Archive: April 2006

Expenses, Supply Flow Delay Some County Building

County governments, including Fairfax's, in the Washington region are facing cost escalations that have them delaying or scaling back many building projects. Read about it in this front page article....

By | April 28, 2006; 10:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

School Land Goes to County in Deal

According to a Metro section article from this morning's paper the Fairfax County School Board has voted to accept a 150 million increase in bond funding from the county for construction and maintenance projects in return for a dozen unneeded school properties. The properties will include administrative buildings and land currently being used as parks....

By | April 28, 2006; 10:27 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax: The 2006 Guide

An Introduction To The Guide Trying to make sense of Fairfax? Join our club. To help newcomers learn and old-timers discover new possibilities, here's The Guide for 2006. We know how easy it is to get confused here, because there are about a million people -- more people than seven states have -- and trying to make sense of the governing machinery can be tricky. The local governments include those of the county and two cities, the City of Fairfax and the City of Falls Church, each with its own idiosyncrasies and treasures. What you'll find in these pages is our attempt to lead you to old favorites you had not thought of for a while or to what might become favorites. There's golfing and fishing and biking and walking, just to name a few leisure pursuits. If you have students in the family, there's a place within the county...

By | April 28, 2006; 9:51 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Candidates Forum: Question 1

Focus on Fairfax is proud to present this online candidate forum, with each candidate answering three questions from Washington Post Reporter Bill Turque. Question 1: As matters stand today, would you vote to renew the permit for the day labor center when it comes up for renewal next year? If not, what alternative do you propose? Mayoral Candidate Steve J. DeBenedittis: Among the many alternatives are: - the current site operator could come into compliance with all Federal and State laws, - use of legal, private for-profit labor "temp agencies", and - those seeking employment can use the Virginia Employment Commission. Mayoral Candidate Michael L. O'Reilly: I would renew the permit. The permit was granted for a two year period with 3 possible one year extensions. The establishment of the regulated site has allowed Herndon to clean up an area of Town where we used to have over 100 workers...

By | April 27, 2006; 9:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Candidates Forum: Question 2

Focus on Fairfax is proud to present this online candidate forum, with each candidate answering three questions from Washington Post Reporter Bill Turque. Question 2: Should the crackdown on overcrowded housing be augmented by some kind of effort to find affordable housing for those who are being forced from these homes? Mayoral Candidate Steve J. DeBenedittis: Virginia is a "Dillon Rule" state - that is: Herndon has only the authority specifically granted to it by the Virginia legislature. Provision of affordable housing is outside of our Town charter and not authorized to towns by the state legislature. When an overcrowded house is abated the occupants are not "forced from their home." They are leaving a situation that is unhealthy and unsafe for them as well as detrimental for the neighborhood. Those who profit from creating overcrowded boarding houses are not giving the occupants homes; they are exploiting people for their...

By | April 27, 2006; 8:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Candidates Forum: Question 3

Focus on Fairfax is proud to present this online candidate forum, with each candidate answering three questions from Washington Post Reporter Bill Turque. Question 3: Do you have a hero or heroine in politics? Or if not, then a role model or source of inspiration? Answers: Mayoral Candidate Steve J. DeBenedittis: My parents and family are role models and inspiration for me in my daily life. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s efforts to gain equality for all US citizens, his respect for the rule of law, and his peaceful and articulate persuasion put him among my political heroes. Mayoral Candidate Michael L. O'Reilly: I often reflect on the wise words of President John F. Kennedy. His kindness and compassion for humanity were insurmountable. During the Commencement Address at American University in Washington, D.C., on June 10, 1963, he spoke these fine words, "For, in the final analysis, our most basic...

By | April 27, 2006; 8:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

Tysons Rail Tunnel Resurfaces, May Delay Project

Updated 4/28 Metro Tunnel Favored at Tysons A survey of Fairfax County residents found that a majority would like to see the Metro extension to Dulles International Airport built below Tysons Corner instead of aboveground, and a quarter of everyone polled said they would be willing to pay almost any price for a tunnel. The online, unscientific survey of 409 residents was done by Qorvis Communications, a local public relations firm that said it was not commissioned to do the poll but was curious about residents' opinions on the tunnel. The results arrive in the middle of a debate over whether the new line should cross the four-mile stretch through Tysons Corner by tunnel or elevated track. The builders say a tunnel would cost too much; others, including Metro and Fairfax officials, say it would cost only slightly more and be worth it. The poll found that 50 percent of...

