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by Chris Teale June 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm 0

It’s been another busy week in Arlington, even as the county prepares for next week’s Independence Day celebrations.

Here are our five most popular stories from this week:

  1. Dozens of Dirt Bikes, ATV Rumbled Past Crystal City Last Night
  2. BREAKING: Man Pinned Under Collapsed Wall
  3. Expert: Arlington Home Values Have Largely Rebounded Since 2008 Crisis
  4. BREAKING: ART Bus Rolls Into SUV, Yard in Nauck
  5. Continental Beer Garden To Open Tomorrow In Rosslyn

Feel free to discuss those topics or anything else of local interest in the comments. And never fear, we’ll be back on Monday. Have a great weekend!

by Brooke Giles June 30, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Drivers should expect to see more Virginia State Police troopers on patrol this Independence Day weekend.

State police are urging motorists to be safe on the Commonwealth’s roads and highways, after 15 people were killed in crashes throughout the state this past weekend.

State police expect a record breaking number of travelers this weekend and are stepping up patrols with the goal of reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failure to wear a seat belt.

More from a Virginia State Police press release:

RICHMOND – With a “record-breaking” number of travelers forecasted for the 2017 Independence Day weekend and the recent rash of fatal crashes in Virginia since the official start of summer, the Virginia State Police is urging all motorists to put traffic safety at the top of their list of holiday priorities. This past weekend, 15 people were killed in traffic crashes across the Commonwealth. Those who lost their lives in traffic crashes June 23-25, 2017, included drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians ranging from 4 months to 74 years of age.

To ensure the Fourth of July holiday is as safe as possible, Virginia State Police will increase patrols during the long holiday weekend. Beginning Saturday, July 1, VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. The 2017 July Fourth statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017, and continues through midnight Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

“Halfway through 2017, there have already been 20 more traffic deaths compared to this date in 2016,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Let’s try to turn this year around and work towards saving lives, beginning with this July Fourth weekend. Traffic crashes and deaths are prevented when drivers and passengers simply follow the rules of the road – this includes never driving impaired, avoiding distractions while driving and always wearing a seatbelt.”

During the 2016 July Fourth weekend, Virginia troopers arrested 106 drunk drivers and cited 9,487 speeders and 2,590 reckless drivers. They also cited 821 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt and 360 motorists for child safety seat violations during the four-day statistical counting period.

With increased patrols, state police also remind drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

by Chris Teale June 30, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

County Manager Mark Schwartz announced Friday he is recommending lights for two synthetic turf fields near Williamsburg Middle School and Discovery Elementary School.

Schwartz recommended that the two fields be lit with shielded LED lights that could be dimmed during evening play, and that lights be left on no later than 9:45 p.m. Eighty-four lights would be installed on six 80-foot poles to light the fields.

Schwartz said in a statement:

I appreciate the hard work that the Williamsburg Fields Evaluation Work Group put into assessing the risks and benefits of lighting the Williamsburg fields. Their thoughtful evaluation formed the foundation of my recommendation.

This was not an easy call, but the county’s policy is that we light synthetic turf fields, and I am convinced, by our experience in lighting other fields in residential neighborhoods, that we can mitigate whatever adverse impacts lights might have. Our entire community will benefit from providing more playing time for our growing number of young people who are playing field sports.

The recommendation has brought a strong reaction from local residents, who delivered a petition with more than 550 signatures against lights on the fields to the County Board.

The Board previously appointed the Williamsburg Field Site Evaluation Work Group to study the effects of lights and propose options, but Gail Harrison, a member of the group, said it was not presented with the plan Schwartz has advanced until a few days before its last meeting.

Harrison said the “11th-hour proposal” by lighting company Musco was a “fundamental breach of the public process.” Harrison said adding lights is not appropriate for the Rock Spring neighborhood.

“The [Rock Spring] Civic Association surrounding the fields has taken a strong and consistent position over many years that field lights at this location are incompatible with the character of the neighborhood,” Harrison told ARLnow on Friday afternoon. “The neighborhood civic association has stressed going back to at least 2009 or before that, its intention to try to preserve the neighborhood in its natural condition, to minimize traffic, to protect wildlife habitat and the tree canopy. The proposal would be inconsistent with all of those neighborhood goals.”

Schwartz said he made his recommendation based on the need for more playing time on Arlington’s fields. He will bring his recommendations to the County Board’s September meeting for further discussion.

More from a county press release after the jump:

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by Katherine Berko June 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Arlington County government offices will be closed on July 4 for the Independence Day holiday, as well as libraries and other facilities.

