Archive: February 2006

Higher Property Tax Bills Coming; Also a 7-Cent Rate Cut

Property tax assessments for Fairfax County homeowners have been mailed out and for a sixth straight year most tax bills will go up. That is despite a 7-cent cut in the tax rate proposed in the budget presented by the County Executive at yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting. More about taxes and the budget is in this story from today's Metro section. Homeowners can access their assements online here....

By | February 28, 2006; 3:30 PM ET | Email a Comment

Comments Sought on Metro Extension

From today's Metro section: A public hearing will be held next month to get comment on design changes for the first half of the planned Metrorail extension through Tysons Corner to Dulles International Airport. Project managers released a report on the effect of the changes. The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 28 at Kilmer Middle School, 8100 Wolftrap Rd., Vienna. Comments may also be submitted to eacomments@dullesmetro.com . Those changes include shortening the underground portion of the line in Tysons Corner, which would enable the Tysons station to be at ground level instead of below ground as initially planned....

By | February 28, 2006; 11:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Animal Rights Group Sues Circus in Fairfax Court

Updated 3/16 The jury found yesterday that Ringling Bros. did not harm or conspire against PETA. The story is here. Originally Posted 2/28The owner of the Tysons Corner-based Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus is being sued in  Fairfax by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for espionage. Circus officials admit to the espionage, saying it was necessary to combat aggressive tactics employed by PETA, which campaigns against the use of performing animals. Ringling Brothers says infiltration is not illegal and PETA can prove no harm. The story is in today's Metro section....

By | February 28, 2006; 11:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

Community Meeting To Name New Elementary School Set

Fairfax County Public Schools has released a statement announcing a community meeting to name the new elementary school on Dixie Hill Road in Fairfax. Read about it here....

By | February 27, 2006; 3:23 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Releases $3.2 Billion Budget For Fiscal 2007

County Executive Anthony H. Griffin is proposing a $3.2 billion budget for the 2007 fiscal year which begins in July. There's a slight decrease in tax rate proposed....

By | February 27, 2006; 1:09 PM ET | Email a Comment

Thomas Jefferson High Shows Modest Gains In Diversity

After implementing a policy to increase minority enrollment at the county's magnet school for science and technology last year, officials at Thomas Jefferson say only small improvements have been made in creating a more racially and ethnically diverse student body....

By | February 27, 2006; 12:14 PM ET | Email a Comment

Local Governments Face An Aging Workforce

Fairfax County is among the local jurisdictions that are facing a graying workforce: 610 county employees were recognized on Friday for at least 20 years on the job, with some having worked for the county government for 40 years. The number of workers who will likely retire beginning in 2011, and the smaller pool of younger workers waiting to replace them, have some officials concerned. Read about the issue in this article from yesterday's Metro section....

By | February 27, 2006; 12:08 PM ET | Email a Comment

Suburban Concerns Shaping 2006 General Assembly Session

Some Northern Virginians complain that "Richmond just doesn't get it" on issues that affect lives in the communities of the nation's capital. But an article in yesterday's Metro section shows that concerns of suburban Virginians seem to be on lawmakers' minds this year....

By | February 27, 2006; 12:00 PM ET | Email a Comment

HOT Lanes Could Negate Beltway Improvements Planners Warn

An article in today's Metro section decribes better traffic flow on the Capital Beltway thanks to improvements in Springfield and near the entrance to the Dulles Toll Road. But could the construction of planned high-occupany toll lanes undo the improvements? Some transportation planners say another tangle of entrances and exits for HOT lanes could cause problems....

By | February 27, 2006; 11:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fehrwell

After five years as Fairfax Extra editor and editor of the blog, I start Mon. Feb. 27 on a new gig: assistant Virginia editor. I'll be overseeing local government coverage in Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington, Prince William and Loudoun counties and towns and cities including Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax City. It's been a pleasure. I may post a comment now and again in the blog. Meantime, my email address will stay the same: fehrs@washpost.com....

By Steve Fehr | February 25, 2006; 3:47 PM ET | Email a Comment

Following Fairfax County's World Champion Swimmer?

Focus on Fairfax has posted previously on Kate Ziegler, the Bishop O'Connell senior who took two gold medals at last year's World Swimming Championships. See another story in Sports in today's Post....

