55°Partly Cloudy

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm 693 0

Arlington County and the surrounding area is currently under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning.

From the National Weather Service:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… SOUTHERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… NORTHERN CHARLES COUNTY IN SOUTHERN MARYLAND… EASTERN CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… EASTERN PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… EASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…

* UNTIL 1130 PM EDT

* AT 1041 PM EDT… SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WERE DETECTED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM CHEVY CHASE TO ALEXANDRIA TO WOODBRIDGE… AND WERE MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH. THIS LINE OF STORMS IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… TAKOMA PARK… NATIONALS PARK… NATIONAL HARBOR… THE DISTRICT… LANGLEY PARK… HYATTSVILLE… FORT WASHINGTON… KENILWORTH…

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

THIS IS A DANGEROUS LINE OF STORMS. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH… MOVE INDOORS TO A STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO… REPORT SEVERE WEATHER TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm 0

Metro logo on an Orange Line stationMetro’s ongoing system rehabilitation project will make Ballston the end of the Orange Line this weekend.

The Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, and East Falls Church stations will all be closed from 10:00 p.m. Friday to system closing on Monday (Memorial Day). The closures will allow crews to perform switch replacements, rail joint eliminations and tie and insulator renewal, Metro said.

Orange Line trains will operate between Ballston and New Carrollton at normal weekend intervals.

Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Ballston and Vienna. Express buses will run directly from Ballston to Vienna and back, while local buses will stop at all the stations in between. Metro says those taking local buses should add up to 40 minutes to their travel time, while those taking the express bus should add 25 minutes.

by Peter Rousselot — May 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm 1,578 0

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

Peter RousselotLast Saturday, the Republican Party of Virginia (RPVA) nominated a statewide ticket that will be a real turn-off for a large segment of Republicans in Arlington.

Ken Cuccinelli for Governor

As I have previously written, Ken Cuccinelli has an extreme anti-women agenda, including support for a “personhood” law that would end or cripple a series of personal rights that women in Arlington and the rest of Virginia have enjoyed for decades, such as:

  • Birth control
  • Fertility treatment
  • Management of a miscarriage
  • Access to safe and legal abortions

Cuccinelli holds many other extreme positions that are unappealing to large numbers of Arlington Republicans, including his attacks on academic freedom and his war on science. Rather than balancing Cuccinelli with two other more moderate candidates, the RPVA instead chose two candidates with even more extreme views.

E.W. Jackson for Lieutenant Governor

This is Mr. Jackson’s message for the gay and lesbian community: “Gays and lesbians have ‘perverted’ minds and are ‘very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally,’ … [they] seek societal approval because ‘they’ll never feel satisfied because in their heart of hearts’ they know ‘it is immoral, it is perverse, it is degenerate.’”

Mr. Jackson believes that gay marriage is like “spitting in the face of every bible-believing Christian in America.” Mr. Jackson thinks that Planned Parenthood has been “far more lethal to Black lives than the KKK ever was.”

RPVA is sponsoring Mr. Jackson as someone who deserves to be a heartbeat away from the Virginia governorship.

(more…)

by Mark Kelly — May 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm 343 0

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column 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 KellyAs the fiscal year winds down here in Arlington, I wanted to touch on two lesser known facts about the budget process.

Fact Number One: When the County Board passed the tax rate increase last month, it applied retroactively to January 1st of this year, not to the next fiscal year which begins July 1st.

If you have a mortgage, that new obligation is settled between the County and the financial institution you make payments to each month. Chances are your escrow account has more than enough cushion to cover the difference. If you have paid off your property, you will be writing the bigger checks immediately to cover the costs. If you rent, your landlord has probably built this assumption into your rate increases as your leases are up for renewal.

Fact Number Two: The county underestimates revenue collections every year for the budget that is approved. For fiscal years 2010 to 2012, the average was $37 million – roughly 3.5 percent on average each year.

It is more than a bit disheartening that every year we bring in more revenue than is estimated, yet we are always hearing about budget “shortfalls” as the reason to increase taxes.

What does the County Board do with the excess revenue? They spend it on new projects outside of the regular budget process in what is known as the “close-out” process. The close-out process is in place primarily to allow the Board to re-allocate millions of dollars that have been budgeted for, but not spent, for a variety of reasons.

If the Board had applied all of the excess revenue in last year’s close-out to offsetting this year’s budget, we could have seen our tax burden held steady without cutting one penny from the services promised as part of this year’s adopted budget. The Board did carry forward $12.9 million from last year’s close-out process to apply to this year’s budget, so I guess we can be grateful that our taxes were not raised even more.

It is still a few months before the County Board will close the books on fiscal year 2013. The unfortunate reality is that the close-out process will once again result in additional spending projects rather than giving us a little tax relief.

The County Board should start by explaining why county staff consistently underestimates revenue year after year. The Board should commit to end the use of the close-out process to spend money on items that were not vetted as a part of the regular budget process, nor to raise total spending for the year over the adopted fiscal year budget.

In short, the Board should confine its close-out decisions to re-allocating already budgeted spending and treat the adopted budget each year as a ceiling, not a floor.

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

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm 1,141 0

Lyon Village sprayground park (via Arlington County)Arlington’s three existing sprayground parks will open for the season this weekend.

The three parks — Drew Playground (3514 22nd Street S.), Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street) and Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) — will open on Saturday will remain in service until Labor Day weekend. Hours of operation can be found online.

All three parks will be open from noon to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Memorial Day, according to Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. (On holidays, like Memorial Day and July 4, normal hours are preempted and the parks are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)

The new sprayground at Virginia Highlands park is expected to open “in a couple of weeks,” Kalish said.

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2013 at 11:45 am 2,363 0

Yesterday, an email was sent from Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy to Yorktown High School staff, informing them that classes had been cancelled for the remainder of the day.

The only problem? The email was a fake and was not actually sent by Dr. Murphy. According to a tipster, the email read:

Dear Staff,

Due to recent events, all Yorktown classes periods 7 and 8 will be cancelled. Please take appropriate measures and inform the sudents [sic] that they will be released early today, Wednesday May 22.

Have a nice day,

Pat Murphy

Unfortunately for students, Yorktown teachers and administrators didn’t fall for it. Yorktown was dismissed at its normal time, according to Arlington Public Schools spokeswoman Linda Erdos.

Erdos said the schools Information Services department is investigating the fake email. It’s unclear if the superintendent’s email account was hacked or if his email address was simply spoofed.

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2013 at 10:45 am 1,683 0

Rolling Thunder rally in the Pentagon north parking lot (file photo)

(Updated on 5/24/13) The annual motorcycle rally known as Rolling Thunder will rumble into Arlington tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.

As in previous years, residents who live along I-395 and Route 1 can expect to hear the roar of motorcycle engines as hundreds of bikers make their way to the rally’s official hotel, the Hyatt Regency at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City.

According to the event’s official schedule, Rolling Thunder participants are expected to arrive at the hotel around 3:00 p.m. Friday.

Also on the event’s Memorial Day weekend agenda: a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C. at 9:00 p.m. Friday, music and speakers at the Reflecting Pool from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, and a rally in the Pentagon parking lot from 7:00 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

Drivers can expect some road closures around the Pentagon on Sunday morning as a result of the rally. From Arlington County:

The Arlington County Police Department will close part of Washington Boulevard near the Pentagon on Sunday, May 26, 2013, for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally. From 7:00 a.m. to approximately 4:00 p.m., Washington Blvd. (Route 27) will be closed from I-395 to the Memorial Bridge.

In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110.

Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area this weekend.

Rolling Thunder is now in its 26th year.

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2013 at 9:45 am 0

Traffic on the 14th Street Bridge (7/14/11)Fewer Washington area residents plan on traveling this Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The organization forecasts that 873,500 area residents will travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend, down nearly 2 percent from 890,600 last year.

Of those traveling, 795,000 (91 percent) will travel by car and 58,500 (6.6 percent) will travel by plane, AAA said. The air travel forecast is 10 percent below the 65,106 residents who traveled by air around this time last year.

The association blamed the drop in travel on the federal government sequester.

“Call it the ‘sequester siesta’ or ‘sequestration frustration’ and it is pulling down government spending across the national capital area,” AAA said in a press release. “Although they traveled at this time last year, many would-be travelers say they are cutting back on their vacation and sunny day travel plans for the time being. The sequester is lasting longer than first expected, and now most local workers are assuming the across-the-board federal spending cuts will continue throughout the summer months, the busiest travel season of the year, and it appears they are adopting a wait-and-see attitude.”

Of those traveling this weekend, almost two thirds are visiting family or friends. AAA says a third of all local travelers are going to a waterfront destination like the Maryland or Delaware shore.

So are you taking a “sequester siesta,” as AAA calls it, or are you planning to travel out of town this Memorial Day weekend?

 

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am 1,525 0

Drops of water on leaves by CG Liacouras

Man Shot By Arlington Sheriff Worked for TV Show — Julian Dawkins, the 22-year-old man shot and killed by an off-duty Arlington deputy sheriff in Alexandria early Wednesday, worked as a shuttle bus driver for the PBS Newshour in Shirlington. He was also the cousin of  Washington Mystics player Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. [NBC Washington]

Chamber’s ‘Best Business’ Awards — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has handed out its 2013 Arlington’s Best Business awards. The winners were: John Marshall Bank (Business of the Year), Dante Consulting (Business of the Year), InfoLock Technologies (Technology Small Business of the Year), Minuteman Press Crystal City (Service Small Business of the Year), House of Steep (Retail Small Business of the Year), AHC Inc. (Non-Profit Small Business of the Year), BbG Fitness (Home-Based Business of the Year Award). [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Sells $77 Million in Bonds — Arlington County issued $77 million worth of bonds at an average interest rate of 3.6 percent on Tuesday. The bonds will help fund the acquisition of the office building at 2020 14th Street N, for use as a year-round homeless shelter and for county offices, and for the affordable housing redevelopment of Buckingham Village 3. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy CG Liacouras

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