Metered parking will not be enforced July 4, but street parking near the Iwo Jima Memorial, Long Bridge Park and the Air Force Memorial will be restricted.

County courts and the DMV offices, including DMV Select, will be closed July 3-4.

With large crowds expected for the fireworks on the National Mall, as well as Arlington’s own celebration at Long Bridge Park, police will close the following roads:

6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

  • Memorial Bridge/Memorial Circle

1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Marshall Drive from Route 110 to N. Meade Street
  • N. Meade Street from 14th Street N. to Marshall Drive

3 p.m. to 11. p.m.

  • Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Route 50 (access to the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood will be from the Rhodes Street bridge)
  • Exit ramp from westbound Route 50 to N. Lynn Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Exit ramp from eastbound Route 50 to N. Meade Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Long Bridge Drive from Boundary Channel Drive to 10th Street S.

8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Eastbound Route 50 at Washington Blvd. All traffic diverted from Route 50 on ramps to East and West Washington Blvd
  • Eastbound 10th Street N. ramp to eastbound Route 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Route 50
  • N. Courthouse Road ramp to eastbound Route 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Route 50 or 10th Street N.
  • Traffic on Pershing Drive at Route 50 will only be allowed westbound
  • Eastbound Fairfax Drive from N. Pierce Street to N. Fort Myer Drive
  • Columbia Pike between S. Orme Street and S. Joyce Street
  • S. Joyce Street between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

by ARLnow.com June 30, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

1401 S. Barton Street #239
1 Bed/1 Bath Townhome
Agent: Andrew Biggers
Listed: $280,o00
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

2852-C S. Wakefield Street
2 Bed/1 Bath Townhome
Agent: Robyn Nobert
Listed: $305,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

4069 S. Four Mile Run Drive, #301
2 Bed/2 Bath Condo
Agent: Michele Moravitz
Listed: $404,000
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m.

 

2244 S. Randolph Street, #2
3 Bed/2.5 Bath Townhome
Agent: Mary Wilcox
Listed: $490,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

4141 N. Henderson Road, #911
2 Bed/2 Bath Condo
Agent: Pamela Hazen
Listed: $520,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

1205 N. Garfield Street, #405
2 Bed/2 Bath Condo
Agent: Shawn Battle
Listed: $644,900
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

4531 40th Street N.
4 Bed/2 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Nestor Cortesi
Listed: $895,000
Open: Sunday 2-5 p.m.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

Those three words were the catalyst for two-week old Solace Brewing Company’s name. Co-founder Jon Humerick woke up in the wee hours one night in the months leading up to the opening of his new brewery. Find. Your. Solace. He shared it with his partners immediately, and the rest is history.

Now the Dulles brewery that Jon, and partners Drew Wiles and Mike Arms brought to life is open and bearing the inspiring name. I had an opportunity to visit Solace a week after they opened and sit down with Jon Humerick to sample their brews and learn a bit about Loudoun County’s newest craft brewery.

Jon and Drew met at Beltway Brewing Company, the Sterling contract brewer where Jon was director of operations and Drew was production manager. After years of brewing beers for others, the idea of doing it themselves began to ferment. Then in December of 2016 they broke ground on their own brewery.

Capable of brewing 3,000-4,000 barrels annually, Solace is currently a draft-only brewery, with pours on premises and growler fills. They look forward to offering crowlers soon, as they have the machine, but are waiting for the cans. Even further into the near future, they will use a mobile canning system to can some of their beers.

Once Solace has established itself, it plans on being a force for good — partnering with local charities to brew collaborative beers and donate proceeds. For the time being, the crew at Solace are happy to entertain their neighbors. The space is enormous and designed similar to good friends Ocelot Brewing Company who are just down the road.

There’s a bar on one side and a large seating area that will comfortably accommodate large crowds of both beer geeks and families on the other. In fact, the seating area is separated by a low wall that makes for a nice corral for families with small children.

Speaking of beer geeks, I don’t get the sense that Solace is trying to be the next “line-around-the-corner” brewery. Their aim is to brew beers they like for others to enjoy.

Just look at their opening line up: an India Pale Lager brewed with Ocelot Brewing Company, a brown ale, a watermelon summer ale, a wheat beer, a session IPA, and an IPA. Approachable. Even better, they have, on limited offering, coffee on nitro from Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters for the designated driver. If they’ve run out of the coffee, you can always get a flavored seltzer water — a welcome change from the beer or canned soda choices of other local breweries.

I sampled all of their starting line up. What variety! While each of Solace’s first beers was interesting, three stood out to me as a great sign of where they might go.