By | February 24, 2006; 11:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Anti-Immigration Activists To Hold Conference In Herndon

A Fairfax County-based journal run by anti-immigration activists starts a three-day conference at the Hyatt Dulles hotel in Herndon today. The publication, American Renaissance, urges ending immigration and reversing anti-discrimination laws. The journal's publisher, the New Century Foundation, has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. See article in today's Metro section for details on the conference....

By | February 24, 2006; 10:31 AM ET | Email a Comment

A Blaze Set For Meadow's Health

From today's Fairfax Extra: County parks officials recently set fire to a 20-acre meadow in the Centreville area as part of an effort to create a more diverse field of native grasses and wildflowers. (Continue reading "A Blaze Set For Meadow's Health.")...

By | February 23, 2006; 2:25 PM ET | Email a Comment

Democrats Hopeful As Election Preparation Begins

As local Democratic leaders begin to prepare their candidates to challenge popular Republican Reps. Thomas M. Davis and Frank R. Wolf in 2006, they say that GOP corruption scandals may help them to get voters to consider a change. A detailed article is in today's Fairfax Extra....

By | February 23, 2006; 2:18 PM ET | Email a Comment

Texas Chili Gives Way To Virginia Development Pressures

A Fairfax Extra news story today shows how development pressures are forcing the closure of a Falls Church blue-collar landmark, the P&P Restaurant, recalled as "a community center with beer."...

By | February 23, 2006; 2:05 PM ET | Email a Comment

Plum Seeks Opinions On Transportation Plans

From today's Fairfax Extra: Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax) is asking constituents about their views on the transportation plans under consideration by the General Assembly. Those without access to the Internet can call 703-758-9733 to request a written copy of the survey. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has introduced a plan, Senate Republicans have a proposal, and House Republicans made a recommendation last week.Constituents can take the survey at Plum's Web site, http://www.kenplum.com , by clicking on the link under "Transportation Survey."...

By | February 23, 2006; 1:50 PM ET | Email a Comment

Public Input Sought On Bus Route Changes

From today's Fairfax Extra: The county bus system will hold a public meeting next month to hear from residents about proposed changes to Fairfax Connector's Route 989 service. The route operates weekdays from Reston East at Wiehle Avenue park-and-ride lot to the Pentagon Metro station and Crystal City. Because of street direction changes in Pentagon City and Crystal City, some passengers have requested that the route be streamlined. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. March 1 at McNair Elementary School, 2499 Thomas Jefferson Dr., Herndon. For more information, call 703-339-7200 or visit http://www.fairfaxconnector.com ....

By | February 23, 2006; 1:45 PM ET | Email a Comment

Karate Instructor Admits Burglary

Andrew Jacobs, 43, a part-time martial arts instructor admitted yesterday in court that he was the masked man who was fought off by two of his 10-year-old students and their parents when he broke into a Vienna townhouse in October. Read about it here....

By | February 23, 2006; 11:29 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church Assessments Swell

From today's Metro section: Housing values in Falls Church have increased by 13.9 percent in the past year, city officials said yesterday. The median value of a single-family home this year is $649,300. The rise is smaller than that from 2004 to 2005, when residential assessments grew 16.5 percent. Condominiums fueled some of this year's rise, increasing in value by 21.5 percent to a median of $347,700. Falls Church residents who are 65 and older or permanently disabled might be eligible for the city's real-estate tax relief program. For more information, visit http://www.fallschurchva.gov or call 703-248-5005....

By | February 22, 2006; 11:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Schools on a Quest For Diversity In Gifted Programs

Fairfax County Public Schools is among the local school systems that has been experimenting with different ways to make the student body in its gifted and talented programs more diverse. An article about the schools efforts is in today's Metro section....

By | February 22, 2006; 11:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Appoints Hill Acting Rail and Public Director

The governor has named Corey W. Hill to head the state agency responsible for rail and public transportation. The news release is here....

By | February 21, 2006; 5:22 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Middle Schoolers Watch Heart Surgery

About 3,000 eighth-graders take a field trip each year to witness heart surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital's heart institute. An account of one such excursion was in the is morning's Style section....

