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Michael Lee Pope

Stories by Michael Lee

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Kanninen Seizes Democratic Endorsement for School Board

18-vote margin of victory in second round of voting.

After two rounds of voting in the Democratic caucus, author Barbara Kanninen seized the Democratic endorsement with a slim 18-vote margin of victory against Nancy Van Doren. A third candidate, Greg Greeley, was knocked out in the first round of voting. That led to an instant runoff in which the second choice of voters were considered. Most of those went to Van Doren, which led to a razor-thin 18-vote margin of victory for Kanninen in the second round of voting.

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How Will School Board Candidates Handle Crush of New Students?

What will they do if elected to tackle spike in enrollment?

The three candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement for School Board all say they are opposed to increasing class sizes, and all three say the School Board is probably going to have to consider boundary changes to handle the crush of new students. Beyond that, though, the candidates have a wide array of opinions about how the county schools should handle the enrollment spike.

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Serving Up Controversy Over Food Trucks in Alexandria

Council members indicate they're likely to approve a pilot program at farmers markets.

City Council members are bracing themselves for a massive food fight this Saturday, when elected officials will take up a divisive proposal to allow food trucks in Alexandria.

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The Fighter

Longtime congressman celebrated by Alexandria Democrats.

During his first run for Congress, then-Mayor Jim Moran assembled a campaign team that was hungry to oust incumbent Republican Stan Parris. Mame Reiley ran the operation, which included a young communications consultant named Joe Trippi. As the race headed toward Election Day, Reiley and Trippi became concerned that Moran's campaign signs kept disappearing from Eisenhower Avenue. So they set up a sting operation with a video camera to catch the culprit, who turned out to be Jim Moran.

House Historian

Family and friends remember Ruth Lincoln Kaye.

Alexandria's premiere house historian, a woman who pioneered the industry and fiercely protected her research, died April 30. She was 95. "She had a curious and inquisitive mind," recalled her son, Arthur Lincoln Kaye. Kaye was known throughout the city as a sort of walking history book, a woman who possessed an extensive institutional memory and a razor-sharp wit.

May 14: Council Notebook

Council Notebook briefs.

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C-Section Boom in Northern Virginia

Region has some of the highest rates of cesarean-section deliveries for low-risk pregnancies.

Behind the closed doors at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church and the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, a quiet change has been taking shape over the last few decades.

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Despite Advances, Many Virginians Remain Uninsured

Affordable Care Act expands coverage, but more than 800,000 still have no health insurance.

What is the state of the uninsured in Virginia?

Should Voters Consider Streetcar?

Two candidates propose referendum, but path to ballot remains unclear.

Should voters consider the fate of the controversial $310 million streetcar on Columbia Pike? That's what two candidates are proposing, although the path from their idea to the ballot box remains unclear, and the idea has resistance among people who support the initiative. The debate comes at a time when County Manager Barbara Donnellan prepares to propose her capital improvement program for fiscal years 2015 to 2024, a 10-year spending plan that will include the first major round of funding for the Columbia Pike Streetcar.

May 7: Week in Alexandria

The week of May 7 in brief.

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Animal Instinct: Democrats in Hotly Contested Primary Divided on Speciesism

Will Jim Moran's successor share his enthusiasm for animal rights?

Candidates in the Democratic primary for Congress have a wide range of views on animal rights, an issue that has become one of the defining legacies of retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8).

Words With Frenemies

Pulitzer-prize winning historian outlines research at Lyceum.

The handwritten words of a former Virginia slave splashed across the screen at the Lyceum Tuesday night, part of a presentation by Pulitzer-prize winning historian Alan Taylor's War of 1812 Bicentennial Lecture. Taylor was explaining the research behind his new book, "The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832."

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Pleas for Services Increase Taxes

Council raises tax rate to fund services for seniors and schoolchildren.

Seniors will be able to keep their tax relief, and Engine 204 will remain at the city's Powhatan Park headquarters. But homeowners will see their tax bills going up once again. That's because members of the Alexandria City Council voted to increase the tax rate last week, adding $2 million to the budget proposal City Manager Rashad Young presented back in February.

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Food Fight: Work Group Snubbed on Food Trucks

City officials move forward with recommendations without report from work group.

Last May, City Manager Rashad Young issued a series of recommendations that would have opened the door to food trucks in Old Town, Del Ray and Carlyle.

Edmond Seizes GOP Nomination for Congress

Former Marine officer to take on winner of Democratic primary.

Even before longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) announced that he would be retiring earlier this year, former Marine officer Micah Edmond was planning to run for Congress — talking to party leaders and beginning to line up support. After Moran's unexpected decision, though, the race became more competitive.

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For Congressional Candidates, No Common Ground on Common Core

Democrats in Virginia's 8th Congressional District divided on national education standards.