(more…)

by Chris Teale June 30, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Arlington Public Schools will add 1,300 high school seats across the Education Center and the Career Center after the School Board approved the so-called “hybrid option” at its meeting Thursday.

The option, put forward by Superintendent Patrick Murphy last month, would add 500-600 seats to a renovated Education Center (1426 N. Quincy Street) by 2022, then add another 700-800 at the Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive), which would get a renovation and an addition. The County Board denied a request to designate the Education Center as a historic district last month.

Murphy’s proposal had not been among the original short list of three finalists for the new high school site, but Board members said it would balance the need for more seats with limited building space, and make use of what already exists.

“We cannot allow this Ed Center site to lie fallow,” said Board member Reid Goldstein. “We go to the County Board every year and we tell them we need more: we need more money; we need more land. I’m a taxpayer too. We cannot have a site that could hold students going unused.”

By December, Murphy must also provide a list of recommendations for the Education Center, including its cost, any boundary changes needed and educational programming. He must make similar recommendations for the Career Center no later than May 2018.

In addition to their vote in favor of the plan, Board members directed Murphy to include options for a fourth comprehensive high school, including programming, cost and location, in APS’ 2019-2028 capital budget. Arlington currently has three comprehensive high schools: Washington-Lee, Wakefield and Yorktown.

“It’s not a blank slate,” said Board chair Nancy Van Doren. “We have eight points we want answers to, we have a finite amount of money and we have a vision that says we’re going to need to potentially add onto those and make them into something even greater going forward. So we want to leave our options open, and one thing I think we’ve learned to do is not create buildings that aren’t flexible.”

The Board voted 4-1 in favor of the plan, with James Lander the lone dissenting vote. He said the plan was not the best use of the space at the Career Center, had safety concerns around traffic on S. Walter Reed Drive and worries about locating high school students close to Patrick Henry Elementary School.

“If you know someone with 40 acres in Arlington who is willing to sell to the school system, I would be happy to negotiate that,” Lander said. “Until then, we have to utilize the space effectively that we have now, and we have to think about what our needs could be potentially down the road. I think this site could be better used than just 600 seats.”

The perceived lack of consultation with nearby residents on the new option came in for some criticism during public testimony. Maria “Pete” Durgan, president of the Penrose Neighborhood Association, urged the Board to delay their vote to explore the hybrid model further.

“We feel disappointed in the way the solution came about because we don’t feel like we were presented with the various scenarios and had an opportunity on what would affect us greatly,” she said.

Goldstein raised similar concerns with the way the fourth option came forward, and challenged his colleagues to think about how they continue engaging with the community even as new ideas come forward late in the game.

“How do we do idea changes or option changes in a project like this when there isn’t enough time to extend the community engagement process?” he asked.

Board vice chair Barbara Kanninen said APS intends to get “right back out there” in the fall to begin discussing the new schools, and may look at convening something similar to the South Arlington Working Group that helped site a new elementary school.

“After tonight, we’re proceeding with two projects, and I’m excited about both of them, the Ed Center project, the Career Center site, but it’s no longer a hybrid,” Kanninen said. “These are two projects, just like we have several other projects on the books.”

by Katherine Berko June 30, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

BlerDCon, an “exclusively inclusive” convention for geeks of all colors and backgrounds, arrives at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy) today.

BlerDCon strives to help people embrace their inner nerd across a variety of genres, including “anime, comic books, sci-fi, gaming or cosplay.” It’s taking place today through Sunday, July 2.

The weekend’s events will include panels, celebrity guests, presentations, workshops, gaming tournaments, cosplay contests and more.

The convention will be open 24 hours each day. Tickets start at $45 per person.

More from the BlerDCon website:

Despite the rapid growth of the nerd universe, however, conventions have failed to proportionately represent the expansive minority nerd audience. Fans of all backgrounds and cultures are embracing their inner nerd. This includes POC (Black, Asian, Latino, etc.), women, disabled, LGBTQ and many more types of nerds across the globe. This is where BlerDCon comes in.

For those who don’t know, “Blerd” is an acronym for Black nerd; this has become a phrase embraced by minority nerds of all backgrounds, no matter what their skin color. The word blerd has evolved to become a symbol of unity for all nerds; BlerDCon is a team of lifetime geeks that has rallied around this concept to create a con for all.

BlerDCon says it anticipates between 3,000-4,000 attendees.

by Chris Teale June 30, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Arlington County and the rest of the D.C. metropolitan area is under a Code Orange alert today (Friday) for its air quality.

With temperatures and humidity expected to build today and continue through the Fourth of July holiday, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments issued its alert, warning that sensitive groups could be affected and should avoid strenuous activity or outdoor exercise.

