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by ARLnow.com — March 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm 5,585 43 Comments

The Shamrock Crawl logoGet ready for a flood of green-wearing, beer-drinking revelers in the Clarendon and Courthouse area this weekend.

As many as 3,000 people are expected for the Shamrock Bar Crawl, billed as “Arlington’s biggest bar crawl.” The St. Patrick’s Day-themed event is taking place from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday (March 9th).

About 2,500 tickets were sold for the bar crawl as of Tuesday, according to organizer Project DC Events. That apparently includes more than 1,250 tickets sold via Groupon and Living Social.

As of this afternoon, organizers said the bar crawl was sold out due to “high demand.” Some tickets will be available for $20 cash on the day of the event, they via social media, with registration taking place at Mad Rose Tavern and Velocity 5. Other bars participating in the event include Whitlow’s, SoBe, Hunan One, Wilson Tavern, Arlington Rooftop and Mister Days.

Drink specials include $2 Yuenglings, $3 rail drinks, $4 “shamrock shots,” and $5 Irish car bomb shots. Participants — who should be easy to spot thanks to free green beads and “Signature Shamrock mugs” — will also be able to nab $2 cheese pizza slices at Bronx Pizza.

A separate St. Paddy’s Day-themed event, the Four Courts Four Miler race, is taking place at 9:00 a.m. in the Courthouse area. The race is sold out and expected to bring thousands of runners and spectators to Courthouse. A number of road closures are planned for the race.

by Mark Kelly — March 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm 1,102 39 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.

Mark KellyAccording to Arlington County, it will cost $2,858 to produce records in response to a recent FOIA request on the Columbia Pike trolley project.

The FOIA request was for e-mails, memos and other specified documents between county staff, consultants and County Board members in regards to the preference of a particular station for the Skyline trolley stop, the location of the maintenance facility, traffic impacts on Columbia Pike during construction, economic development, and other issues.

Of that $2,858 cost, $2,341 would go to AECOM — the County’s consultant on the project and County Board member Chris Zimmerman’s new employer. The effective rate per hour for AECOM’s work is approximately $180 when you include their expenses and fees. Is it any wonder Zimmerman signed a consulting contract with them? Good work if you can get it.

The county’s share made up the additional $517, a bargain by comparison, at an hourly rate of just under $65 per hour.

No average citizen can fork over $2,858 for copies of these documents. The county seems to be hiding behind this cost to keep the documents out of public view, signaling an aversion to transparency when it comes to the massive project.

What the county staff should do is offer to provide all of their copies of the documents requested for $517. Since the county was in receipt of virtually all requested documents, this seems like a reasonable solution to provide an appropriate level of transparency.

Speaking of numbers that do not add up, the Arlington Public School superintendent recently released a proposed budget for next year.

The total topline spending number in Superintendent Murphy’s budget was $520.4 million. The total projected enrollment is 23,586. For those of you with calculators, that equals $22,063 per student.

According to the superintendent’s budget presentation, however, we will be spending $18,709 per pupil. So, the published amount provided to the public is $3,354 or 18% less than the actual amount.

By my quick “back of the envelope” calculations, it seems as though the superintendent only counts $441 million of the $520 million in his per pupil numbers. I can only assume from his presentation that state and federal aid do not count. However, based on Arlington’s median income, I think we can safely say that Arlington taxpayers pay more than their fair share of state and federal taxes. In other words, Arlingtonians are picking up this share of the school funding tab as well.

I am sure someone has a politically expedient explanation for why this spending does not count in the per pupil calculation. But, it seems disingenuous to people who care about things like accountability, transparency, or even math. This is coming from our school superintendent after all.

Regardless of whether you think we do not spend enough on our schools, too much, or just right, shouldn’t we be honest about what we are actually spending to educate each of our children?

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

by ARLnow.com — March 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm 3,611 19 Comments

(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) A man was awoken last week when another man barged into his bedroom and attempted to beat him with a cane, according to the latest Arlington County crime report.

The alleged incident happened last Tuesday morning. The victim suffered injuries to his hands from the cane and was also punched in the head, according to police. He required stitches for his injuries, we’re told.

From the crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 02/26/13, 4000 block of N. 7th Street. At 9:05 am February 26, a subject forced entry into a room where a victim was sleeping. The subject swung a cane at the victim and then began to punch the victim several times in the face. The victim attempted to flee the room to safety, but the subject bit the victim on his upper left leg. The victim was eventually able to break free and had to flee the room through a window to get to safety. A roommate of the victim was able to call the police. Both the victim and the suspect were transported to Virginia Hospital Center for their injuries. Hubert Leon Willoughby, 52, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. He is currently being held without bond.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — March 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm 743 53 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 CPAThe IRS tax filing deadline is April 15, just over a month away. Fortunately, local tax guru Bobby Grohs is back to answer your tax-related questions.