By | April 26, 2006; 10:19 AM ET | Email a Comment

Students Fashion Careers in County Schools

West Potomac High School fashion design students are busy sketching and stitching as they prepare for a fashion show to benefit the American Red Cross. The students' class is one of a growing number of career and technical classes offered by the county school system....

By | April 26, 2006; 10:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church Budget Boosts School Spending

From today's Metro section: The Falls Church City Council unanimously adopted its budget Monday night for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The $67 million 2007 budget increases operating expenses by 3.4 percent over current spending and raises funding going to city schools by 10.5 percent. The budget also includes a 2-cent reduction in the real estate tax, dropping the rate from $1.03 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.01. The budget funds a 4.1 percent cost-of-living raise for public school employees and adjusts salary scales to remain competitive in the region, city officials said. The city will also hire an affordable housing specialist....

By | April 26, 2006; 9:52 AM ET | Email a Comment

Why Make A 77-Mile Daily Commute?

Read a front page story in today's Washington Post that follows a group of workers including carpenters and electricians who carpool daily from Luray, 77 miles to the west to work at George Mason University. The workers are long-time residents of small communities who find their livelihood in the Washington area....

By | April 25, 2006; 10:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Virginia Takes Tougher Sex Crime Stance

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) yesterday signed bills tol increase mandatory minimum sentences for sex crimes, making the sentence no less than 25 years for anyone convicted of crimes against children younger than 13. It will broaden the state's monitoring powers of registered sex offenders....

By | April 25, 2006; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Spending Plan Approved, Tax Rate Cut

Updated 4/25 Here is the link to today's story on the vote: Salary Talks Dominate Fairfax Planning for 2007 Originally posted 4/24 The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a spending plan that includes one of the lowest property tax rates in the modern history of the county. Vote was 9-1. Even so, the cut will not be enough to offset the increases in assessed values that will have most homeowners paying more in tax again this year. An article from Saturday's paper outlined the plan the Supervisors approved....

By | April 24, 2006; 11:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Catholics Get Spanish Mass

With Hispanics making up more than a quarter of the town's population, Herndon had its first Catholic Mass in Spanish yesterday at St. Joseph's. Read about it and the trends that led to it here....

By | April 24, 2006; 10:52 AM ET | Email a Comment

FairGrowth To Continue Land Use Voice

In this update from reporter Lisa Rein, leaders with FairGrowth, the watchdog group that came together to try to force changes to plans for the MetroWest development soon to begin construction near the Vienna Metro station, say that they will continue to advocate responsible land use decisions in Fairfax....

By | April 24, 2006; 10:38 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fisher: Agitators Gone. Now Herndon Voters Decide.

In a weekend Metro column, Marc Fisher sizes up the elections in Herndon, depicted as a model for the nation's immigration problems after debate over the town's day laborer site....

By | April 24, 2006; 10:27 AM ET | Email a Comment

Crashes Caused By Distracted, Drowsy Drivers

Eighty percent of all vehicle crashes in the Washington area are caused by sleepy or distracted drivers according to a new study that is the subject of a front page story in this morning's Washington Post. The top distraction for drivers? Cell phones....

By | April 21, 2006; 10:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

High Flying Herndon Legend In Fatal Plane Crash

Scott Crossfield, an X-plane pilots from the 1950s and 1060s died Wednesday in a single-engine plane crash in Georgia. A story about the Herndon resident is in today's Metro section....

By | April 21, 2006; 10:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Scammed on the Internet? He Investigates.

This story from today's Fairfax Extra introduces readers to Tom Polhemus, who is the go-to guy in Fairfax if you've been scammed on the internet....

By | April 20, 2006; 1:30 PM ET | Email a Comment

Voters Guide in Fairfax Extra

Today's Fairfax Extra takes a look at who's running on May 2....

By | April 20, 2006; 10:16 AM ET | Email a Comment

McLean Resident Will Run Against Allen

Democrat Harris Miller officially began his bid yesterday to unseat Republican Senator George Allen, saying that Allen had "done nothing to ease gridlock for commuters here in Northern Virginia, nothing to provide health care for a single family in Tidewater, nothing to provide good jobs for those who have lost jobs in Southside or southwest Virginia." The Metro section article is here....