More from MWCOG and the National Weather Service:

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in association with Maryland Department of the Environment, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and District Department of Environment has issued a Code ORANGE Air Quality Alert Friday for the DC metro area.

A Code Orange Air Quality Alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.

For more information on ground-level ozone and fine particles… visit www.cleanairpartners.net.

MWCOG forecasts that the air quality will drop down to moderate levels this weekend.

Image via Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow service

by ARLnow.com June 30, 2017 at 8:00 am 0

Police to Hold Anti-DUI Event During Bar Crawl — The All American Bar Crawl will be taking place in Clarendon from 1-9 p.m. Saturday, and the Arlington County Police Department is planning some complementary programming. ACPD and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program are holding a “free interactive anti-drunk driving event” from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday on N. Highland Street, in the heart of Clarendon. [Arlington County]

Local ‘Big Brother’ Houseguest Getting Attention — Matthew Clines, a 33-year-old renovation consultant and fitness buff from Arlington, is being mentioned as a frontrunner on the new season of CBS’ Big Brother. “Many ladies swooned over” him, US Weekly writes. Clines has suggested he “would rather have America love him… than actually win the game and the $500,000.” [Us Weekly, Reality TV World]

Texas Jack’s Ranks High on BBQ ListTexas Jack’s in Lyon Park has ranked No. 2 on food critic Tim Carman’s list of the best barbecue joints in the D.C. area. [Washington Post]

Woman Wanted for Hit and Run Near Columbia Pike — Arlington County Police are looking for a woman who struck a pedestrian on the 3400 block of 7th Street S., in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, Wednesday night. The suspect, described as a “white female in her mid-twenties to early thirties, approximately 5’6″ tall… wearing a white sweater,” fled the scene after the collision, which sent the victim to a local trauma center with significant but non-life-threatening injuries. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Bradley Teague

by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 30, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

What a crazy week for the Arlington real estate market. It set a new record for the year with the most new listings and the most sales in one week. So much for the myth of summer doldrums. Some 100 homes went on the market, while buyers snatched up 104 homes with ratified contracts. And 38 of those sold in a week or less. Days on market held at 38.

It seems Arlington’s savvy buyers got the memo that interest rates are on the rise, and acted early to lock in lower rates. The 30-yr fixed rate ended the week four basis points higher at about 3.95%.  A sell off in the bond market on Tuesday caused the yield on the 10-yr US Treasury bond to rise, which pulled up rates on mortgages. Rates are expected to steadily creep higher for the rest of the year.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

by Chris Teale June 29, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A pair of Arlington County Police officers rescued a dog from inside a parked car yesterday morning (Wednesday) in Courthouse.

The officers responded just before noon for reports of a dog crying inside the vehicle parked at the county’s surface parking lot, on the 1400 block of N. Courthouse Road. They removed the dog from the car and handed him over to animal control.

A police spokeswoman said it’s up to animal control officers whether to charge the dog’s owner with a crime. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington did not respond to requests for comment.

More from ACPD’s Ashley Savage:

At approximately 11:46 a.m. on June 28, the emergency communication center received a report that there was a dog crying inside a parked vehicle in the 1400 block of Courthouse Road (this is the surface parking lot located across the street from the police department). The caller advised that the windows were slightly cracked but the dog appeared in distress. Responding officers were able to rescue the dog and transfer him to the care of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Animal control officers from Animal Welfare League of Arlington are charged with the enforcement of all Virginia state and Arlington county laws pertaining to the welfare, care, and control of all domestic and wild animals. They will investigate to determine if any charges are appropriate.

Even on relatively mild days during the hot summer months, children or animals should not be left unattended in a car, regardless of whether the windows are cracked, officials say.

 

by Chris Teale June 29, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A new beer garden in Rosslyn will open tomorrow afternoon, just in time for the Fourth of July holiday celebrations.

The Continental Beer Garden at 1901 N. Fort Myer Drive will open to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Its regular hours will be 3:30-11 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. It will have space to seat 180 people: 150 outside and 30 inside.

Also outside are two full-sized bocce courts, with picnic tables and other seating dotted around the space. Work included a full renovation of the former service station located under the office building.

As of Thursday, workers were putting the finishing touches on the outdoor seating area and bringing in barrels of beer and other drinks.

Beers from Virginia and Germany will be served by the pint or pitcher, while wine can be ordered by glass or carafe from kegs. A slushy machine will also be among the drink offerings.

