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Howell Introduces Bill to Restore Hotel Tax Surcharge

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm | 357 views | 51 Comments

State Sen. Janet Howell at Arlington Democrats 2011 election victory partyState Sen. Janet Howell (D), who represents parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, has introduced a bill to restore Arlington’s former 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge.

The surcharge expired on Jan. 1, 2012 after Del. Tim Hugo (R), of Fairfax County, blocked a renewal bill in retaliation for Arlington’s lawsuit against high occupancy toll lanes on I-395. The Hotel General Managers’ Committee of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce has been calling for the Virginia General Assembly to reestablish the taxing authority, which brought in nearly $1 million per year to fund tourism promotion efforts.

A bill proposed by Howell today would allow Arlington County to reinstate the tax surcharge on hotel rooms, and extends the taxing authority in perpetuity. The bill has been referred to the state Senate’s Committee on Finance.

Crime Report: Husband Stabbed in Arm

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm | 2,069 views | 30 Comments

For the second week in a row, a woman has been arrested and accused of stabbing her significant other.

Police say the woman, an Arlington Heights neighborhood resident, stabbed her husband with a folding knife. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 01/03/2013, 800 block of S. Ivy Street. At 7:55 pm on January 3, a married couple got into a verbal dispute. The argument escalated and the wife stabbed her husband in his arm with a folding knife. The victim was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for medical treatment of the stab wound. Aliyma Imaan Williams, 20, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with malicious wounding.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.

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Independent’s Day: An Introduction

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm | 380 views | 33 Comments

Editor’s Note: This weekly column is written by Jason Howell, former independent candidate for U.S. Congress. This is the second of three weekly opinion columns that ARLnow.com will be publishing in 2013. The columns, from local thought leaders across the political spectrum, are intended to introduce fresh ideas and spark community conversations about issues of local and state interest.

Independent Congressional candidate Jason HowellLong before there were political parties, there were independent minded individuals. Along the way, despite the warnings of the first elected Independent, President George Washington, party factions took over our political system. Today, they are strangling it. In Virginia, we don’t register to vote by party in part, I imagine, because we are citizens before we become partisans. That is the spirit of this column.

Beginning today, thanks to your thoughtful editor, ARLnow.com will host a regular column that pays tribute to the independent minded viewpoint founded in all of us.  This column is called “Independent’s Day” and will celebrate one day a week when we can tackle local issues without partisanship. Unlike the 4th of July, which celebrates our independence as a country, on these published days we will celebrate our independence as citizens. Each is our day, hence the intentionally possessive title of the column.

Every column belongs to the reader rather than the writer. Like my 2012 campaign, all of my “wins” were yours. When I was asked to write this column I mentally added one win to that list. Serving Arlington and the entire 8th Congressional District of Virginia as a candidate was difficult but not hard. I enjoyed meeting so many of you as I knocked on doors, manned booths at festivals and stood at the Metro Stations.

Last Thursday, the 112th Congress left the stage and the 113th Congress was sworn in at noon. I looked really hard at the crowd on C-SPAN but my wife and I were not in it. Despite this rather cruel fact, I have committed to serve you in unelected ways and this column is one of those. I have also committed to stay as close to the issues as I was during the campaign. Because we are a Republic, “we the people” are responsible for the outcome of our country. I believed that during our campaign and that gave me the courage to run as an Independent for United States Congress. I believe that now, as a lay citizen of the country and Arlington resident.

ARLnow.com readers are some of the sharpest thinkers in the county. I can surmise this by your razor sharp sense of humor and your follow up research in many of your article comments. You will be happy to know that many of your neighbors are also as sharp, thoughtful and interested in keeping our neighborhoods some of the best places to live in the world. I have been asked to focus this column on local and state issues rather than the federal issues that consumed most of my campaign. Thankfully, there are many of these issues and I am excited to share an independent-minded perspective.

It is harder to be non-partisan. Not just in a campaign but when filtering the news sources and statistics that are often created by “special” interests. I will do my best to remain apolitical when analyzing the issues discussed in this column.  I know you will do your part in keeping me honest.

Thank you for reading this far, caring about Arlington, Virginia and the country. Your citizenship will help us get past the partisanship. With your continued attention, we will always be better tomorrow than we were yesterday.

Capitol Steps to Perform at Yorktown High

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm | 713 views | 7 Comments

Capitol Steps logoThe Capitol Steps comedy troupe will perform at Yorktown High School this weekend as part of a fundraiser.

The group — which was formed when a group of Senate staffers set out to satirize their employers — has been poking fun at Washington politics for more than 30 years. They are regularly featured on National Public Radio and have made appearances on network TV.

The Steps will be performing at the Yorktown High School Auditorium (5200 Yorktown Blvd) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13

The group is coming to Yorktown to benefit the student productions and educational workshops of the school’s theater program. Tickets are available online for $40.

Registration Open for Mardi Gras Parade

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2013 at 10:30 am | 1,165 views | 30 Comments

Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade 2012The 15th annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras parade is five weeks away, and registration is open for organizations and groups that want to march in the parade.

The parade — the largest in the D.C. area — will kick of at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, and run up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to Washington Boulevard. The parade will be preceded by a pre-party at Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) at 5:00 p.m.

Those interested in participating in the parade or volunteering as a parade marshal can now register online.

“Participating in the parade is a great way to have fun — participants can wear masks, dress completely inappropriately, and throw stuff at people,” parade organizer Clarendon Alliance said on its website. “What’s not to like?”

Fifty organizations participated in the 2012 Mardi Gras parade and the Clarendon Alliance is hoping to attract even more participants this year.

Fire at Four Mile Run Drive Condo Building

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2013 at 9:45 am | 1,141 views | 8 Comments

Arlington County fire truckA natural gas-fed fire broke out at the Carlton Condominium building at 4600 S. Four Mile Run Drive this morning, but was quickly extinguished by firefighters.

The fire was reported around 9:00 a.m. in a top floor apartment of the 12-story building. Heavy smoke was seen coming from the apartment upon emergency responders’ arrival. Described as a natural gas-fed kitchen fire, the blaze was quickly knocked down once Arlington County firefighters reached the apartment.

The fire did not spread to other apartments, but smoke did spread to at least two other units. Firefighters are ventilating the smoke now.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,926 views | 50 Comments

D.C. and the Capitol building at night, as seen from Skyline Towers

Arlington’s ‘Bicycle Man’ Dies — Arlington resident Randy Lokke, 62, died late last month. Lokke was known as a prolific follower of local high school sports, riding his bike to games in and around the District. Lokke was a graduate of Wakefield High School. [Georgetowner]

Ovie Returns to Arlington — Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals teammates are back on the practice ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. The Capitals and other NHL teams are expected to begin a 48-game regular season on Jan. 19. [Washington Post]

Chick-fil-A Offers Free Breakfast – D.C. area Chick-fil-A restaurants, including the locations in Ballston and Crystal City, are offering free breakfast entrees through Jan. 30 to those who make “reservations” online. [Chick-fil-A]

Catalog Opt-Out Service Saves Paper — Arlington County says Arlington residents have saved 35,855 lbs of waste by participating in the county-sponsored “Catalog Choice” service. The free service allows residents to opt out of unwanted mail, catalogs and phone books. [Twitter, Arlington County]

Arlington Couple Promoting Phone Holder — An Arlington couple who spent several years and $25,000 to design “DashIT,” a car dashboard hold for smart phones, is selling and promoting the gadget at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by GmdVT. Hat tip to Brendan Lilly.

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