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Votes

Week in Arlington

<cl>Richard P. O’Brian

<sh>Volunteer Arrested for Sexual Battery

<bt>Detectives with the Special Victims Unit of the Arlington County Police Department arrested a volunteer for an assisted living facility in the Cherrydale neighborhood on Jan. 26.

Richard P. O’Brian, 69, was taken into custody without incident at his home in Annandale. He is charged by police with one count of aggravated sexual battery, a felony punishable by one to 20 years in prison and a fine of not more than $100,000. O’Brian is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County jail.

On Sunday, Jan. 22, an employee of the facility, located in the 3700 block of Lee Highway, reported to police that she observed O’Brian having sexual contact with an adult female resident of the facility. After an investigation into the incident, detectives secured an arrest warrant for O’Brian.

Detectives believe O’Brian may have had contact with other possible victims, either at the same facility or at other locations. Anyone with any information about O’Brian is asked to call Det. Jim Stone at 703-228-4245.

<sh>New Affordable Housing Units to be Created

<bt>The County Board approved funding for two developments that will add nearly 100 affordable housing units in Arlington. The county has a goal of creating at least 400 affordable units this year, officials said.

A county loan of $3.3 million will help AHC Inc. redevelop the existing Fairview Manor apartment complex into 94 new apartments. The apartments, ranging from efficiencies to three-bedroom units, will serve households earning 40 percent, 50 percent and 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Sixty percent of AMI is roughly $54,000 for a family of four.

Robert Pierre Johnson Housing Development Corporation will use a county loan of nearly $1.7 million to purchase and renovate two existing apartment buildings and convert some of the units into two-bedroom units. Both developers have agreed to work with the county’s Department of Human Services to house several of its consumers.

<sh>County Considering Paper Trail

<bt>During the County Board's Jan. 24 recessed meeting, several members asked the county manager to consider requiring a paper trail for electronic voting in Arlington.

Vice Chairman Paul Ferguson said that having printed voting totals was necessary so residents can “feel confident the vote tabulation is absolutely correct."

The cost of implementing such a program could be more than $1 million, Ferguson said.

Both Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman and Walter Tejada echoed Ferguson’s call for a paper trail to ensure accuracy in the county’s voting procedure.

“In a true democracy every vote should be counted, and a record should back that up,” Tejada said.

<1b>— Seth Rosen

<sh>Walking Town Hall Meeting

<bt>The County Board is now accepting nominations for three neighborhoods to host Arlington’s annual “Walking Town Hall meeting.”

The application deadline is March 31, and the tours will be held in May, July and September. Last year the board visited Arlingwood, Ballston-Virginia Square and Buckingham.

The tours give board members the opportunity to meet with concerned residents and see both improvements and problem spots in the county’s diverse communities.

“We’re looking to do neighborhoods we haven’t visited in the past few years,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said. “The board wanted to give more time and specific attention to the needs of neighborhoods that are selected."

<1b>— Seth Rosen

<sd>Arlington Free Clinic Receives Grant

<bt>The Arlington Free Clinic received a $30,000 one-year grant to increase awareness of the life-saving benefits of early detection of breast cancer. This is the fifth year that the Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund program has awarded a grant to the Free Clinic to support its work.

Last year the Women’s Health program at Arlington Free Clinic educated 400 women on prevention of breast cancer. The Virginia Hospital Center has agreed to donate mammograms to the patients of this program. Last year, mammograms for nearly 70 women showed abnormal or indeterminate results, and seven women were diagnosed with breast cancer and referred for treatment.

<sh>Doorways to Hold Benefit Auction

<bt>Doorways for Women and Families, formerly The Arlington Community Temporary Shelter (TACTS) and Arlington’s only shelter for abused, homeless and at-risk women and their families, will hold its 16th annual Benefit Auction on Sunday, March 12 at The Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

This year’s benefit, themed “Building Hope, Rebuilding Lives,” will focus on raising awareness about domestic violence and homelessness affecting women and families in the Arlington community, and will celebrate the planned rebuilding of Doorways’ Emergency Family Shelter, scheduled for completion in Spring 2007.

ABC 7 news broadcaster Maureen Bunyan will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event, which draws a diverse crowd of more than 400 community residents, vendors, business leaders and volunteers. During the event, Doorways will present their annual corporate Unsung Hero Award. This year’s winner is NVHomes, builders of single family homes, townhomes and villas throughout the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia areas. NVHomes has pledged $400,000 in materials and labor to Doorways for the Emergency Family Shelter rebuilding effort.

The benefit will also include speeches by Doorways’ clients and supporters and a live and silent auction featuring 100 items from retailers and organizations such as Coach, L’Occitane, Sony Style, Sephora, Washington Performing Arts Society, and golf and spa packages.

<sd>Free Tax Service

<bt>AARP Tax-Aide, the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation service, is now offering its resources to Arlington residents.

This year’s program operates between Feb. 1 and April 17 at Columbia Pike Branch Library. Arlingtonians can walk in without an appointment between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, and between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays.

AARP Tax-Aide is administered by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the IRS. All tax preparation volunteers receive training in tax law and must pass an IRS certification examination. Last year, over 4,500 individuals and families benefited from this service.

This year, all tax returns will be electronically filed. All taxpayers must bring a government-issued picture ID and Social Security cards for all persons included on the tax return.

For more information, call 1-888-227-7669 (AARP NOW) or visit the Web site at www.aarp.org/taxaide.