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by ARLnow.com — March 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm 958 33 Comments

Silver LineThose wishing to learn more about Silver Line can do so at an open house in Arlington this weekend.

Metro is organizing the event in advance of the Silver Line’s expected completion and opening late this year. The public is invited to learn about changes to Orange and Blue Line service that will accompany the Silver Line’s opening, and to speak with and ask questions of Metro officials.

The open house is taking place at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel (1800 Jefferson Davis Highway) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this coming Saturday, March 16.

In addition to the informational portion of the event, there will be children’s activities, free snacks and and a raffle. The Arlington open house is one of three planned this week.

The Silver Line will at first run to Tysons Corner and Reston. A second phase of the project, which will take several more additional years to build, will connect with Dulles International Airport.

by Jason Howell — March 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm 1,061 30 Comments

Independent’s Day is an occasional 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 HowellTo our elected officials, a request: please deal with the issue behind the immigration issue. Like everything this year, immigration reform will eventually rely on available resources.

Last Saturday I attended an event in Falls Church hosted by what was called the “Virginians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform — Strategy Meeting.”

In attendance were various notables from the political and immigration reform community. There was Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada, 49th District Delegate Alfonso Lopez, and representatives from every one of Virginia’s eleven U.S. Congressional Districts. Also present were representatives from Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine’s offices, as well as the organizer of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), Chair Edgar Aranda-Yanoc.

Stated briefly, the goals were to:

  1. Create some consensus around the principles of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) debate.
  2. Form a strategy on creating awareness around current CIR legislation being considered and advocate for its urgency.

It was quite an afternoon. The event had no partisan intent, but politics were very much on the lips of the presenters (as a means to an end). Leni Gonzalez, from the League of United Latin American Citizens Council (LULAC), took the time to describe each Congressman’s position on immigration reform. She referenced both where each had been on the issue and where they needed some “gentle pushing.” The afternoon was a call for not just vocal but political participation on one of this year’s most provocative issues.

Not surprisingly, our neighbors had a broad and deep knowledge of the issues affecting immigrants, though not everyone was in agreement with all of the fixes being discussed. A question was asked regarding to what extent people of dissenting views were invited. The answer was muddled or mumbled, I can’t remember which, but it made clear the challenges associated with “grass roots” organizations when in their infancy. This group is just now coming together when legislation is imminent. Taken in the context of a Senate bill that may be completed by early April, the urgency for a clear consensus on the needs of stakeholders (families, businesses, first responders, etc.) is apparent but perhaps unlikely.

I happen to agree that eleven million people will not “self-deport” and should be given a mechanism for legal status; one that neither overwhelms our systems for processing them nor disenfranchises those who have endured years-long waiting periods.

But to properly begin dealing with the immigration issue, we will need to ensure that there are resources, both human and financial, that can undertake whatever decisions our politicians make. To truly “go big” we should first address the underlying resource limitations.

The US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency tasked with legal immigration into the United States. It does not cost taxpayers anything; its costs are funded by the ones doing the “immigrating.” As with all user-fee agencies, USCIS funds are sent to the federal government’s General Fund at the end of the year and later must be appropriated back to have its budget funded. But there is no guarantee that the funding will match the revenue that was generated or could be generated by USCIS.

If we changed the law to allow USCIS to expand, in direct relationship to the demand upon its services, we could see improved efficiency, encourage legal immigration and give hope to federal workers; hope that the pile of green card applications on their desk may one day become manageable. And all it would cost U.S. taxpayers is a little creativity — a change in how we appropriate funds to user-fee agencies.

We would then be dealing with the issue behind the issue of legal immigration.

Jason Howell, a former accountant and motivational speakerran as an independent candidate for U.S. Congress in 2012.

by ARLnow.com — March 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm 777 6 Comments

Outdated flyer received by about 4,000 Arlington householdsAbout 4,000 Arlington households received a flyer in their water bill this month advertising a county E-CARE recycling event.

