WASHINGTON (AP) - Washington Dulles National Airport is in trouble.
Sometime in 2015, more people will travel through Reagan National Airport than Dulles. Dulles, 14 times the size of National, is expected to see about 20.7 million passengers next year, while National is expected to get 22.7 million.
Last year, Dulles saw 21.9 million travelers while National had 20.4 million.
The development is troubling Virginia leaders and the agency that managers both airports. They say that if National continues to outpace its larger neighbor, it could have serious financial and safety implications for the entire region.
":The shift to National - it's a serious problem for the financial viability of Dulles,": said Jonathan Gifford, director of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy at George Mason University, according to The Washington Post.
In addition to Dulles and National, travelers in the region can also opt to fly in and out of Baltimore-Washington International, still the region's top airport for passenger traffic at 22.5 million passengers in 2013, largely because of low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines' significant presences there.
Among the three options, Dulles is widely seen as the biggest hassle to use, partially because of its 30-mile distance from the heart of the District and lack of a nearby Metro stop. National, on the other hand, is easily accessible by Metro trains and sits just 5 miles across from the District in Arlington.
Many also blame Congress, which has relaxed federal rules restricting flights at National to facilitate nonstop service to various home states.
The strict rules were part of an effort to fuel growth at Dulles, and they worked for years. Flights longer than 1,250 miles were banned at National, pushing travelers who wanted nonstop options to the West Coast to Dulles.
Congress, many from Western states, began weakening the rules in 2000, allowing 26 additional flights at National to cities like Phoenix, San Francisco and Denver.
The airports authority's biggest fear is that Congress will scrap the restrictions altogether in the upcoming reauthorization process to fund the Federal Aviation Administration.
In 2009, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona floated such a proposal, arguing that the increased service would lead to lower prices and more choices for consumers.
Virginia politicians, including retiring Republican Rep. Frank Wolf and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner fought the effort and continue to believe that the relaxed rules are short-sighted.
":Northern Virginia's economy is strongest when both major airports are in a position to thrive,": said Democratic Sen. Timothy Kaine, the state's junior senator. ":It does not make sense for Reagan National, with an area of 860 acres, to be on pace to have more travelers passing through it than Dulles, which comprises 12,000 acres.":
Airport officials think Dulles's problems are temporary. They say the travel market is cyclical and that Dulles will rebound.
":The future of Dulles is bright,": said Jack Potter, president and chief executive of the airports authority.
Dulles could stand to get a boost with the opening of Metro's new Silver Line. The second phase of the $5.6 billion line, expected to be finished in 2018, will include an airport station.
Other reasons to be hopeful include Air China's launch of nonstop service to Beijing and the start of daily service by budget carrier Frontier, said Scott York, chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
":There are obviously a few clouds over Dulles,": he said. ":But I also see a bit of sunshine.":
ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) &ndash: More than 2,500 needy people and families will get a proper Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings Thursday at one of the largest Thanksgiving celebrations in Northern Virginia.
The Knights of Columbus in North Arlington will serve more than 2.8 tons of turkey, as well as side dishes, to homebound people and public safety workers who would normally be spending the holiday alone.
This is the 30th year that the Edward Douglass White Council has hosted the dinner.
":People thank us every year for doing this. To be honest that humbles us, it's second nature for us to care for our neighbors, to defend the dignity of life,&rdquo: said Grand Knight John M. White in a statement. : ":Our doors are open to all. We welcome on duty firefighters, police, EMTs and anyone else who wishes to share in fellowship on this great holiday.":
About 250 volunteer cooks, carvers, servers, and drivers and helpers will be on hand to help serve dinner from 2- p.m. Thursday.
Some aggrieved Walmart workers and their advocates have a slew of grievances. And for the third year in a row, they will air them on one of the busiest shopping days: Black Friday.
Protesters are expected to gather outside 1,600 Walmart stores across the country as the retailer launches doorbuster deals.
That would be more than ever before, according to organizers. Some demonstrations are planned for Wednesday, while others will take place on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday.
Among the bigger events are expected in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, Tampa, Dallas, Denver and Sacramento. Walmart has 4,281 U.S. stores.
Some workers are expected to strike, walking off the job during their shift. They will be joined by teachers and other community leaders.
The demonstrators are backed by groups like OUR Walmart, which has union ties. And they are calling for higher wages (a minimum of $15 an hour) and fair schedules.
In response, a Walmart spokeswoman said a lot of the demonstrators are not Walmart workers and do not accurately reflect the views of its employees.
CEO Doug McMillon said last month that only 6,000 of the company's 1.3 million U.S. workers are paid at the minimum wage. He vowed that the company would eventually pay all its workers above the minimum wage.
At least one Walmart employee planning to protest this week said it's not just about money.
"We're overworked, underpaid and disrespected," said Shomari Lewis, who works overnights in Arlington, Texas, stocking inventory.
One of his biggest complaints: He says his workload has increased over the past couple of years, without what he feels is a commensurate increase in pay.
