A Comedy- turned Tragic
It’s just not funny anymore; ever since a young Southwest Airlines employee died from injuries in an accident involving one of those big, clumsy ‘mobile lounges’ at Dulles Airport, the subject of those antiquated hulks has lost its humor- at least for me. Jared Patrick Dodson was 25 years old, lived in Paeonian Springs, and worked at the nearby International hub to support his family; he died on January 27 at an area hospital, after his luggage cart was struck the prior morning.
The accident occurred around 7 o’clock- certainly not a great time for noticing other, smaller vehicles from the height of one of the mobile lounges; still, the fatality sparked an investigation by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department.
The crash- fortunately- resulted in no other injuries.
Jared Dodson- a native Chilean- lived the American Dream during his short life; I’m sure he never imagined it would be cut short by one of those big passenger transports that share the tarmac with all the other support vehicles at the Airport.
The Airports Authority still keeps the mobile lounges in service for select use- even though its Aerotrain went into service a couple of years back.
It would be a fitting tribute to a young man who was killed by one of those things- while earning money for his family- if the Airports Authority determines a direct cause of the accident, and ensures we’ll never have to think this way about those outdated, mobile transports.
They’re certainly not funny, anymore.
Condolences to the family and friends of 25 year old Jared Patrick Dodson of Paeonian Springs.
Meanwhile, a Leesburg man’s lucky to have escaped a recent crash with his life, but he’s still not free to go home; 39 year old Clyde W Miller II faces charges for DUI (his second ), possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and driving on a suspended license- after Thursday’s wreck on Route 15 near Raspberry Falls. Miller evidently lost control of his Jeep just before it crossed into oncoming traffic, hit an embankment, overturned- then struck the passenger side of another vehicle; the other driver escaped injury.
Medical Staff at Inova Fairfax Hospital released Miller after treatment; he’d been airlifted from the scene.
Since then, he’s been ‘licking his wounds’ in the Adult Detention Center, without bond.
Gang’s All There
And, the last arrest has finally come in a 4 ½ year old gang assault case from Ashburn; Deputies took a 23 year old Columbian man into custody for that crime- after learning of his location in a Hamilton townhouse. The suspect- Victor Hernandez-Suaza- now waits on a federal detainer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement; he also faces multiple charges in the September 2007 gang assault at the Ashburn Meadows apartment complex.
The Sheriff’s Office ID’d all 11 suspects in that crime, and had arrested the other 10, prior to taking Hernandez-Suaza.
Interestingly, he had all this time to flee the area, but chose to remain in Loudoun County- until information provided a location on his whereabouts in Hamilton.
The suspect’s longitude and latitude remain much more certain now; he remains at the Adult Detention Center, without bond.
“Don’t Call Me Daughter (not fit to)”
The Leesburg man who cheated a life insurance company in order to steal his late wife’s beneficiary money from his daughter now gets to think things over for several years; James C Cilenti heard a judge in US District Court order a sentence of 64 months in the half-million dollar fraud scheme; he also has to pay back that money. His lawyer- Christopher Agresto- comes in later this month to learn how long he’ll spend behind bars; the attorney helped Cilenti set up a ‘trust fund’ in his daughter’s name; court records show that she received little benefit from the deal.
Cilenti went as far as applying for Social Security benefits on his daughter’s behalf- then forging her signature to obtain some $7,600 in survivor payments.
These conspiracies evidently stemmed from Cilenti’s late wife’s insurance company refusing to award him proceeds- since he was named as a person of interest in her death.
Cilenti and his lawyer pled guilty this past fall- after authorities caught up to the scheme in the spring of 2010.
James C Cilenti- an accountant by profession- may need to learn new skills in order to comply with the judge’s $465,748 restitution ruling.
You can bet that the Sheriff’s Office wants to know who’s been buying up cans of pink spray paint in the Lansdowne area; the Agency says that unidentified vandals hit the area this past week- and left evidence of their crime in that particular hue. The unknown suspects struck during the overnight hours on Tuesday- along Golf Vista Plaza, Deerfield Avenue, Lansdowne Boulevard and Riverside Parkway.