The only problem is, the flyer advertised the E-CARE event that happened this past October. A spokeswoman for the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services says the mix-up happened due to a printing error made by a county vendor. The flyer was supposed to advertise the spring E-CARE event that’s happening on April 20.

“The correct flyers are now being printed and will be sent out at no cost to the County,” spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel told ARLnow.com. “The flyers will be accompanied by a note explaining the error.”

E-CARE allows residents to safely dispose of electronics and hazardous household items. The next event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Rd).

Photo courtesy @poiuytr

by ARLnow.com — March 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm 3,702 51 Comments

Arlington County Police Department badgeThere was a tense moment for Arlington County Police today as officers confronted a man dressed in camouflage and armed with a shotgun near Rosslyn.

The incident happened just before noon on the 2100 block of N. Scott Street, in the North Highlands neighborhood. A resident called police, reporting a man dressed in camouflage in the woods of Dawson Terrace Park. The man was pointing a shotgun at something, the caller said.

Officers located the man, ordered him to drop the weapon and then took him into custody. Upon further questioning, officers determined that the man was an Art Institute student videotaping himself for a school project, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The man was informed that possessing a firearm is prohibited in county parks, then released without charges.

“He was not aware that he was in the wrong,” Sternbeck said. “No charges were filed. He just packed up his truck and left.”

by ARLnow.com — March 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm 2 Comments

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Buster, a boisterous four-year-old cockapoo who is defying the odds. This Ballston pooch has proven that living with epilepsy doesn’t have to mean living life sick as a dog.

Here’s what Buster’s owners had to say about him:

Not only is he cute, loving, and hilarious, he’s living with epilepsy and still enjoys life to the fullest. Every morning and evening, Buster must take multiple medications to help with his seizures and these medications have side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness. But that doesn’t stop our little Buster!

Buster brings a smile to everyone he meets. He enjoys playing with his toys, especially toys that squeak. His idea of playing fetch is when you throw a ball, he retrieves it, and then you chase him around to get it back. Buster is also super smart and has a way with the ladies. He’ll come up to you while you’re eating, looking all cute and innocent, and then swipe your sandwich. And yes, we took him to obedience school. He just didn’t pay attention, I guess!

Buster has been an Arlington dog since he was born. He loves the Clarendon dog park, hanging out at Northside Social and Whitlows on sunny days, and walking by Pinkberry hoping to get a taste of someone’s frozen yogurt. Buster is a special dog and he’s brought so much joy into our lives.

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. Each week’s winner receives a $25 Dogma gift card.

by ARLnow.com — March 13, 2013 at 11:15 am 36 Comments

Proposed Tyrol Hill Park improvementsThe Arlington County Board will consider approving $2.5 million worth of Neighborhood Conservation Program projects at its meeting on Saturday.

Out of the 27 projects considered by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee in December, five were recommended for funding.

  • Park improvements at Tyrol Hill Park in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood. Improvements — pictured, left — include demolition of the old existing play area, construction of a new tot and school-age play area, accessibility improvements, new concrete walkways, new site furnishings and a new water fountain. ($670,000)
  • Street improvements on N. Buchanan Street between 24th Road and 24th Street N., in the the Old Dominion neighborhood. The project proposes a 24-foot wide roadway, curb and gutter improvements, and a 5-foot wide sidewalk on either side of N. Buchanan Street. ($310,246)
  • New streetlights on 9th Street, 7th Street and S. Highland Street in the Arlington Heights neighborhood. The project will install “Carlyle style” LED lights. ($477,339)
  • Park improvements at Chestnut Hills Park in the Yorktown neighborhood. The project includes “frontage and beautification improvements,” as well as new benches, a new accessible pathway to a portable toilet, a new enclosure for the toilet and pedestrian safety improvements. ($708,776)
  • New streetlights on N. Cleveland Street between 1st Road N. to Washington Blvd, in the Lyon Park neighborhood. The project will install “Carlyle style” LED lights. ($147,843)

This round of Neighborhood Conservation funding also includes $200,000 for “missing link” projects.