By | February 21, 2006; 11:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

Firms Named to Plan Fort Belvoir Growth

The Army has announced that it has selected two firms to oversee the complex task of preparing Fort Belvoir for the arrival of 21,000 military and civilian personnel and contractors under the Base Realignment and Closure recommendations made last year....

By | February 21, 2006; 11:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine's Slow-Growth Proposals, Now You See 'Em, Now You Don't

Michael D. Shear's Virginia Notebook column in this week's Fairfax Extra explains the mystery of the living dead bill....

By | February 17, 2006; 1:48 PM ET | Email a Comment

Please Read: Rules Issued for Commenting on Fairfax Focus Blog

Some readers of this blog have recently raised questions about the role of The Washington Post in policing Fairfax Focus. I have deleted a few blog posts because they did not meet The Post's standards for fairness. For more clarity about how to play by the rules, Jim Brady, the executive editor of washingtonpost.com has posted a message explaining the rules for readers participating in the site's Live Online discussions, discussion forums and for posting comments on the company's blogs. The complete list of rules is here. --Steve Fehr, Fairfax Extra Editor...

By | February 17, 2006; 1:06 PM ET | Email a Comment

Annandale Family Led Multimillion Dollar Gambling Ring

Police said they seized nearly $2 million and $1 million in jewelry during the two-year investigation, according to an article in this morning's Metro section....

By | February 17, 2006; 11:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

Lewinsville Senior Center To Expand

Plans are proceeding to renovate and expand a recreational and assisted living center for seniors in McLean. Read about it here....

By | February 16, 2006; 1:26 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Selects Development Plan For Wiehle Avenue Metro Stop

The Fairfax Extra reports that  Reston-based Comstock Partners' proposal for a mixed-use development at the planned Wiehle Avenue Metro stop has been approved by a selection committee....

By | February 16, 2006; 1:14 PM ET | Email a Comment

Help Available With Returns, Relief for Eligible Taxpayers

From today's Fairfax Extra: People needing help with federal and state income tax returns can take advantage of several free programs. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/15/AR2006021501049_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/15/AR2006021501049.html','People needing help with federal and state income tax returns can take advantage of several free programs.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); · Fairfax County residents making less than $37,000 a year can receive free income tax filing assistance through a county program, officials said. Help is offered at 12 locations throughout Northern Virginia through May 1. For more information about the program and locations, call 703-222-0880 or 703-324-5319. For information in Spanish, call 703-631-3366. Or visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/partnerships . Those preparing their own returns can call the IRS hotline at 800-829-1040 or visit http://www.irs.gov ....

By | February 16, 2006; 12:51 PM ET | Email a Comment

Walking May Be Hazardous To Your Health

Today's Fairfax Extra cover story looks at the perils of being a pedestrian in Fairfax County and what the government, planners and neighborhood leaders would like to do about them....

By | February 16, 2006; 11:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

J.E.B Stuart Principal Moving to T.C. Williams

Mel Riddile, who was recently named principal of the year by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, will move from his current job in July. Read the article here....

By | February 16, 2006; 11:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Day Laborers Sue For Unpaid Wages

The 23 men, who were hired to dig ditches for Verizon fiber-optic cables, say that a Hagerstown subcontractor -- himself three layers removed from Verizon -- owes them $25,000. The Post article is in the Business section....

By | February 16, 2006; 10:09 AM ET | Email a Comment

Regional Traffic Study; A Picture of Sustained Misery

A front page story in theWashington Post says that although some of the local choke-points in Fairfax have improved somewhat, traffic in the region overall continues to overwhelm roads. An article in today's Metro section lists the region's top ten bottlenecks which include the evening rush in I-66 near Falls Church....

By | February 16, 2006; 9:57 AM ET | Email a Comment

Nighttime Beltway Delays Expected For Route 7 Bridge Repair

The following news release was issued today by VDOT: VDOT Begins Work on Route 7 Bridge over BeltwayNighttime detour begins mid-MarchOn February 17, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will begin site preparation for the rehabilitation of the Route 7 bridge over the Capital Beltway (I-495) in Fairfax County.  During the seven-month repair project, motorists should expect delays between 9 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. Once construction swings into high-gear in mid-March, Beltway motorists heading to Route 7 towards Tysons Corner or Falls Church will be detoured to Route 123.   The I-495 northbound ramp to westbound Route 7 and the southbound I-495 ramp to eastbound Route 7 will be closed from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m....

