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by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm 1,507 5 Comments

2011 Clarendon Mardi Gras/St. Patrick's Day ParadeThe annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade starts marching at 8:00 p.m. tonight (Tuesday).

The parade — the largest in the D.C. area — will run up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to Washington Boulevard. Several significant road closures will be in effect as a result. Parade-goers are being encouraged to walk or take Metro.

If you’re looking for something to do before or after the parade (other than watching the State of the Union address) here are a few local Fat Tuesday-themed happenings that might be of interest.

  1. Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) is hosting a “block party” outside the store starting at 5:00 p.m.
  2. Whitlow’s (2854 Wilson Blvd) is offering hurricanes, drink specials and a special menu
  3. Wilson Tavern (2403 Wilson Blvd) is hosting a Mardi Gras party with specials and free beads
  4. Iota Club and Cafe (2832 Wilson Blvd) is hosting a free concert by The Grandsons starting at 8:30 p.m. The event includes free “gumbo shots.”
  5. RiRa Irish Pub (2915 Wilson Blvd) is hosting a live band starting at 7:00 p.m., plus offering $3 drink specials until 9:00 and “beads all over the place”
  6. Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd) is hosting a Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Party “all day long.” DJ Chris Styles will perform, specials will be available and free masquerade masks and beads will be provided.
  7. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (3022 Woodlawn Ave, Falls Church) is hosting a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.

by Peter Rousselot — February 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm 519 14 Comments

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column published on Tuesdays. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter Rousselot

While Virginia Democratic State Senator Henry Marsh was attending President Obama’s inauguration last month, Virginia Republican Senators ambushed their Democratic counterparts, and passed a far-reaching bill to redraw the lines of Virginia’s districts.

On Feb. 6, Republican House Speaker William Howell effectively killed this bill by ruling that the proposed massive Senate redistricting was not a germane amendment to the minor House redistricting bill to which it was attached. One can only imagine what concessions on other legislation were extracted from Virginia Democrats behind the scenes in exchange for Republicans “voluntarily” killing the Senate redistricting bill.

This 2013 Senate Republican redistricting ploy came only two years after Va. Senate Democrats and Va. House Republicans struck a deal in which Democrats allowed Republicans free rein to gerrymander the district lines in the House in exchange for allowing Democrats free rein to gerrymander the district lines in the Senate.

What all these deals have in common: hyper-partisanship by Republicans and Democrats, incumbent protection, and legislators choosing their voters—rather than the other way round. Other states have found better ways to do this, and Virginia should too.

John Miller, a Democratic Senator from Virginia’s 1st Senate District in Newport News, has proposed SB 742—a bill to create a bipartisan Virginia Redistricting Commission to draw the legislative district lines. Senator Miller’s bill certainly isn’t perfect—but it’s a big step up from the chaotic hyper-partisan system Virginia has now.

Even better would be legislation to create a non-partisan redistricting commission. Efforts to do that have been blocked repeatedly by Virginia Republican legislators, most recently when a House of Delegates subcommittee unanimously voted to table such a proposal by Democratic Delegate Betsy Carr of Richmond. Republican opponents of Carr’s proposal claimed there couldn’t be any such thing as a nonpartisan redistricting commission, conveniently ignoring that California and other states have one.

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by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm 8,691 119 Comments

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) A man in a Virginia Tech sweatshirt broke into the lobby of a Virginia Square condominium and passed out on the lobby couch, according to Arlington County Police.

The alleged incident happened early Monday morning, on the 3600 block of 10th Street N. The visibly intoxicated man reportedly damaged the door to the building and “ruined” the couch — although a police spokesman was unable to specify the nature of the damage.

According to Arlington’s daily crime report, the man left before police arrived.

Between 2 am and 7:40 am on February 10, an unknown subject forced entry into the lobby of a condominium. The subject then walked through the lobby and passed out on the lobby couch. The lobby door and couch both sustained damage. The subject is described as a white male in his 20’s, approximately 6’0” tall and 180 lbs. He has brown hair and a light complexion. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a blue and red Nationals hat and an orange VT sweatshirt.

by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm 1,432 72 Comments

Editor’s Note: Ask Me (Almost) Anything is intended to be a local, community-oriented version of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything discussion threads. See below for discussion guidelines.

