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VaNews for Arlington County

An Expansion of Metro's Yellow Line: Above or Below Ground?

By MICHAEL LEE POPE, Connection Newspapers

Metro’s Yellow Line terminates at the Huntington Station, but that’s not necessarily the end of the line. Like a movie that ends with a cliffhanger, the back wall of the station was configured in a way that would allow for the line to extend south. That means that the Yellow Line could extend south underneath Richmond Highway through Fort Belvior into Lorton. "It could be a game-changer for Route 1," said Del. Scott Surovell (D-44). "When I survey constituents, a majority of them always say they would prefer to see an underground Metro as opposed to light rail." Burrowing tunnels underneath seven miles of the Route 1 corridor could cost anywhere from $5 billion to $9 billion, give or take a few billion dollars. Surovell said that he’s hopeful that Virginia’s new member to the Metro board could mean that the state might be willing to make more of an investment. And because Fort Belvior could be a stop on the extended Yellow Line, the federal government might be willing to kick in a few billion dollars to make it happen — if there was the political will to support it.

VaNews September 22, 2011

Lower-income Northern Virginians struggle to get dental care, report finds

By LENA H. SUN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

In Northern Virginia, 16 percent of lower-income adults have not gone to a dentist in more than five years, according to a report that looks at disparities in oral health in one of the most prosperous regions in the country. Among lower-income adults who have health coverage, only one-fourth have coverage that includes dental care, compared to 64 percent for higher-income adults. Those were among the key findings in a survey of oral health in Northern Virginia released Thursday. The survey was commissioned by the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, a nonprofit group that focuses on health-care safety nets.

VaNews September 9, 2011

Immigration Task Force Meets in Arlington

By ISAAC ARNSDORF, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Opponents of a key immigration enforcement policy marched into — and then out of — a hearing in Arlington County on Wednesday evening, the final public meeting of a federal task force evaluating the controversial mandate. The program, called Secure Communities, makes it possible for the FBI to share fingerprint data of people arrested by local and state authorities with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which can use the information to check for violations. Hundreds of demonstrators interrupted the meeting’s schedule of registered speakers so that Maria Bolanos, an undocumented Salvadoran from Prince George’s County who faces deportation , could confront Marc Rapp, the ICE official who oversees the program.

VaNews August 26, 2011

Arlington Schools consider banning student-teacher texts

By LIZ ESSLEY, Washington Examiner

Texting and Facebook friendships between students and teachers may soon be banned in Arlington County. The school district is drafting a new policy for preventing sexual misconduct and abuse, designed to keep up with state guidelines issued earlier this year. But school board members sent their staff back to the drawing board last week, worried that the draft rules would prevent normal relationships between students and teachers. The draft would not allow teachers to text students using their personal phones or to interact with them on social networks. Vice Chairman Emma Violand Sanchez said she often texts the students she mentors to ask such things as, "When are you coming to the office?" "[These rules] could have a chilling effect on what we need to do with students," she said.

VaNews July 6, 2011

Arlington planetarium saved

By CHRISTY GOODMAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Arlington County’s David M. Brown Planetarium has been saved through more than $435,000 in donations, surpassing the goal to raise $402,800 by June 30 set by Arlington school officials last year to keep the facility from closing. More than 200 people donated $25,000 in the last 10 days of the Friends of the Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium campaign. One anonymous foundation donated $50,000 to push the charitable group over the top. About 3,500 people contributed to the year-long campaign.

VaNews July 1, 2011