When we last visited our
tolerant fire-fearing neighbor to the west, two bartenders were facing decades in prison for a trick right out of a forgettable 1980s Tom Cruise movie. Fortunately for common sense and all involved, those charges have been dropped.
Fairfax County prosecutors have filed a motion to drop felony arson charges against two fire-breathing bartenders who were facing more than 35 years in prison apiece for performing flaming bar tricks.All's well that ends well. So now Herndon can return to what it's been best known for in recent years: fun and games involving its attempts to
Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Morrogh confirmed to The Washington Examiner on Tuesday that he dismissed three felony charges because he couldn't find any evidence that the Jimmy's Old Town Tavern barkeeps were trying to hurt anybody. Nobody was injured the night the men were arrested, but there was evidence that a paper airplane hanging from the ceiling caught fire and burned, Morrogh said.
"I'm not saying it wasn't dangerous, but they weren't trying to burn anything," Morrogh said. "They were just trying to do tricks."
Mixologists Tegee Rogers, 33, and Justin Fedorchak, 39, still each face three misdemeanor charges through the Herndon municipal court. The men could get up to a year in jail for each misdemeanor. A trial date has not been scheduled.
The bar, which sits across the street from the Herndon Fire Station, had been performing the fire-breathing act for 13 years, owner Jimmy Cirrito told The Examiner last week. He said fire officials had never warned the bar to stop them. Fire officials said they investigated after receiving a letter and photo of the flaming act.
The Virginia New Majority, an Alexandria-based political action group with ties to labor unions recently targeted Herndon, attempting to fuel political change within the town.Been there, done that. But when VNM decided to hold a meeting in Herndon earlier this month, things got ugly:
This past spring, VNM ran an advertisement on the website www.Hispanic-Jobs.com, looking to recruit organizers for what it called its "Herndon campaign." VNM Executive Director John Liss, who also is the director of Tenants and Workers United, said the "Herndon campaign" is in full swing.
"We are trying to politically engage Herndon voters against the climate of hate that has been created over the last four years," Liss said. "We are trying to rescind the anti-solicitation ordinance that the previous town council enacted as they were going out the door."
That ordinance, which took effect on July 1, prohibits "the solicitation of contributions, the distribution of hand bills and the sale of merchandise or services on public streets by pedestrians to occupants of motor vehicles." According to town officials, the ordinance was enacted as a public safety measure. But Liss maintains the ordinance unfairly targets day laborers, the majority of whom are Hispanic.
On Aug. 4, VNM had a private meeting in the Herndon community center to meet with 45 or so recent recruits.Anyway, there have been some unpleasant letters going back and forth, plus charges of some giant union conspiracy to reinstate a day labor center -- because under-the-table, minimum-wage work is good for unions! -- and then, in its most sinister effort yet, force all Herndon residents to drink fluoridated Mountain Dew from the 7-11 on Alabama Street, but we're depressed enough as it is so we're just going to stop here.
Former Herndon council member Ann Null, a passionate opponent of the now-defunct Herndon Day Labor center, attended the meeting and was asked to leave by members of the VNM.
"She refused to leave after being told repeatedly that it was a private meeting," said Herndon police spokesman Lt. Jeff Coulter, who added that Null was taken away in handcuffs.
According to court records, Null was charged with trespassing. Her hearing is scheduled for Sept. 29. She was released on a $1,000 bond.