By | February 15, 2006; 4:31 PM ET | Email a Comment

Neighboring Jurisdictions Expect Increase In Assessments

Because of the rise in property values, both Loudoun County and the City of Alexandria expect to be able to increase spending while simultaneously reducing tax rates. The story was in today's Metro section....

By | February 15, 2006; 1:48 PM ET | Email a Comment

Get Road Updates By E-Mail

From today's Metro section: Motorists stuck in traffic can get real-time e-mail updates about road conditions from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the agency announced yesterday. The e-mail alerts are part of the state's 511 travel service, which provides up-to-the-minute information on weather conditions, road construction and traffic incidents as well as on lodging, food and gas. Drivers can sign up for the free service by going to http://www.511Virginia.org ....

By | February 14, 2006; 12:40 PM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Proposes End to Auto Decal Tax

In his annual state of the county address tonight, Gerald E. Connolly said he wants to eliminate the decals and tax forever. Here is the text of a news release just issued:...

By Steve Fehr | February 13, 2006; 8:00 PM ET | Email a Comment

888 Sober Mount Vernon Drivers

The following news releases are from the Fairfax County Police Depatement: Mount Vernon District DWI Checkpoint Results Fairfax County police officers from the Mount Vernon District Station conducted a sobriety checkpoint from 11 p.m. Friday, February 10 to 2 a.m. Saturday. All motorists were stopped, and the drivers were checked to assure their abilities to drive had not been impaired by alcohol or drugs. Approximately 888 cars passed through the checkpoint conducted near 6130 Richmond Highway. One motorist was arrested for possession of false identification, six were arrested for driving without a license and one was arrested for driving on a suspended license. Sully District DWI Checkpoint Results Fairfax County police officers from the Sully District Station conducted a sobriety checkpoint from 11 p.m. Thursday, February 9 to 2 a.m. Friday. All motorists were stopped, and the drivers were checked to assure their abilities to drive had not been impaired...

By | February 13, 2006; 2:46 PM ET | Email a Comment

Continue Discussion Here On School Boundary Changes in Fairfax

Several posts on the subject of proposed school boundary changes have generated a spirited debate and lively discussion on the Fairfax blog. That's a good thing.   At least three discussion threads have been among the most popular on the blog for readers' comments. These are: High School Boundary Changes Meeting Set For Tomorrow Night, Schools Post Info From Springfield Boundary Study and Growth in Students Slowing, Signaling More Boundary Changes. To make it easier for readers to follow the discussion on this important issue, we have decided to shut down these three discussion threads and ask readers to continue posting their opinions under the single title above, "Continue Discussion Here On School Boundary Changes in Fairfax." The comments from the previous posts will be kept in the archive. Nothing will be deleted. But going forward, please limit comments about school boundary changes to this single thread. As always we...

By | February 13, 2006; 11:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

Some Residents Dissatisfied With Tysons Development Process

Some Tysons Corner area residents interested in the development plans for the area were dismayed at last week's informational forum to find that communication with government officials was being filtered through layers of paid consultants and task force representatives. An article that details some of the citizen's misgivings is in today's Metro section....

By | February 13, 2006; 11:12 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Detective Had Affair With Suspect's Wife

A married Fairfax County police detective is embroiled in a controversy after an internal affairs probe revealed that he was having an affair with the wife of the county government worker he had been investigating for embezzlement. The story was in Saturday's Metro section....

By | February 13, 2006; 10:39 AM ET | Email a Comment

Discussion to Cover Senior Citizens Issues

Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence) and the Mantua Civic Association are sponsoring a meeting on issues involving senior citizens, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 25. The meeting will include a series of panels on topics such as transportation, affordable housing, Medicare and community-based senior services. The meeting is at Mantua Elementary School, 9107 Horner Ct., Fairfax. For more information, call 703-560-6946....

By | February 13, 2006; 2:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

McLean Center Seeks Candidates for Board

is looking for people to serve on its 11-member governing board for 2006-07. Four adult positions and two youth positions are open this year. www.mcleancenter.org The board sets policy and oversees the community center's buildings and programs, including the Alden Theatre and the Old Firehouse Teen Center. All residents of Dranesville Tax District No. 1 are eligible to run for a seat on the board. Candidates are required to obtain the signatures of 10 McLean area residents to have their names placed on the ballot....

By | February 12, 2006; 3:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

Libraries Seek to Reopen 12 Branches on Sundays

From today's Fairfax Extra: The county library system is asking the Board of Supervisors to restore Sunday hours at 12 community branches that currently are not open because of budget cuts. Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D-Mason) said at Monday's board meeting that the library board is asking the supervisors to spend about $895,000 a year to pay for the branches to open from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/08/AR2006020800945_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/08/AR2006020800945.html','The county library system is asking the Board of Supervisors to restore Sunday hours at 12 community branches that currently are not open because of budget cuts.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() );...

By | February 12, 2006; 2:41 AM ET | Email a Comment

Honors Classes Vs. Advanced Placement, a Student's View

In his Extra Credit column , education writer Jay Matthews reprints an article from Pyramid, the student newspaper of West Potomac High School on the phasing out of honors classes in favor of AP and International Baccalaureate classes....

By | February 11, 2006; 3:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Human Services Not Yet Part of 211 System

Despite the launch this week of a statewide 211 call center for human services assistance, Fairfax County officials are asking residents to continue using existing phone numbers. The Virginia Statewide Information and Referral System is implementing the 211 number. Fairfax County has been carefully following this process and is working with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission to plan for 211 services in the near future that will best serve the needs of the Northern Virginia region, county officials said in a news release....

By | February 11, 2006; 2:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

GMU Emerging As Research Leader

Business columnist Steven Pearlstein writes in today's Post about George Mason University's growing reputation as a center for important  scientific and technological research....

By | February 10, 2006; 7:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Support Center Run by Mentally Ill Opens

Fairfax County opened a drop-in center for the mentally ill yesterday in Reston that is run by the mentally ill themselves. The center offers support, job and advocacy training as well as a chance to socialize, officials said. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/09/AR2006020902082_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('Metro','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/09/AR2006020902082.html','Health care workers conducted an exercise yesterday involving a scenario in which an explosion and a toxic chemical release occurred on the Mall. In the drill, security personnel also practiced crowd control procedures.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); Rather than providing clinical services, it is designed to offer a supportive environment for people with mental illness. The center, at 1820 Michael Faraday Dr., is open to anyone older than 18....

By | February 10, 2006; 7:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

Low Cost Condo Units Planned for County

The Fairfax Extra reports today that three housing organizations will cooperate to spend about $225,000 to construct a low cost condominium project to provide opportunities for home ownership to low income families....

By | February 9, 2006; 3:20 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax County Lawyer Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering

Robert M. Short, 39 who embezzled almost half a million dollars from his law from and from his clients in 2003, was in a New Jersey courtroom recently to plead guilty to money laundering in connection with the embezzlement. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

By | February 9, 2006; 3:15 PM ET | Email a Comment

Reston Community Center To Conduct Hearings

Reston area residents are invited to public hearings Saturday (Feb. 11) and Wednesday to discuss the future of the Reston Community Center. The key issues, according to a letter sent to residents, "concern the relative balance between the benefits the center affords its community and the tax burden it imposes, and the extent of consensus among various segments of Reston as to whether the current balance is appropriate." var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/08/AR2006020800945_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/08/AR2006020800945.html','The county library system is asking the Board of Supervisors to restore Sunday hours at 12 community branches that currently are not open because of budget cuts.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); The community center is supported by residents of Small Tax District No. 5. They pay an additional 5.2 cents for each $100 of assessed value on real estate to fund the center. The district includes Reston and some adjacent...

By | February 9, 2006; 3:06 PM ET | Email a Comment

State of the County Speech To Be Televised Monday

Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) will deliver the annual state of the county address at 7:30 p.m. Monday. The speech will be televised live on the county's Channel 16....

By | February 9, 2006; 2:49 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Park Authority Considering Higher Fees

Today's Fairfax Extra takes a look at some the fee increases the Fairfax County Park Authority is considering....

By | February 9, 2006; 12:54 PM ET | Email a Comment

A life in Politics: Jack Herrity Remembered

Lisa Rein's Fairfax Politics column in today's paper recalls Jack Herrity's life in, and love for, politics....

By | February 9, 2006; 12:41 PM ET | Email a Comment

Vietnamese Mother of Slain U.S. Marine Seeks Residency

Binh Le, a U.S. Marine corporal, a graduate of Edison High School and a Vietnamese citizen, died in 2004 while serving in Iraq. Posthumously, he was awarded U.S. citizenship. His mother, Kim-Hoan Thi Nguyen,  now staying in Springfield with a friend, wants to lay flowers on her son's grave at Arlington National Cemetery each week, but her applications for permanent residency have been denied. Read her story here....

By | February 9, 2006; 11:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

Annandale Pedestrian Dies from Injuries

From today's Metro section: An Annandale man who was struck by a car Friday evening on Little River Turnpike died yesterday from his injuries, Fairfax County police said. Thomas Edward Hope, 48, of the 4200 block of Conally Street tried to cross the 7400 block of Little River Turnpike near Annandale Road shortly before 7:30 p.m. and was hit by a 2000 Lincoln Continental driven by a 56-year-old Silver Spring woman, Officer Beth Funston said. Hope was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died yesterday. Police do not believe alcohol or speed were factors in the crash, and no charges have been filed against the driver....

By | February 9, 2006; 10:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Deputy Schools Chief Leaving

From today's Metro section: Brad Draeger, deputy superintendent of Fairfax County public schools, has been hired as schools chief for Livingston Public Schools in New Jersey. Draeger, who has been a Fairfax schools employee since 1979, started his career in the District as a music teacher at South Lakes High School. In Fairfax, he has worked as a high school principal, assistant superintendent for human resources and the school system's chief academic officer. He helped implement full-day kindergarten programs and worked to develop a program for young children with autism....

By | February 9, 2006; 10:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Speakers Express Concern About MetroWest at Hearing

Post coverage of last night's hearing, where the majority of speakers were critical of the project's potential impact, is in today's Metro section....

By | February 9, 2006; 9:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

VDOT Suspends Evaluation of Dulles Toll Road Proposals

The suspension will last for 45 days while transportation secretary Pierce R. Homer reviews an alternate proposal from the Metropolitan Airports Authority. VDOT's news release is here....

By | February 8, 2006; 5:04 PM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine's Growth Control Plan Suffers Setback in Richmond

Kaine's proposal to give local governments more authority to slow growth if the roads are inadequate was rejected by a vote of 9-2 in a subcommittee of the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee today. The story is here....

By | February 8, 2006; 4:37 PM ET | Email a Comment

Hearings Today and Thursday on Dominion Virginia Line

From today's Metro section: The State Corporation Commission will hold three public hearings today and tomorrow in Loudoun County on Dominion Virginia Power's proposal to build a transmission line from its Pleasant View substation east of Leesburg to a new substation northwest of Hamilton. The utility says the line would serve development in the western part of the county. After residents and county supervisors opposed a proposal to build the line along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, Dominion agreed to propose an option that would install the line mostly along Route 7. The first hearing is at 1:30 p.m. today, the second at 7 p.m. and the third at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow. All will be in the boardroom of the Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison St. SE in Leesburg. For more information, visit http://www.loudoun.gov/issues/power.htm ....

By | February 8, 2006; 11:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Announces More Transportation Forums

The governor's announcement came yesterday that he wants to continue the town hall style meetings that he began prior to his inauguration. The story is here....

By | February 8, 2006; 11:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Faces Behind the Minutemen

Arizona grandmother Carmen Mercer has become known as one of the more public faces of the Minuteman Project which recently has been tracking the activities of day laborers in Herndon. An article about Mercer and her campaign to secure the country's borders is in today's Metro section....

By | February 8, 2006; 11:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

A Blow to Plan for Urban Center at Tysons

Lerner Enterprises has decided to scale back its plan to build 540 condominium units at the busy job center and instead to build a few as 300 larger, and more expensive, ones. County officials say there is little they can do since Lerner had agreed only to build a certain amount of residential space, not a certain number of units....