On the food menu is a selection of sausages including bratwurst with sauerkraut and a classic D.C. halfsmoke with grilled onions and cheese. There will also be other snacks, entree salads, a selection of skewers served over basil quinoa salad and hot sandwiches like grilled cheese and pulled pork.

The beer garden is owned by Curt Large, who also owns the nearby Continental Pool Lounge. The project received support from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District and landlord JBG.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, so to help keep the fur-children safe and happy we’ve put together a few tips that we hope are helpful to you:

Independence Day has the dubious distinction as the day that more pets go missing than any other day of the year, and July 5 is the busiest day of the year for most animal shelters (I’m sure the wonderful folks at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington would like a quiet weekend!).

  • Keep your pet safe and indoors
  • Have your pet identified – make sure they have a collar with an identification tag and/or a microchip that is up to date on its registration.

In the days after the Fourth of July, we often see a spike in cases of gastrointestinal problems that require treatment or hospitalization.

  • Feeding your pet table food from your cook-out may seem like a good or a cute idea at the time, but many pets do not tolerate dietary changes well and is a poor decision. We see problems ranging from mild gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach/intestine) from eating food that’s out of the ordinary, to intestinal foreign bodies that need to be surgically removed (corn cobs, cooked rib bones, etc.), and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) that often requires several days of hospitalization/supportive care.
  • Glow sticks and citronella candles/repellants are also irritating to your pet’s GI tract and should be kept away from them at all times.

Resist the urge to take your pet to all your Fourth of July festivities. It’s hot and stressful for our furry friends.

  • Overheating, stress and anxiety are common issues seen with pets in these situations. While celebrating the Fourth is fun for most of us bipedal human folk, our fur-kids have no idea what’s going on other than that their normal routine just got thrown out the window and we expect them to be OK with that.
  • Our pets are very sensitive to the effects of alcohol – so please don’t give them any. It’s not cute to see them vomiting, having seizures or going into respiratory arrest from alcohol intoxication.
  • Don’t assume your pet knows how to swim. If you’ll be spending your day pool-side on a boat or at the beach/lake/other large body of water, be sure you are watching your pet at all times and have a life-preserver for them to keep them safe.
  • Never use fireworks around your pet. This may seem like a no-brainer, but we see far too many cases of injuries, burns and ingestion of the toxic substances found in many fireworks.

Noise phobias can be very distressing to both owner and fur-child, and while many animals may just get a little anxious with the sound of fireworks, some go into an all-out distressed panic.

If you know that your pet is noise-phobic please have a discussion with your veterinarian about the use of anti-anxiety medications, sedatives and non-pharmacologic strategies to manage noise-phobias now, not on Saturday afternoon; and have a safe, quiet, escape-proof place to keep your pet.

Keep these tips in mind, and we hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July! And while we hope you don’t need it – information on a few of the local 24/7 veterinary emergency hospitals can be found here.

by Mark Kelly June 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Now that the national political parties have moved past a $50 million special election for Congress in suburban Atlanta, all eyes will begin to move to the Old Dominion.

Virginians can expect a summer and fall filled with television ads, phone calls, and people knocking on your door asking you to get out and vote in the Governor’s race. Your Facebook feed will undoubtedly be filled with political opinions.

With all the political clutter coming our way, the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates for governor and compare them side by side will be limited to three debates. That is the number of debates Democrat nominee Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam agreed to appear at after Republican nominee Ed Gillespie agreed to 10.

Northam’s decision came on the heels of debating his fellow Democrat Tom Perriello five times in the run-up to the June 13 primary. Northam did say he would make seven other joint appearances with Gillespie, but showing up at the Shad Planking and making a stump speech is hardly the same thing as answering questions.

This is a growing trend for Democratic candidates for Governor in Virginia. Former Gov. Bob McDonnell challenged Creigh Deeds to 10 debates, but Deeds only agreed to four. Ken Cuccinelli asked for 15 debates, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe only granted three.

Northam made opposition to President Trump a key component of his primary message. Both he and Perriello made it abundantly clear they were tossing aside any nods to moderation as they raced to the activist far left base and the anti-Trump Resist movement.

Standing up to a President you do not agree with is certainly fair game as a campaign issue. And if more governors pushed back against the encroachment of the federal government, we would all be better off. However, Northam’s campaign engaged in name calling rather than pushing back on specific policies.

Right now the voters of Virginia deserve to know what the current Lt. Governor would do as Governor. How would you make Virginia’s economy the best in the U.S.? What would you do to improve educational options for all Virginians? How would you address the transportation needs of Northern Virginia?

Hopefully the next few months will be filled with policy specifics and not more name calling, but don’t hold your breath in this political environment.

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