A Certified Public Accountant and University of Maryland grad, Grohs started Arlington-based Tax Matters LLC in 1998. He 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 be answering you questions in the comment section until 4:30 p.m. 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.

Also, be sure to check out our tax chat from last month.

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 — March 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm 871 5 Comments

Arlington Home Show and Expo logoThe 7th annual Arlington Home Show and Garden Expo will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. this coming Saturday (March 9).

The free event is taking place at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). Arlington County staff will be on hand to answer questions about zoning and permitting, and numerous home builders, remodelers, and other home-related companies will have exhibits and free seminars.

From a county press release:

Looking for home renovation ideas? Have code enforcement or zoning questions? Ask the experts — from both Arlington County staff and industry — at the Saturday, March 9, 2013 Arlington Home Show and Garden Expo, a FREE event.

The Home Show and Garden Expo offers a unique opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with County staff from Inspection Services, Zoning and Code Enforcement, and the Green Home Choice Program. Master Gardeners from the Virginia Cooperative Office also will be available to answer your landscape and gardening questions.

The expo features more than 70 home builders, contractors and specialist vendors, architects, inspectors, realtors, master gardeners, banks, nonprofit organizations. You will find a wealth of information on green products and technologies, with an emphasis on smart and universal design that complies with Arlington County zoning and permit regulations.

Attendees may enter to win a new mini-iPad at the Expo. Door prizes, paid for by sponsors, will be given to the first 100 attendees.

The Home Show and Garden Expo is a collaboration between the County, private and non-profit partners. It aims to support, educate and inspire homeowners to renovate their homes and to provide a venue for local companies to showcase their services and products. The event is partially managed by County staff supported by the federal Community Development Block Grant Program.

More than 5,000 residents have attended the Home Show since its debut in 2007, and more than 1,500 have participated in Home Show seminars.

Classes and seminars at the Home Show include:

  • How to choose and work with contractors
  • How to finance your remodeling project
  • Building codes for remodeling
  • Green remodeling, renewable energy and universal design
  • Gardening and urban landscaping
  • The Landlord Toolkit: Know the Law — (requires pre-registration, call 703-228-3765 or register online)
  • Fair Housing Seminar
  • “Opportunity Knocks” Homeownership programs = $$ for you

The Home Show is organized by Arlington County and the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO).

Disclosure: The Arlington Home Show and Garden Expo is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by ARLnow.com — March 7, 2013 at 11:15 am 537 29 Comments

Park under construction at the corner of Glebe and Randolph (photo by Katie Pyzyk) Glebe and Randolph park planning sketch

Construction is underway on a tiny park near Ballston Common Mall.

The park, adjacent to the Ballston Parking Garage at the corner of Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street, features a pair of bocce courts and enhanced green space. The park is intended to be temporary; the county plans to eventually replace it with a longer-term use.

More about the park from the county website: “Arlington County is constructing interim improvements at Glebe & Randolph Park including two bocce courts, site furnishings, accessible paths, and flowering shrubs that support a variety of butterflies, birds and insects.”

Construction is expected to wrap up “early this summer,” according to parks department planner Scott McPartlin.

by ARLnow.com — March 7, 2013 at 10:00 am 6,086 69 Comments

Arlington DUI checkpoint on St. Patrick's Day 2010 (via ABC7)The Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office will conduct a sobriety checkpoint tomorrow (Friday) night.

The checkpoint is part of ACPD’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” effort, which is funded through federal grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The effort “focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.”

The checkpoint’s location is not announced in advance. According to an ACPD press release:

Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers.  Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication.

The maximum penalty in Virginia for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges.

by ARLnow.com — March 7, 2013 at 9:15 am 1,508 38 Comments

Snow at the corner of Glebe and Pershing at 10:00 a.m. (Flickr pool photo by Ddimic)

World Gym Now ‘Exercise Nation’ — The poorly-reviewed World Gym at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive has changed hands and is now “Exercise Nation,” a small low-cost gym chain with existing locations near Baltimore. Memberships start at $10/month. [Washington Business Journal]

Metro Ramps Up Anti-Harassment Campaign — This month Metro began tracking all forms of sexual harassment, one additional step in the agency’s ongoing anti-harassment campaign. [Greater Greater Washington]

Four Mile Run Watershed Cleanup — Arlington County is organizing a watershed cleanup for Four Mile Run on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will be asked to help clean up at one of several sites along Four Mile Run, Arlington’s largest watershed. [Shirlington Village Blog]

Forum to Feature Streetcar Supporters, Opponents — On April 10, the Arlington Committee of 100 will hold a forum about the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar. A streetcar supporter, Arlington Chamber of Commerce chairman David DeCamp, will face off against a streetcar opponent, “Peter’s Take” columnist and former Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Peter Rousselot. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

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