By | February 7, 2006; 10:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

County To Buy Reston Apartments To Preserve Affordable Rents

The county will pay $49.5 million for the 180 unit Crescent Apartments to prevent their conversion to luxury condominiums. Today's Metro section has the story....

By | February 7, 2006; 9:52 AM ET | Email a Comment

For Chocolate Lovers, Truffles In Paradise

Coverage of the 14th annual Chocolate Lovers Festival, held this past weekend in Fairfax, is here....

By | February 6, 2006; 11:24 AM ET | Email a Comment

Jack Herrity Dead at 75

Updated 2/6: Coverage of Herrity's funeral is here. Originally posted 2/1: The influential local politican died this morning of an aortic aneurism, according to his son. The story is here. The county's Office of Public Affairs has released a statement regarding the news....

By | February 6, 2006; 11:15 AM ET | Email a Comment

It's a Bus, It's a Room, It's a Mobile Lounge

You know those things you ride in to get from the terminal to your plane at Dulles? Today's Fairfax Extra takes a look at their history and at the people that drive them....

By | February 4, 2006; 2:26 AM ET | Email a Comment

Karen Rae Resigns

From a news release: Virginia Rail and Public Transportation Agency Director Karen J. Rae today announced that she will resign effective Feb. 22. She has served as the Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation since August 2002....

By Steve Fehr | February 3, 2006; 5:27 PM ET | Email a Comment

Business Groups Put Up Money For Pre-K Programs

The group of local business leaders said that they are investing in their own future workforce by giving the youngest children a leg up. Today's Metro section has the story....

By | February 3, 2006; 11:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Chantilly Company Under Investigation For Dumping Of Dead Pets

A Chantilly crematorium that specializes in disposal of the remains of deceased pets is under investigation by Fairfax County police after the carcasses of hundred of animals were discovered dumped in rural West Virgina. Read about it in today's Metro section....

By | February 3, 2006; 10:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Homeless Shelters Overflowing

According to a front page article in this morning's Washington Post, Fairfax County has experienced a marked increase in the number of homeless people seeking shelter this winter....

By | February 3, 2006; 10:42 AM ET | Email a Comment

Governor Announces Nationwide Search For Transportation Commissioner

From Gov. Kaine's office: GOVERNOR KAINE LAUNCHES BIPARTISAN, NATIONWIDE SEARCH FOR TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER  RICHMOND - Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced that the recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International of Washington D.C. has been selected to conduct a nationwide search for a transportation leader to serve as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)....

By | February 2, 2006; 2:34 PM ET | Email a Comment

Historic Clifton Home Could Be Torn Down

From today's Fairfax Extra: The Clifton Town Council is scheduled Tuesday to consider a request to tear down a historic home that was built shortly after the end of the Civil War. Preservation and history enthusiasts are encouraging the council to require the developer, Marcus and Colette Silva to incorporate as many of the interior and exterior elements of the house as possible in the new building. The Hetzel House, at 7151 Pendelton St. in the town's historic district, was built in1870. It is a gabled-front-and-wing structure with a metal seamed roof. No one has lived there for 15 years, and the Silvas want to build a new home on the site. The 7 p.m. council meeting is at the Town Meeting Hall, 12641 Chapel. Rd....

By | February 2, 2006; 2:15 PM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly and Mendelsohn Find Common Ground

One time political foes Gerald E. Connolly (D) and Stuart Mendelsohn (R) have buried the hatchet according to Lisa Rein's Fairfax Politics article, which tell us that before the holidays, Mendelsohn held a fundraiser for Connolly at his law office....

By | February 2, 2006; 2:04 PM ET | Email a Comment

Former Planning Commissioner On County's Future Land Use

John M. Palatiello, a former member of the county Planning Commission writes in today's Voices of Fairfax column that the recent Hunter Mill study could be a reflection for land use for the entire county....