Should American schools share national standards? That's a question that divides the 10 Democrats seeking to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8), who is retiring after 24 years in the House of Representatives. During a recent candidates forum, the Democrats were asked if they support the Common Core State Standards Initiative, two candidates said they disagreed and eight candidates said they agreed.

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Who is Trailing Don Beyer in Hotly Contested Democratic Primary?

Candidates elbow each other out of the way to secure second place.

Campaign finance documents show that former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer crushed the nine other candidates in the hotly contested Democratic primary.

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Will Alexandria Sell City Hall to Developers?

City leaders to consider selling historic structure rather than investing in it.

Should city taxpayers fork over $50 million to renovate City Hall? Or should a new $100 million facility be constructed somewhere else, opening the door for a developer to transform the historic building? That's the question that will be confronting City Council in the coming years as elected officials decide whether or not they want to invest in fixing the building.

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Alone on the Road: 7 out of 10 Northern Virginia Workers Use Single-Occupancy Vehicles

Study raises concerns about amount of time drivers spend commuting alone.

Despite the decades-long war against the single-occupancy vehicle, seven out of 10 workers in Northern Virginia drive to work alone every workday.

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Tax Burden Targets Low-Income Workers in Northern Virginia

Average tax burden for low-income workers is highest in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax.

Families that are struggling to make ends meet in Northern Virginia are the target of local governments in Northern Virginia, which has the highest tax burden in the region for low-income workers. Wealthy people face the highest tax burden in Prince George's County and Montgomery County. But here in Virginia, poor people face the biggest tax burden in Arlington, according to a new study by the Office of Revenue Analysis in the District of Columbia. Alexandria ranked second, and Fairfax County ranked third.

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Alexandria to Stop Dumping Human Waste into Potomac River by Earth Day 2035

Fixing combined sewer overflows to cost at least $200 million.

The year 2035 seems like a distant dream. But it's a Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of officials at City Hall. That's the year Alexandria will no longer dump human waste into the Potomac River.

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Beyer Rakes in Campaign Cash in Democratic Primary

Fundraising numbers reveal former lieutenant governor has significant edge.

Campaign finance documents released this week show Don Beyer well ahead of his competitors in the race for cash, giving the former lieutenant governor a significant edge over the nine other Democrats in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8).

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Dedicated Debate Over Streetcars Along Columbia PIke

Streetcar critics not swayed by county study showing benefits of streetcars.

The ongoing saga of the Columbia Pike streetcar gained yet another study last month, but critics say the latest investigation failed to address their concerns.

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Alexandria Goes to War (Again)

City planning a number of activities to commemorate forgotten conflict.

The War of 1812 was the first war that America lost, a bitter conflict that began with an ill-planned invasion of Canada that ended when the British burned the Capitol and the executive mansion.

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New Superintendent Hopes to Cut the Numbers of Suspensions in Half

Black male students suspended at disproportionate rates.

Less than a month into office, new Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Alvin Crawley is taking on the challenge of reducing the number of suspensions by half.

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Wiggle Room on the Alexandria Tax Rate

Council members advertise half-a-penny increase in tax rate, allowing more flexibility.

Although Alexandria City Manager Rashad Young issued a proposed budget that keeps the current tax rate, members of the City Council voted this week to advertise a tax rate that's half a penny higher.

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Bike Lane Controversy Creates a King-Sized Debate in Alexandria

City Council set to take up proposal to remove parking and install bike lanes.

Months of bitter accusations and counter-accusations are set to culminate this weekend as members of the Alexandria City Council take up a plan to remove four blocks of parking spaces on King Street to make room for a bike lane in each direction.

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Northern Virginia's Growing Debt Burden

Local governments use debt as a tool to build for the future.

Back in the 1920s, Harry Byrd became governor of Virginia on what he called a "pay-as-you-go" platform.

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Alexandria School Board Selects Interim Leader to Head Division

Alvin Crawley to take control of city schools at critical time.

Turns out, the national search for a new superintended wasn't able to find a candidate as good as the guy who is already sitting in the chair.

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Arlington Schools Scramble to Fund Enrollment in Challenging Budget Environment

$439.4 million budget represents a 3.1 percent increase over last year.

Arlington Superintendent Patrick Murphy's proposed budget for the coming school year would scale back a program aimed at helping students older than age 22, add trailers to deal with the crush of new students as well as add four new bus drivers and create a new coordinator for transporting special-equation students.

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Should Royal Street Become a Bicycle Boulevard?

Alexandria hires consultant to consider ways to encourage more bicycle traffic.

Pedestrians and bicyclists clash with vehicles up and down Union Street, a concern for city leaders who want to find a way to move cyclists to Royal Street.