They painted office buildings, windows and roadside signs, according to the report.
I do know this much about spray paint: it’s hard to use it for very long without getting some of it on your hands and clothes.
I’ll bet that somebody’s teenagers were pink around the fingertips this past Wednesday morning.
I mean- really pink.
Too Late to Be On Time
This is a great story in which to make mountains out of molehills- or maybe, molehills out of mountains; the local families facing court proceedings over their kids’ tardiness records in school has certainly drawn a lot of attention in the press, and over Internet blogs. I’m choosing to leave the specific names out of this little tale- those families are receiving enough infamy the way it is- having racked up enough ‘late slips’ from their kids’ schools in order to start a bonfire.
I’m also selecting to make this more of a personal reflection than a mere objective reporting of facts in these particular cases; hey, I’m the writer, I get to pick my methods.
I remember getting ready for school all the way back to Kindergarten: I’m sure Mom had to help me every step of the way- from wiping my nose to tying my shoes (I learn slowly, but very steadily).
She did pretty much the same for all four of us very strong-minded boys, and we all did fairly well. Without it ever being said in so many words, we all learned- at a very young age- that school can be a pretty cool place- a special place where we’d get ourselves ready for real life.
By the time my brothers and I had reached our respective high school years, each of us- with very different interests (from studio art to nuclear physics to Mark Twain to theatre arts)- generally arrived at school well before class time to work on various projects.
No- we weren’t saints- and still aren’t- some of us enjoyed our high school years more than others- but we did learn that- like it or not- if we wanted to have an important role in society, we had to sort of ‘get along’ with the system in place. My parents faced some tough challenges in the separate (and often, selfish) interests of my siblings and me- but they got the ‘job’ done- while holding down demanding full-time careers.
Telescoping back to present-time, the Loudoun County School ‘System’ is an enormous machine- having grown in Orwellian proportions over the past decades; it’s a mechanism created by humans, and if the operation of the machine is detrimental to the lives of people and the learning of kids, the rules and regulations can be tweaked and modified for a smoother operation.
Now, it’s my personal opinion that it’ll be easier for those minority of families in ‘tardiness jeopardy’ to make a few changes in their domestic schedules in order to eliminate those late slips, than to convince the Loudoun County School Board and the Juvenile Justice System that promptness is immaterial.
Our society- even in this Year of 2012- believes that being on time for things matters; would you want your out-of-work son or daughter to show up several minutes late for an important job interview?
It’s very apparent that the majority of parents in Loudoun County want to teach their kids the same basic principles that Mom and Dad taught my brothers and me.
School can be a pretty cool place- one in which you prepare for later, real life.
Think of it as professional practice.
And if the rules and regulations are wrong- make it known and get them changed.
The Emperors’ New Shortfall
And- there are gaps- and then there are gaps; it’s a tale of two perspectives in the gearing up of local budget time. We noticed that the recommended tax rate (by the County Administrator) would keep local homeowners’ real estate tax bills more or less level, but would fall short of funding the School System’s request by a healthy margin.
That recommended rate- of $1.27- a 0 percent increase budget- would still provide an additional $34 million for the Schools; trouble is, the Superintendent asked for about twice that much of an increase over the current payload, and the School Board only came up with $11 million in cuts before approving the $822 million monster.
You can bet there’ll be plenty of squawkin’ and carvin’ before all is said and done on the County Government end of things- where the budget rubber meets the road, so to speak.
Now, the Republican Board of Supervisors aren’t going to want to let anyone say that they raised taxes, and there’s tens of millions of dollars between the figure the School Board is asking for and what the proposed budget will cover; Public Hearings begin 10 days from this writing.
Bring your smelling salts- it could be a doozy.
And- you’ll no longer need to celebrate Christmas with the Flying Spaghetti Monster- or the crucified Santa- after a decision by our beleaguered County Board. The Supervisors voted to ban all unattended displays at the now-infamous Courthouse Square- and institute a reign of government-sponsored seasonal ‘cheer.’
I know they’ll endure a lot of criticism over freedom of expression, but I commend their will to carry through on a very testy issue.
A belated, and very merry Christmas.
Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader