, 01/24/13, 4400 block of N. 4th Street. At 11:53 pm on January 23, as a female victim was walking home from the Ballston Metro station alone, she was approached from behind by a male subject who placed his hand over her face and grabbed her purse. The subject fled the scene on foot and was not located. He is described as a black male, approximately 5’7” tall and 160 lbs. He was wearing a black wool coat, dark jeans, knit hat, light colored scarf and dark gloves at the time of the incident.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump.

File photo

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by Katie Pyzyk — January 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm 772 96 Comments

Screen grab of County Board discussing Gov. McDonnell's tranportation plan(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) County Board members spent a portion of Tuesday’s meeting expressing distaste with Governor McDonnell’s proposed transportation plan, namely the idea of eliminating Virginia’s gas tax.

The proposal would do away with the 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax, but would increase the state’s sales tax from five percent to 5.8 percent. The plan also would increase vehicle registration fees and add a yearly $100 charge for drivers with alternative fuel cars. McDonnell said that would raise about $3.1 billion over five years to fund road, transit and rail projects across the state.

County Board member Jay Fisette said that while it’s good to have some sort of proposal on the table in order to start a conversation about transportation funding, this plan is not the answer. He further stated that the plan was offered to the General Assembly at the last minute, without adequate time to review and understand it.

“Many people see this as a vehicle on which to find a better compromise or a more functional proposal,” he said. “This is hugely important to Arlington, to Northern Virginia and to the future of this state. I’m willing to give kudos for starting a conversation, but if this passed it would be a big mistake in the form it was proposed by the governor.”

Fisette believes eliminating the gas tax would incentivize driving and reduce the use of public transit.

“While it sounds good to eliminate a tax, they would be adding others. This is a user fee. There is a gas tax in every state in the United States. We would be the first to decouple the incentive to drive with the cost of driving,” said Fisette. “You’re still looking at a fee to ride transit, but you’re going to remove the gas fee for driving and spread that cost among everyone who buys something in Virginia. That doesn’t seem fair to people who choose to use transit.”

Several Board members worried that the proposal wouldn’t actually raise the additional money McDonnell says it will, but simply moves it over from a different area.

Screen grab of County Board member Jay Fisette discussing Gov. McDonnell's transporation plan“It shifts money from the general fund, which has been the basic source of funds for education, human services and public safety, and shifts those to transportation,” said Fisette. “So it’s robbing the basic source of funds for the rest of our needs to pay for transportation.”

Board member Mary Hynes echoed Fisette’s concern.

“We can talk about how poorly they’ve spent the money they have, but the reality of what the governor has proposed is it’s mostly smoke and mirrors,” she said. “It’s taking away with one hand and putting it in another place. The actual new money that’s involved in any near term frame is very small.”

Both Fisette and Hynes pointed out that nearly one-third of the proposed funds ($1 billion) would not be immediately available because it’s tied to pending legislation in Congress regarding internet sales tax revenue.

The transportation plan’s perceived dilution of local government’s authority and an increased role for state government proved to be another recurring topic of discussion. Board member Chris Zimmerman called it a “blatant power grab.”

“This is getting very frustrating to a lot of people in local government, that the administration has been not only not helpful in providing more funding, but essentially is continually distracting the conversation with these efforts to shift power away from people who have to pay the bills,” said Zimmerman.

A legislative committee approved the governor’s proposal today, and it’s expected to go before the full House and Senate in the Virginia General Assembly next week. The General Assembly is currently about halfway through its short 45 day session.

by Jason Howell — January 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm 940 33 Comments

Independent’s Day is a weekly opinion column by published on Wednesdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Independent Congressional candidate Jason Howell(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) The “Dodo bird” has become an international symbol for all that was but never will be again. It left us sometime in the 17th century and if we are not careful, small banks may leave us early in the 21st century.

Today, the Washington Business Journal reported that Arlington-based Virginia Commerce Bank (VCB) is beingn sold to Charleston, W.Va.-based United Bankshares. At about $3 billion in assets, VCB is tiny. Compared to the largest banks – like JP Morgan Chase & Co. with over $2 trillion in assets — it is infinitesimal. So why does it matter? It matters because the small banks have done the majority of the business lending in our communities for a very long time. As banks consolidate, some of that power of personal, relationship lending disappears.

Just recently First Virginia Community Bank acquired Arlington’s First Commonwealth Bank of Virginia. Small local banks like John Marshall Bank, headquartered in Falls Church, and Burke & Herbert, based in Alexandria, need to be preserved somehow. We need to preserve them because what’s bad for small banks is bad for small business, and what’s bad for small business is bad for our local economy.

Last year I had an opportunity to talk with one of the GM’s of our many pizzerias in the Clarendon/Courthouse corridor. He shared with me how helpful it’s been to have a relationship with John Marshall Bank, and we know he’s fed thousands of our neighbors with that help (including me)!