Funding for the projects will be provided through Neighborhood Conservation bonds. The Neighborhood Conservation program allows neighborhood groups to apply to the county for public improvements requested by residents.

by ARLnow.com — March 13, 2013 at 10:15 am 1,241 66 Comments

Virginia ABC store in Rosslyn (photo via Google Maps)The Virginia ABC store at 1731 Wilson Blvd, in the Rosslyn area, will be closing next month.

The liquor store “will close sometime around April 20,” Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control spokeswoman Carol Mawyer confirmed to ARLnow.com. She said the store will not be renewing its lease.

“We are closing this store because it is in a leased property and our lease expires April 30,” said Mawyer. It’s the second high-profile business to close in the historic Colonial Village Shopping Center so far this year. In January, Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger Too closed due to a landlord-tenant dispute.

ABC customers in the area will now have to find another store to shop at, such as the Virginia ABC store at 1001 N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon, in the Clarendon Self Storage II Complex. That store is about a mile away.

“ABC operates seven other stores in Arlington for our customers’ convenience,” Mawyer said. “There are another three stores (for a total of 10) within a 5-mile radius of the Wilson Boulevard property.”

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — March 13, 2013 at 9:20 am 1,732 55 Comments

A seagull and a view of Rosslyn (photo courtesy Scott Shelbo)

Lane Markings Repainted Near Pentagon — The lane markings on Route 110 near the Pentagon were repainted this week after NBC4 alerted VDOT to “awkward lane markings” left there by construction work. Before the repainting, “motorists drove along seemingly in one lane, only to have that lane disappear right under them,” NBC4′s Adam Tuss said. [NBC Washington]

Va. Anti-Sodomy Law Overturned — A U.S. appeals court panel has ruled that Virginia’s anti-sodomy law is unconstitutional. The case involved a man accused of soliciting sodomy with a 17-year-old girl. One of the judges said that “Virginia can and should punish adults who have sexual relations with minors, but the state cannot use an unconstitutional law to do so.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Arlington Plans to Sell $264 Million in Bonds — Arlington County is planning to sell up to $264 million in municipal bonds next month. The sale would include $94 million in new bonds and $170 million in refinanced existing bonds. The debt service on the new bonds will add about $8.7 million per year to the county’s budget. [Sun Gazette]

Moran Calls for Action on Climate Change — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) took to the House floor on Tuesday to call for Congress to take action to “prevent further damage from climate change by developing a long-term strategy to address the issue.” [YouTube]

Photo courtesy Scott Shelbo

by ARLnow.com — March 13, 2013 at 8:00 am 646 0

matrix_logo_inc_tapline_urlEditor’s Note: Help Wanted Highlight is an occasional, sponsored feature that highlights job openings at local companies.

Matrix Group needs your help!

We have dozens and dozens of Sitefinity and WordPress sites. Since we host, manage and enhance our clients’ websites on a regular basis, we now have need for a Staff Developer who can take ownership of the CMS upgrades: perform them, develop best practices and guide our new implementations so that they are more easily upgraded in the future.

You will:

  • Stay up to date with the latest news and trends with Sitefinity and WordPress. You’ll subscribe to news feeds and security bulletins, you’ll read all the release notes and you’ll be the expert on new versions.
  • Be part of the team that evaluates new versions and creates an upgrade plan for each client site.
  • Perform upgrades on client development sites and then figure out what breaks and what needs tweaking.
  • Be an active participant in the web communities for Sitefinity and WordPress.
  • Be a star troubleshooter because sometimes, s**t just breaks during upgrades and someone has to be the hero and fix things.
  • Brief Project Managers and Directors on what’s new, what’s hot, and what’s now possible.
  • Work with the Director of Software Engineering to continually define best practices for implementing CMS systems.

This is the perfect position for someone who likes to work on a lot of different sites, likes to be the expert on a couple of platforms, and is a great troubleshooter. You’ll need to work fast and your work needs to be good.

(more…)

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