<b>Hynes Kicks Off Candidacy</b>

School board chair Mary Hynes officially announced her reelection bid last week, and was in the swing of campaigning this week, debating opponent Beth Wolffe at a candidate forum on Monday.

Hynes will be running for her third term on the board in the Nov. 5 election. School Board candidates run without party affiliations, but local parties can endorse candidates. Hynes will likely be the candidate endorsed by the Arlington Democratic Party, and Wolffe will almost certainly be the candidate endorsed by county Republicans.

<b>Bird Found with West Nile</b>

The state health department said a crow found dead in Arlington earlier this month was carrying the West Nile virus. The report is the first incidence of West Nile virus this year.

Acting State Health Commissioner Robert B. Stroube said the crow should be a reminder to Northern Virginia residents to try to eliminate standing water in the area, and to protect themselves from mosquito bites. More information is available on the Virginia Department of Health’s Web site at under "West Nile Virus Update."

<b>Columbia Pike

Embraces the Blues</b>

South Arlington will celebrate the blues this weekend with the seventh annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival, running from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 5.

Six acts will perform – locals the Curbfeelers, the Impossibles, Dr. S.O. Feelgood and Janine Wilson, and Boston-based bluesmen Chris Smither and Darrell Nulisch rounding out the night.

"The Impossibles are led by Gabby Gabaldon, co-owner of Arlington Hardware, Janine Wilson was a Wammie award winner last year, and the Curbfeelers are from Penrose," said Rebecca Krafft, festival coordinator. "I’m delighted to have local flavor. That was one of the ideas this year, to support local musicians when entertainment dollars are down so much."

Smither and Nulsich may be from out of town, but they also have a strong local following. "Chris Smithers has been a favorite in this area for over two decades," Krafft said.

Last year’s festival drew between 1,000 and 2,000 attendees, although it was hampered by unexpected rainstorms. Sunny skies are predicted for this weekend.

The most important thing about this year’s festival is the location, Krafft said, on the 900 block of South Walter Reed Drive, between Columbia Pike and 9th Street South. "The county’s closing Walter Reed Drive, so it’ll really have a street festival atmosphere," she said.

In addition to blues music onstage, the festival will feature antique cars, a free moon bounce, food from Columbia Pike restaurants and booths from civic organizations and all of the current county political candidates. There will also be an instrument petting farm, a chance for children and adults to try their hands at a range of musical instruments.

The festival benefits the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. The organization will be celebrating the passage earlier this year of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Plan.

But they won’t be celebrating too loud. "This continues to be an educational year," Krafft said. "There are still steps to be involved in, and CPRO will have a table for that."

<b>Police Seek Purse Snatcher</b>

The Arlington police department joined a Web-based anti-drug effort last week, accepting anonymous tips through a Web site.

Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers (DAMMADD), founded by Steven H. Steiner Sr. after the drug overdose death of his son Steven Steiner Jr. in 2001, accepts anonymous tips about drug activity on its Web site and forwards them to appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Arlington citizens with information about illegal drug activity at any level can log on to <a href=""></a>, or call 866-DAMMADD (866-326-6233), and leave an anonymous tip. Callers receive an identification code word, used only to pay reward money if information results in a conviction.