Private merchant banks helped build the family farm and gave birth to the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Local bank relationships financed the business-startups-turned-Fortune-500s of the 20th century. We celebrate the “relationship bank” every year with the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Do we root for Mr. Potter or George Bailey and the neighbors of Bedford Falls? Few of us live in small towns but many of us still have relationships with small banks. They finance our education, new businesses, cars and homes. Credit unions are great examples of relationship banks.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed to stop big banks from doing bad things — like failing. Unfortunately, what it’s been better at is stopping small banks from doing good things — like lending.

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by Katie Pyzyk — January 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm 2,147 94 Comments

Cherrydale SafewayThe Safeway store in Cherrydale (3713 Lee Highway) will soon undergo a revamp.

A Safeway representative attended the Cherrydale Civic Association (CCA) meeting earlier this month to discuss the remodeling plan with residents. According to information presented at the meeting, the building footprint would remain the same and the remodeling would occur within the store.

“We’ve asked them for a better deli, fresh produce, a bakery. A lot of food was too close to expiration,” said CCA President Maureen Ross. “It’s just in need of renovations.”

Ross noted that Safeway has thus far been receptive to the idea of adding a Capital Bikeshare station on the grounds.

”We’re very excited and we’re praising them,” Ross said. “We’ve also asked them to see if they’d be willing to adopt the street trees because Arlington County has not been able to maintain the trees and they look terrible.”

There’s the possibility that the final plan will involve changes to the store facade and landscaping, but that will not be determined until Safeway gives final approval and the design is revealed. Final approval is also necessary in order to name an official start date for the makeover, although the CAA hopes it can begin in March. We’re told the renovation should take around 90 days to complete.

by ARLnow.com — January 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm 988 17 Comments

Our Arlington Pet of the Week this week is Charlotte, a Shiba Inu-Chihuahua mix puppy.

Rescued from a high-kill shelter in North Carolina, Charlotte now resides with owner Jeannie on Columbia Pike, in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. Jeannie wrote the following about Charlotte.

This is my dog Charlotte. She is a Shiba Inu-Chihuahua mix puppy about 7 months old. Just a few short months ago she was in a high kill shelter in North Carolina. But luckily she was flown out of North Carolina by Pilots and Paws to safety here in VA. A volunteer with Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) fostered Charlotte and just a few days after Charlotte was in VA I met her on the street during one of her walks and fell in love with her sweet face! About a week later she was home with me for good! She has been with me for a few months and still LOVES her walks. The picture below should say it all. Pilots and Paws and FOHA are so wonderful to take care of these animals, get them out of the shelters and into loving homes. I can’t thank them enough for Charlotte!

The Arlington Pet of the Week is sponsored by Dogma Bakery, which has locations at The Village at Shirlington (2772 S. Arlington Mill Drive) and the Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2445 N. Harrison Street).

Want your pet to be considered to be the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email steph@arlnow.com. This week’s winner gets a $50 gift certificate from Becky’s Pet Care for pet walking and sitting services.

by ARLnow.com — January 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

Story Contest: Story of Song w/ Justin Trawick
Today (January 30) from 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Busboys and Poets Shirlington (4251 S. Campbell Ave.)

storyleague_storyofsong_l3Come out to support the art of bringing true personal stories to the stage OR throw your name in to win $100 for the best story of the night on the theme “Story of Song: Stories About Making Music or Experiencing It.”

The winner will be announced at the end of the night and will receive $100 cash as a prize. The audience will also select its favorite! The winners of our monthly contests go on to compete in Tournaments where the prize jumps to $250. Submit your 100-word story synopsis at storyleague.org or fill out a card at the show.

Beer and Bundle Bash!
Thursday, January 31 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Whole Foods Market (2700 Wilson Blvd)

Whole Foods by Erin JohnsonBig Games call for Big Tastes!

Join us this Thursday, January, 31st for a “Beer and Bundle Bash” featuring Baltimore and San Francisco beer as well as our Prepared Foods Super Bundle.

5 plates of food, 5 sips of beer for only $5.

Get our Game Grub on!

Be sure to check out the full Arlington event calendar. Submit your event to the calendar here.

by ARLnow.com — January 30, 2013 at 11:20 am 1,518 13 Comments

A cold front will bring high winds, heavy rain and possible thunderstorms tonight.

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Arlington and the D.C. region and Arlington County just issued the following alert.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reports they are monitoring 3 weather related threats to the metropolitan DC area starting this afternoon and into the night; high winds, a line of thunderstorms, and rainfall accumulations.

The NWS predicts wind gusts around 35-40 MPH starting in the early afternoon hours. The NWS is also monitoring threats of a line of thunderstorms approaching from the west which is expected to reach the area between 7 and 10 PM. The storms have the potential to produce heavy rainfall and wind gusts up to 70 MPH. The National Weather Service reports this line of thunderstorms is fast moving and will last around 15 to 20 minutes with residual rainfall immediately following. The area should expect up to 2 inches of rainfall.

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