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Virginia General Assembly Opens With High Hopes For Republican Bills

(WUSA) -- The Virginia General Assembly kicked off is 2012 session   with high hopes for legislation supported by Republicans.   For only the second time since the Civil War, Republicans control both the General Assembly and the Governor's mansion.   That change in balance could hurt Northern Virginia, especially in education funding.

"The Governor's trying to siphon off money from schools.  People who care about education have a real problem with that," said Delegate David Englin (D-Arlington, Fairfax.)

"Unfortunately, the Governor is trying to make cuts to pre-K.  That's our future.  We need to put it back," said Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria.)

Delegate Ken Plum from Fairfax County called the money for schools in the Governor's budget "a pittance."

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Convicted Internet Pirate Draws Ire Of Prosecutors

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A convicted Internet pirate with a penchant for speaking out about her perceived persecution by federal prosecutors may find herself going to prison sooner than she expected.

Last week, 30-year-old Hana Beshara, known on the Internet as "Queen Phara," was sentenced to nearly two years in prison for her role running a website called NinjaVideo. The site gained fame in cyberspace for facilitating millions of illegal downloads of pirated movies and TV shows.

The North Brunswick, N.J., woman was allowed to "self surrender" after her sentence, giving her time to get affairs in order.

But prosecutors in Alexandria, Va., are now demanding she be jailed immediately after she took to Facebook to criticize the government's case and enlist public support.

Beshara's lawyer says she was just letting off steam.



The City of Manassas Department of Public Works and Utilities officially completed the Wellington Road Widening Project, between Godwin Drive and Nokesville Road in Manassas, Va. with Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish and city council members cutting the ribbon to open the road. The 4,100-foot road is now open to the public. For details on the Wellington Road project, go to www.manassascity.org or call 703-257-8266.

Public Meeting Set For Kingstowne Park Master Plan

From Fairfax County Park Authority:

The Fairfax County Park Authority will hold a Public Comment Meeting to gather input on the draft master plan revision for Kingstowne Park in Alexandria.  A public information meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Helene Wilson Community Room at the Franconia Government Center located at 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria, VA.

Kingstowne Park is a 75-acre site located on Old Telegraph Road.  The park is jointly owned and operated by the Park Authority and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The existing park contains trails, natural areas and extensive stormwater ponds and wetlands.

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Avon Walk for Breast Cancer In D.C. Celebrates 10th Anniversary

From Carly Rotman:

On Saturday, February 4, members of the Washington, D.C. community will come together to mark the 10th Anniversary of the national Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Series and to jump-start the 2012 season with a birthday party!  In tandem with the other eight cities hosting a Walk in 2012, the birthday celebration will be a time to reflect on the overwhelming achievements that the citizens of Washington, D.C. have contributed to breast cancer research over the past decade.                      

The party will take place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

ACPS Recruiting Starts for Students in Grades Six through Nine

From Alexandria City Public Schools:

The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program is beginning the recruitment process to include new potential AVID students in grades six through nine. January through March, parent information sessions and student recruitment happenings will take place to better inform those interested. Potential students are required to complete the application packet. If chosen, students will participate in interviews with the AVID Site Team. Acceptance letters will be sent late in March. Students who qualify must meet one or more of the following criteria:

The Extra Mile: MPSTOC To Help With Winter Driving?

FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) -- This week, we're getting a look behind the curtain and nerve center for roads in Fairfax County: the MPSTOC. The new center houses all safety agencies are in one place.

In this The Extra Mile report, we take a look at the steps VDOT is taking this winter from inside the new center.

Watch the video for details.