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by ARLnow.com — February 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm 514 16 Comments

Ray LahoodOutgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will speak at a “school bus celebration” at Arlington’s Tuckahoe Elementary School next week.

The event, on Feb. 12, is being organized by the American School Bus Council for its Love the Bus campaign. The campaign is intended to “raise awareness and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport children to and from school.”

The American School Bus Council is supported in part by school bus manufacturers.

Tuckahoe students will hear speeches from LaHood and local officials about “being respectful to their bus drivers and appreciating the safety, environmental, and congestion mitigation benefits of the yellow school bus.”

The event comes with a bit of irony — Arlington Public Schools ran into controversy at the beginning of the school year when administrators announced that hundreds of students were no longer eligible to ride the bus to school.

The press release about the Love the Bus event, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — December 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm 1,290 38 Comments

For the past few months, we’ve been hearing anecdotal evidence of a rodent resurgence in Arlington.

At least one well-known local civic leader has privately identified the burgeoning rat population in the Clarendon area as a significant problem facing the county. And then we get emails like the following:

I’m interested in whether or not there’s been an uptick recently in Arlington residents reporting rodents in their homes? Recently, I found a pair of rats that had made a home in the wall of my 6th Street S. ground floor apartment. I’d heard from coworkers and neighbors that they’ve been finding mice recently too. Apparently we’re experiencing a perfect storm of conditions that can cause rodents to enter homes: cold weather, construction nearby (we have alot), [and] heavy acorn/nut production.

Cold weather does drive mice to take shelter in buildings and construction has been known to send rats scurrying. The bumper crop of acorns is indeed credited with fattening up local squirrels — we’re not sure if mice and rats are benefiting as well.

The rodent problem has the email listserve of at least one South Arlington neighborhood buzzing.

In Alcova Heights, neighbors are sharing rodent control tips with one another. Among those weighing in are a few conflicted animal lovers, who are searching for a more humane way to get rid of the pests.

One resident expressed frustration with the options.

Well, these mice are turning out to be extremely smart…or the humane trap is not extremely well designed. I put peanut butter in there, thinking they’d spend a little more time while the doors closed and then I actually thought about driving them out to the woods where there might be an abandoned structure or something they could live in. But they keep slipping away. I will probably need to take harsher measures, but you should have seen them staring up at us last year after we poisoned them. Like they were asking us for help, and to stop. So sad… I may be a soft heart when it comes to animals.

Another mentioned an alternative method of mouse execution.

I told you my story of how it broke my heart to kill them. I was crying, so; I understand exactly how you felt last year. I “kills” me to see any animal suffer. I do not know any good ways to get rid of them – I just know that it is best “to” get rid of them because they are very hard once they get a foothold.

I guess you could do like the one person suggested and put them in your freezer to have a peaceful freezer death…. However, then you might need to replace your freezer….I know I would!

Finally, one resident elaborated on the method. We’re still not sure how you’re supposed to get the mouse in the bag, though.

Put them in air tight zip lock freezer bag, before freezing. Leave them there overnight, the next day put them in the regular trash (outside).

Where are you finding rodents, and what, if anything ,are you doing to “thin the herd,” so to speak?

by ARLnow.com — November 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm 425 2 Comments

Police just broadcast a lookout for a vehicle involved in a hit and run at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and 10th Street in Clarendon.

The vehicle that allegedly fled the scene is described as having the name of a driving school on the side.

by ARLnow.com — July 29, 2010 at 8:14 am 4,365 120 Comments

On April 27, Cheryl Simmons walked out of the Arlington County Detention Facility, having served 23 days in jail for a probation violation. About a month later, while still on parole, she became one of the top signature collectors for the Committee for a Better Arlington, the group formed by the police and fire unions to get a proposed change to Arlington’s form of government on the November ballot.

Simmons, who was hired by a contractor that specializes in collecting petition signatures, should have been well-known to local law enforcement, had they seen her collecting signatures on their behalf.

In 2006, Simmons was arrested for shoplifting and giving her family unauthorized discounts at the Arlington Hecht’s department store, where she worked, according to Arlington Police spokesperson Crystal Nosal. Court records show she plead guilty to felony embezzlement — a more serious charge since it was her third offense — and was sentenced to three years probation.

Late last year she was in trouble again, for passing a bad check at a check cashing store on Columbia Pike, police said. She served jail time between January and February for the charge, and in April for the probation violation, according to the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

Despite the rap sheet, Simmons was able to get hired by the contractor a month after her release, and apparently found the motivation to collect the third-highest number of signatures for the petition effort, with 2,916.

“That would be a shock to me,” said police union president Ken Dennis, upon learning of Simmons’ criminal background last night. “We just hired a company that had good references… I’m disappointed that they had this person on their staff.”

Dennis said he had never met Simmons nor heard her name mentioned.

Late Wednesday, after a “concerned citizen” brought the felony charge to the attention of election officials, Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg disqualified the 2,214 otherwise valid signatures submitted by Simmons, according to a person familiar with the situation. Only registered Arlington voters (correction: only individuals eligible to register to vote) are permitted to collect signatures for initiatives in the county, and as a felon Simmons would have been ineligible to vote.

Earlier this week, the anti-petition Coalition for Arlington Good Government alleged that Simmons may not have collected the now-disqualified signatures herself. Instead, CAGG said, the Arlington resident and another top signature collector, Natasha Robinson, may have signed off on petition sheets collected by out-of-town signature collectors brought in by the contractor. So far, there has only been circumstantial evidence to support the claim.

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by ARLnow.com — June 14, 2010 at 6:42 am 699 2 Comments

In an ironic twist, Arlington taxpayers, who have already paid nearly three quarters of a million dollars to fight the state and federal plan to build high occupancy toll lanes on I-395, may end up partially footing the bill for the eventual construction of the lanes.

Uriah Kiser of InsideNoVA.com reports that state transportation officials are considering a plan that would use taxpayer dollars to supplement private funding for the construction of HOT lanes. Previously, officials had said that the lanes would be wholly funded by a private company, in exchange for a long-term lease on the lanes.

The two companies in contention for building and leasing the lanes — Texas-based Fluor and Australia-based Transurban — have both had difficulty finding investors for the project. The companies have also recently donated a large sum of money to the Virginia Republican Party.

The private law firm representing Arlington County in its lawsuit against the HOT lane plan has been paid $744,000, according to the Sun Gazette.

by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm 608 2 Comments

This weekend hundreds of Twilight fans converged on at the Sheraton National Hotel on Columbia Pike for the Official Twilight Convention. They met a few of their favorite supporting characters, discussed the upcoming Twilight movie in great detail and held a costume ball.

But they weren’t the only group using the hotel this weekend.  The Nation of Islam was also holding some sort of sizable meeting, complete with guests in suits and bow ties and the occasional white robe and red star-imprinted headgear.

If anybody was there, please send us a photo of these two worlds colliding at the continental breakfast line.

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