Family Remembers Homicide Victim — As Arlington police search for the man who killed a Columbia Pike jewelry shop owner on Friday, the family of the victim is speaking out. The victim’s daughter said her dad, 52-year-old Tommy Wong of Herndon, had owned Capital Jewelers at 3219 Columbia Pike for the past 5 years. “I just want to know why didn’t he take what he needed and leave my dad alone,” she said tearfully in a TV interview. [WUSA 9]
Tobacco Use Down Among Arlington Youth – Arlington youths are using less tobacco but are using more marijuana, according to the latest survey by the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. The survey results point to a continuation of a decade-long trend of declining tobacco use and increasing marijuana use among Arlington youth. [Sun Gazette]
Obituary for Local Business Leader – An obituary has been published for Syd Albrittain, the chief executive of local developer Dittmar Co., who died at the age of 82 last month. In addition to helping Arlington achieve its vision for transit-oriented development, Albrittain gave millions to local organizations like Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School, the Catholic Archdiocese of Arlington, Virginia Hospital Center and the Arlington Free Clinic. [Washington Post]
Anti-Obama Metro Ad to Stay — A controversial advertisement in the Clarendon Metro station that tells President Obama to “go to hell” will not be taken down early. Metro General Manager Richard Sarles says he’s offended by the ad, but Metro cannot legally remove the ad due to its content. The ad is scheduled to be taken down on Sunday, March 11 following the end of a one month run. [NBC Washington]
Rosslyn as San Francisco — Civic boosters once tried to brand Rosslyn as “Manhattan on the Potomac.” But Arlington’s new planning director has another comparison in mind. He says Rosslyn reminds him of San Francisco. [Ode Street Tribune]
Couric Honored By State — The late John Couric, who died last year, has been honored by the Virginia General Assembly. Couric, an Arlington resident, was recognized in a memorial resolution sponsored by state Sen. Barbara Favola. In addition to being a Navy veteran, journalist and public relations executive, Couric is also well known for being the father of broadcaster Katie Couric. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Man Busted for Illegal Cigs — A 25-year-old Arlington man has been arrested in Delaware and accused of trying to transport 574 cartons of untaxed cigarettes from Virginia to New York City, where he intended to sell them. [WGMD]
Del. Patrick Hope (D), who represents part of Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates, has proposed a bill that would raise taxes on tobacco products to fill several gaps in the state’s Medicaid budget.
The bill would raise the tax on cigarettes from the current $0.015 per cigarette to the national average of $0.0725 per cigarette, or $1.45 per pack. Virginia currently has the lowest cigarette tax in the U.S.
The bill would also raise the tax on snuff and other tobacco products. Cigars would be taxed at 50 percent of the wholesale price, up from 10 percent.
Hope’s legislation would direct 52 percent of the additional tax revenue (estimated at about $250 million) to fund Medicare waivers for intellectual and developmental disabilities. Forty percent of the revenue (about $150 million) would go to Medicaid reimbursement for physicians and hospitals. And 8 percent (about $30 million) would be split among the state tobacco quitline and a youth tobacco prevention program.
“Virginia’s Medicaid budget is on an unsustainable course,” Hope said in a statement. “Cuts to Medicaid only result in higher costs down the road. The sick end up in the hospital and ERs for costly medical procedures and avoidable hospitalizations; and individuals with disabilities wind up in institutions rather than being served in their communities for a fraction of the cost. This proposal will take a significant step in preserving and protecting the Medicaid program for future generations and will fulfill a promise to Virginia’s families.”
What do you think?
Virginia has traditionally been one of the more tobacco-friendly states in the country, making consideration and passage of such a bill an uphill battle. Hope has received public words of encouragement, however, from a number of influential health-related organizations, like the Medical Society of Virginia, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
See the press release prepared by Hope’s office, after the jump.