By | February 2, 2006; 1:59 PM ET | Email a Comment

Group Encourages Citizens To Attend MetroWest Hearing

The text of a letter to the Fairfax Extra: Fairfax County's strong electoral support for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) reflected its desire to place checks and balances on runaway development. The rezoning decision on the proposed MetroWest project near the Vienna Metro station is the county government's first opportunity since the election to act on this message from the voters. We encourage concerned citizens to speak at or attend the rezoning hearing before the Planning Commission at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday. For details, see http://www.fairgrowth.org . Your perspectives will help the commission adjust the final shape of the project to reflect broad community interests....

By | February 2, 2006; 1:35 PM ET | Email a Comment

More Bug Spraying Planned

County pest management specialists observed more gypsy moth egg masses last fall, prompting a call for more aerial spraying of insecticide this spring to combat the potential for defoliation the bugs bring. Today's Fairfax Extra has an article about the moths and the what the county is doing about them and other local forest pests....

By | February 2, 2006; 1:28 PM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Wants Easier Way To Find Land-Use Records

According to a Fairfax Extra report, the county Board of Supervisors Chairman has proposed expanding and simplifying online access to documents....

By | February 2, 2006; 1:15 PM ET | Email a Comment

Reps. Davis, Wolf Plan Town Meetings

From today's Fairfax Extra: Reps. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) and Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) are hosting town meetings Saturday and Feb. 11 in their districts. Davis will speak with constituents from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Vienna Town Hall, 127 Center St. South. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Davis will be at Fairview Elementary School, 5815 Ox Rd., Fairfax Station. Wolf's town meeting is at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 11 at Franklin Middle School, 3300 Lees Corner Rd., Chantilly....

By | February 2, 2006; 1:07 PM ET | Email a Comment

Holiday Shoplifting Patrols Make Nearly 270 Arrests

From today's Fairfax Extra: County police said they arrested 269 people and recovered about $111,000 in stolen merchandise and cash as part of a holiday crackdown on shoplifting. The Christmas anti-theft teams worked undercover at area shopping malls to identify and arrest people on shoplifting charges. The breakdown: · From Nov. 24 through Jan. 5, the McLean District police station said, 73 people were arrested, 175 criminal charges were filed and $67,778 was recovered in merchandise and cash. · From Nov. 18 through Jan. 6, the Franconia District Station recorded 95 arrests, 148 criminal charges filed and $11,966 in recovered merchandise and cash. · From Nov. 23 through Jan. 3, the Fair Oaks District Station recorded 101 arrests, 101 criminal charges filed and $31,498 in recovered merchandise and cash....

By | February 2, 2006; 1:02 PM ET | Email a Comment

Eight Cold Cases Closed

Today's Fairfax Extra cover story looks at two Fairfax County police detectives who together have solved eight enduring murder mysteries....

By | February 2, 2006; 12:43 PM ET | Email a Comment

Has Fairfax Turned Democrat?

   The results from Tuesday's 33rd Senate race could be a further sign of growing Democratic strength in the county.    Overall, Herring beat Republican Mick Staton, Jr. 62 percent to 38 percent in the race to succeed William C. Mims, a Republican who resigned to become chief deputy attorney general. Most of the district is in Loudoun County, but the nine Fairfax precincts voted 67 percent to 32 percent for Herring.    The Fairfax precincts generally are reliably Republican; when most of Fairfax went for Democrat John F. Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign, seven of the nine precincts were captured by Republican George Bush. In last fall's gubernatorial race, Democrat Tim Kaine won all nine precincts.    ...

By Steve Fehr | February 1, 2006; 7:07 PM ET | Email a Comment

Day Laborers Mistake VDOT Crew For Minutemen Project Members

The incident, which saw some laborers fleeing the scene and others alerting advocacy groups, illustrates the wariness the Minutemen Project's presence in Herndon has engendered amongst local day laborers. ...

By | February 1, 2006; 12:25 PM ET | Email a Comment

Herring Wins 33rd District Senate Seat

Mark R. Herring, the Democratic candidate and former Loudoun County supervisor, defeated current Republican supervisor Mick Staton Jr. for the state Senate seat vacated by William C. Mims, now the state's chief deputy attorney general. The district includes most of Loudon County and nine precincts in western Fairfax County....

By | February 1, 2006; 12:18 PM ET | Email a Comment

 

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