Walmart protesters come out from time to time throughout the year, but most demonstrations happen around Black Friday. Fast-food and other retail workers have also been protesting in recent years, asking to be paid a living wage.
ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) -- Marijuana is no longer a taboo subject.
":I would rather see people out and stoned than out and drunk,": said Ryan D'Arville, a supporter of marijuana decriminalization.
As more states and governments pass laws to decriminalize or legalize pot, the Commonwealth of Virginia is now the next state getting ready to tackle weed.
A Virginia State Senator will bring his marijuana decriminalization bill to Richmond this January.
":This is not going to legalize marijuana. It is going to make it no longer have a criminal penalty,": said Senator Adam Ebbin, (D) 30th District, Virginia.
He says too many African Americans are going to jail and too much money is being spent.
":We are spending $67 million dollars of taxpayer funds to enforce marijuana prohibition,": said Sen. Ebbin.
Under the current law, a first offense will cost someone $500 and 30 days in jail.
Sen. Ebbin's bill would reduce the fine to $100 and would only be a civil offense - like a parking ticket.
However, distribution of pot would still be illegal. It would get reduced to a misdemeanor, if less than 1 pound, according to the legislation.
The proposal is getting mixed reviews in Virginia.
":It's bad because it is not good for the children,": said Esmarta Billdoro, a mother.
":That's just one less reason to take people to jail,": said one man who did not identify.
Jeremy Mayer is an associate professor at George Mason University and teaches government.
He said the road to marijuana decriminalization is being paved, but this is just a start.
":Virginia is still at heart a purple state, it is a state with a liberal, democratic governor, a conservative legislature. You are going to need a different Richmond to decriminalize marijuana,": said Mayer, associate professor at GMU.
State Senator Adam Ebbin said he knows the legislation is an uphill battle.
":This certainly is going to be a tough bill to pass but it's an important conversation to have,": said Sen. Ebbin.
The next legislative session in Richmond begins in January.
To take a look at the legislation, you can find it here: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=151&:typ=bil&:val=sb686
Maria Luciotti, the fitness manager at Gold's Gym in South Arlington, joined us to show us some creative exercises to get you moving while you're preparing for your feast. brightcove.createExperiences():
ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) &ndash: Bravo, says liberal talk-show host Mark Levine of Alexandria.
Boo-and-hiss, says conservative Corey Stewart, chairman of Prince William County&rsquo:s Board of Supervisors.
Back and forth they went Monday on NewsChannel 8&rsquo:s NewsTalk, with their primary point of contention being President Obama&rsquo:s executive order last week that gives some 400 million undocumented immigrants &ndash: mostly Hispanic -- a temporary reprieve from deportation.
It wasn&rsquo:t so much a debate as it was a regurgitation of talking points and ideology.
Stewart, who helped make a name for himself by using an iron fist to crack down on illegal immigrants in his county, insisted that Obama &ldquo:over-stepped his bounds.&rdquo:
Levine, a nationally known pundit who tried but failed in his attempt to replace retiring Virginia congressman Jim Moran (D), insisted that &ldquo:Republicans should get to work and pass a bill.&rdquo:
Criminals appeared to be the crux of Stewart&rsquo:s concern. Obama indicated weeding out felons would be a top priority when determining who leaves and who stays.
&ldquo:There&rsquo:s a big difference between what the president says and what&rsquo:s happening on the ground,&rdquo: he said. &ldquo:. . .Who they consider criminals are felons (yet) we have a whole series, in Prince William County alone, of people who have committed very serious misdemeanors, malicious wounding, sexual assault, domestic assault, indecent liberties with children.
&ldquo:Under the president&rsquo:s policy, those aren&rsquo:t considered serious crimes. . . They&rsquo:re not felonies but they certainly do endanger the public, and those people have been released by the president. . .and now provided sanctuary.&rdquo:
Levine countered with the fact that the government doesn&rsquo:t have the funds for a fine-tooth comb. And besides. . .
&ldquo:The immigration law is already pretty harsh,&rdquo: he said. &ldquo:People can be deported for using marijuana. It&rsquo:s that small of a violation, and so the answer is, if the Republicans don&rsquo:t like the specifics, they know what they can do. They can pass a law in the House.&rdquo:
Stewart, meanwhile, pointed out he&rsquo:s glad the bipartisan immigration legislation passed by the Senate never came to a vote in the House, that it didn&rsquo:t do enough to ensure local enforcement.
He also said the president is trying to &ldquo:play Latinos&rdquo: with his executive action.
&ldquo:He&rsquo:s counting on the fact this is somehow going to win the Latino vote in 2016 for Democrats,&rdquo: Stewart said. &ldquo:I think they can see through it. I don&rsquo:t think it&rsquo:s going to have any lasting effect.&rdquo:
ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) &ndash: The mayor&rsquo:s former press secretary politely chuckled at first but then more or less donned a defensive scowl.