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Virginia Laws Help Local Governments Conceal 911 Calls from Public

Police agencies refuse to release audio from 911 calls, prompting questions about transparency.

When city officials in Alexandria released the audio of a 911 call in a high-profile murder case, many people interpreted the move as a step forward for transparency in a commonwealth known for opaque government.

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Alexandria Food Truck Task Force Prepares to Issue Recommendations

A movable feast through Old Town, Del Ray and Carlyle?

This spring, advocates for food trucks will engage in a battle with brick-and-mortar restaurants.

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Money on the Shelves: Jurisdictions Take Variety of Approaches to Funding Libraries

Some have recovered from the recession, others are still struggling.

What is the future of the neighborhood library?

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Eleven Candidate In Epic Democratic Primary to Replace Moran

Successful candidate could emerge with 10,000 votes.

The Democratic primary is shaping up to be the most competitive election in recent memory, one with an unprecedented number of candidates.

Replacing Baird

Three candidates vie for Democratic nomination to School Board.

Two-term School Board member Sally Baird says she will not seek another term, opening up the seat to a new generation of leadership.

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Three Candidates Vie for Democratic Endorsement to Arlington School Board

Race to replace Sally Baird is on for Democrats.

Arlington County schools are at a crossroads. Enrollment is steadily rising, and parents have become upset about the amount of standardized testing that takes place in schools across the county.

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Assessing Alexandria: City Officials Mail Annual Valentines to Homeowners

Residential properties increase 5 percent; commercial properties increase 2 percent.

Homeowners across Alexandria will be receiving their annual Valentine from City Hall this week, an assessment of their property that will be used to issue a tax bill later this year.

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Happyland on Edge: Quiet Suburban Neighborhood Rocked by Unsolved Murders

Residents worried that a serial killer may be on the loose.

The late Ellen Pickering used to call North Ridge "Happyland," a quiet suburban stretch of the city where neighbors knew each other and the most shocking crime that happens is when someone's car is broken into.

Arlington School Board Member Sally Baird Prepares to Exit Public Stage

Elected official recalls the ups and downs of two terms on the board.

When Sally Baird was first elected to the Arlington School Board in 2006, the county's public school system was still shrinking and Baird was a first-time candidate.

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Up and Down Columbia Pike, Businesses are Divided by the Streetcar

Some believe it will bring more customers; others are worried about cost.

Up and down Columbia Pike, businesses have a variety of views about the streetcar that may be soon be trundling up and down one of Arlington's major thoroughfares.

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Scattering Low-Income Residents Across Alexandria

Public-housing authority considers redeveloping seven properties.

Uncertainty is hanging in the air for thousands of public-housing residents and their neighbors.

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Alexandria School Board Considers Budget as Search Continues for Superintendent

Interim leader proposes spending priorities for a system in transition.

Alexandria City Public Schools is in a state of flux. School Board members are conducting a national search for the next superintendent as students are flooding into the city's classrooms. Meanwhile, interim superintendent Alvin Crawley is proposing a 3.3 percent increase over last year's budget, adding $8 million to the existing $235 million operating budget.

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Nine Candidates Vying for Attention in 8th Congressional District Democratic Primary

Race to replace Jim Moran is expected to be competitive and expensive.

It's been three weeks since longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) announced that he would not be seeking a 13th term in Congress, opening up an epic primary fight that is now starting to take shape.

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Arlington Real-Estate Assessments Grow Six Percent

County leaders describe local economy as resilient and stable.

A decade ago, when the real-estate market was going gangbusters, the Arlington real-estate market regularly saw double-digit increases.

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Special Election Down the Pike for Arlington County Board

Democrat and independent to face off in April special election.

The special election to replace retiring County Board member Chris Zimmerman is the closest thing Arlington will probably have to a referendum on the streetcar.

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Hotel Virginia on the Alexandria Waterfront

City Council approves 120-room hotel on waterfront.

The Alexandria waterfront plan is like the 1970s Eagles hit, "Hotel California." You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

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Jim Moran: The $15 Million Congressman

During his years in Congress, Moran raised and spent about $1 million each campaign cycle.

One of the first things that happened after U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) announced he would not be running for reelection this year was that he cancelled a fundraising event.

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Alexandria Fire Chief Takes Role as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security

Adam Thiel to leave Alexandria and join McAuliffe administration.

When Adam Thiel became chief of the Alexandria Fire Department in 2007, he took over an agency that was clinging to the past — and not just the antiques at the Friendship Firehouse Museum.

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Arlington Officials Release Previously Secret Construction Bids

County leaders change position on secrecy of bids; refuse to reveal expectations.

New documents released by Arlington County officials show the four bids for the new aquatics center at Long Bridge Park range from $81.9 million to $82.8 million.