Bobby Grohs CPATax time is just around the corner. If you have questions about tax preparation or taxes in general — you’re in luck. A local CPA will be answering your questions in the comments section until 4:30 this afternoon.

Certified Public Accountant Bobby Grohs started Arlington-based Tax Matters LLC in 1998. A University of Maryland grad, Grohs specializes in “comprehensive tax and consulting services for clients ranging from individual taxpayers, small businesses and nonprofits located throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area.”

Grohs will do his best to answer reader tax questions in the time allotted. If you’d like to reach him after the discussion is over, head to the Tax Matters website, email info@mytaxmatters.com or call 703-593-7391.

Please note that Mr. Grohs may not be able to answer every question asked. Also please note that in addition to our normal comment policy, we ask that questions and comments be of a civil tone. We welcome tough questions and critical comments, but anything of a mean-spirited nature will be removed.

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by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2013 at 11:45 am 1,505 130 Comments

J. Walter TejadaArlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada has suggested that he’s open to a discussion about imposing a local income tax and using it to fund transportation projects, the Washington Post reports.

A bill that would allow Arlington and other Virginia localities to impose a 1 percent income tax without a voter referendum passed the Virginia state Senate last week. It’s now under consideration in the House of Delegates, although most tax bills face an uphill battle in the Republican-majority body.

(Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County and other jurisdictions are currently authorized to impose a 0.25 to 1 percent income tax, but must first have it approved by voters.)

Tejada told the Post’s Tom Jackman that the Board is following the bill “intently.”

“We’re always trying to find ways to fund transportation projects, and considering we were ranked number one in gridlock, any resources would be helpful,” Tejada said. “We’ve been trying different things, and traffic’s not going anywhere.”

At last month’s meeting, County Board members said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) transportation plan might not raise enough new revenue to meet Northern Virginia’s transportation needs. McDonnell and state lawmakers are currently working to hash out a compromise version of the governor’s proposal.

by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2013 at 10:55 am 53 Comments

Cherrydale resident Omar SamahaRep. Jim Moran (D) will bring local gun control advocate Omar Samaha as his guest to tonight’s State of the Union address.

Samaha, an Arlington resident, has become an outspoken advocate for gun control since his youngest sister, Reema, was killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting. He currently serves as a spokesman for the group Fix Gun Checks.

In January, Moran re-introduced a bill, the ‘NRA Members’ Gun Safety Act, which would require background checks for every gun purchase, among other measures that advocates say are supported by most National Rifle Association members. In a statement, Moran lauded Samaha’s gun violence prevention advocacy.

“Omar and his family suffered a tragic loss at the hands of a mentally ill individual with access to firearms,” Moran said. “I am impressed with his dedication to making our country safer and pleased Omar will be joining me at the State of the Union.”

“Since Omar lost his sister in 2007, our nation has experienced over 20 mass shootings with five or more fatalities,” Moran continued. “Following the Newtown shooting, President Obama took decisive action and demonstrated determined leadership by putting forward a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. Now, Congress must act on this proposal.”

President Obama’s State of the Union address will start tonight (Tuesday) at 9:00 p.m. More about Samaha’s background, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2013 at 9:45 am 26 Comments

Singles map via Trulia (red represents areas with more single women than men, blue represents more men than women)(Updated at 10:10 a.m.) Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood is the best place to look for single men in the D.C. area, according to the real estate website Trulia.

For a blog post called Looking for Love in All the Right Places, Trulia looked at single adults below the age of 65 in some major metropolitan areas, including D.C. The company found that “downtown” employment centers — like Rosslyn — typically have more single men than women, while “uptown” residential areas have a higher ratio of women to men.

Rosslyn was recognized as the highest men-to-women ratio in a ZIP code (22209) with at least 1,000 population and 20 percent population alone. Similarly, Upper Connecticut Avenue in D.C. took the honor of the highest women-to-men ratio.

While Rosslyn took the regional title, the Crystal City/Pentagon City area also looked like fertile ground, with more single men than women. Parts of southwestern Arlington — including Shirlington and Fairlington — had the county’s highest ratio of single women to men. The Clarendon, Courthouse and Ballston area collectively had a slightly higher ration of women to men.

Map via Trulia

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