Natalie Williams was in no mood to joke about the infamously swashbuckling style of her former boss, Marion Barry, during her panel appearance Monday on NewChannel 8&rsquo:s NewsTalk.
The assembled, including host Bruce DePuyt, longtime Barry scribe/foil/admirer Harry Jaffe of the Washingtonian and ABC7 reporter Sam Ford, all duly noted the magnetic force and tangible impact Barry &ndash: who died this past weekend &ndash: had on the District.
Elected in 1978 for his first term as D.C. mayor, Barry ostensibly &ndash: and single-handedly &ndash: transformed the city from the previous under-my-thumb whims of Congress.
&ldquo:Why did the white developers like him?,&rdquo: said Jaffe, co-author of the book &lsquo:Dream City,&rsquo: &ldquo:Marion Barry was a deal maker. The downtown of Washington was a backwater and nothing was going on. While Marion was mayor. . .it became vibrant.
&ldquo:He was that kind of a leader.&rdquo:
Added Williams: &ldquo:He made a very conscious decision to make sure. . .City Hall was reflective of the communities.&rdquo:
Of course, there was the other stuff. The Vista hotel. The late-night carousing. The seeming indifference to paying taxes. And on and on.
&ldquo:Let&rsquo:s not forget the personal side &ndash: the man was a disaster,&rdquo: Jaffe said. &ldquo:Why is our book kind of compelling to read? The lead character. Sex. Drugs. Alcohol.
&ldquo:He lived a life that unfortunately tarnished his role as a leader, as well, in his running of the government.&rdquo:
Williams said she&rsquo:s disturbed by such rhetoric, and that &ldquo:his work on behalf of the people never changed.&rdquo:
Later she said she was in of a bit of &ldquo:a difficult place&rdquo: here. &ldquo:I&rsquo:m not here to talk about Marion Barry&rsquo:s self-destructions. . . He touched many people.&rdquo:
As the Washington Post&rsquo:s lead editorial noted Monday in its headline: &ldquo:The &lsquo:Mayor for Life&rsquo: should be remembered for his trailblazing, not just his misdeeds.&rdquo:
Yes, but. . .
&ldquo:You can&rsquo:t ignore the fact that his personal life affected his public life,&rdquo: Jaffe said. &ldquo:The view of Washington, D.C. for many years was this is town awash with crack cocaine, and the mayor was addicted to crack cocaine, and it was true.&rdquo:
Jaffe went on to say Barry successfully exploited his fierce following in Ward 8 to remain in power despite the scandals.
&ldquo:The city has changed,&rdquo: he said. &ldquo:Timing being what it is, he was powerful when he was needed as a leader, and then he became someone who was hard to listen to.
&ldquo:He was almost like your old uncle who sits at the dining room table and spouts off things.&rdquo:
ARLINGTON, Va. (NewsChannel 8) - Washington Redskins fullback Darrel Young joins Alex Parker on the twelfth edition of ":After the Game.":
Young discusses Sunday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers, which brought the team down to 3-8, and looks ahead to next week's game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Watch at 7 p.m. tonight on NewsChannel 8!
ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) &ndash: Allan Lichtman, Distinguished Professor in American University&rsquo:s history department, would like you to consider two words: &ldquo:historical precedent.&rdquo:
He was talking about President Obama&rsquo:s speech the previous night that outlined a somewhat exhaustive but nonetheless temporary executive order on immigration that provides security and relief for millions of undocumented immigrants.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called it act of "lawlessness."
Others in the GOP threw around talking-points words such as "king" or "emperor."
But when Lichtman, who appeared on NewChannel 8&rsquo:s NewsTalk via telephone, talked about historical precedent, he wasn&rsquo:t talking about the fact that Ronald Reagan and G.H. Bush, Republicans both, also addressed immigration reform though executive action &ndash: orders that also gave relief to undocumented immigrants.
No, he was talking about an entirely different kind of executive action.
&ldquo:The most significant example of executive action on immigration comes from a Republican president,&rdquo: Lichtman said, &ldquo:and was far more sweeping, FAR more sweeping than anything that President Obama has done with his executive orders.&rdquo:
That would be Herbert Hoover in 1930.
But this one was immigration reform with a twist.
King? Emperor? Consider this.
&ldquo:He unilaterally decided in the middle of the Great Depression &ndash: perhaps (adopting) American jobs for Americans &ndash: that he would not allow into the United States anyone who didn&rsquo:t have sufficient means to support themselves,&rdquo: Lichtman said.
&ldquo:That cut out almost everybody. That executive order reduced immigration to America from all lands by 90 percent. It virtually wiped out any possibility of people coming to this country.&rdquo:
It was scuttled in 1938 under President Franklin Roosevelt.
&ldquo:Republicans are claiming, of course, that the president has gone well beyond the bounds of his authority in issuing his executive order on immigration,&rdquo: Lichtman said. &ldquo:In fact, history is replete with presidents acting unilaterally on immigration matters.&rdquo:
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