By | April 19, 2006; 10:26 AM ET | Email a Comment

After-School Activities to Expand

From today's Metro section: The Fairfax County school system will kick off an expansion of its middle school after-school programs today. The joint effort of the system and the county government will offer more seventh- and eighth-grade after-school activities to boost academic achievement and keep students from gangs, drugs and alcohol. Twelve of the county's 26 middle schools will offer activities five days a week instead of three. The formal launch is at 4 p.m. at Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Rd. in Falls Church....

By | April 19, 2006; 10:20 AM ET | Email a Comment

Meeting Tonight to Address Flu Preparedness

Updated 4/20 Flu Plan to Be Ready by Summer Fairfax County officials said at a meeting last night that the county's response plan for possible pandemic flu should be ready by this summer as a supplement to the county emergency plan. They spoke to about 200 people at a town hall session called to hear about preparedness for a possible outbreak. Officials said they were putting together a plan that will address public health, vital infrastructure and resource management. -- Leef Smith Originally posted 4/19 From today's Metro section: Fairfax County officials will host a public meeting tonight to discuss pandemic flu and the development of the county's readiness plan. The meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the board auditorium of the Government Center at 12000 Government Center Pkwy., will feature a panel of experts, including Fairfax Health Director Gloria Addo-Ayensu and Virginia Department of Health veterinary epidemiologist Julia Murphy....

By | April 18, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Coyotes Calling Fairfax Home

Familiar with Wile E. Coyote, the Warner Bros. cartoon icon, fruitlessly pursuing the Roadrunner across the deserts of the American Southwest? According to this Washington Post Magazine article, it has been a while since the wild canine has been forced to expand its range. It's here now....

By | April 17, 2006; 1:21 PM ET | Email a Comment

Reston Approves Revised Charter

Officials with the Reston Association announced yesterday that its members have voted to approve the first revisions to the community's charter in 22 years. The changes include an increase to the cap on the assessment that Reston residents pay annually and a on-time $250 fee for people buy property or move within Reston. Washington Post coverage of the results of the referendum is here....

By | April 17, 2006; 1:05 PM ET | Email a Comment

From the Final Four to the NFL?

Jai Lewis playing in the NCAA basketball tournament (Streeter Lecka) According to a Sports section article from today, GMU senior forward Jai Lewis is considering trading in the roundball for a shot in the NFL draft....

By | April 14, 2006; 3:49 PM ET | Email a Comment

Black Students' Scores in Fairfax Lag Others'

Focus on Fairfax reported last fall that the county's black students were underperforming on standardized tests when compared with how black students were doing elsewhere in the state. According to a new front page article in today's paper, that continues to be the case....

By | April 14, 2006; 3:40 PM ET | Email a Comment

Thursday Accident Kills One, Delays Thousands

Updated 4/17 From yesterday's Metro section: Truck Driver Charged in Crash Virginia State Police have charged an Alabama truck driver with reckless driving in connection with a fatal accident that occurred on Interstate 95 near Lorton on Thursday evening. Police said Danny W. Nelson was unable to brake in time and struck a 1988 Chrysler, whose driver Calvin H. Ruble II, 59, died at the scene. After striking the Chrysler, the tractor-trailer skidded left and hit a Ford Explorer, which in turn hit three other vehicles. The truck then hit another vehicle, which then collided with three more vehicles. In all, 10 vehicles were involved, snarling traffic for more than five hours. Two other people in the collision were hurt, but their injuries were not serious. -- Dan Morse Were any readers of Focus on Fairfax among those stuck in traffic for five hours last night because of the rush...

By | April 14, 2006; 3:33 PM ET | Email a Comment

News You Can Use in Your Fairfax Extra

Each week the Washington Post's Fairfax Extra publishes listings, calendars and other information aimed at keeping readers abreast of what's happening in their neighborhoods. From local news briefs to a community calendar, from health notes to local restaurants' health code violations, the Extra tries to be a useful a guide. Other regular features include religion notes, a list of how local representatives voted in Congress, a list of organizations seeking volunteers, recent home sales, recent crime reports, arts briefs and animal control reports. So is there something else we should be listing that we aren't? We are happy to consider suggestions for new listings and regular features that would help you. Post here or send us an email....

By | April 13, 2006; 1:04 PM ET | Email a Comment

Center for the Arts Unveils Season

Officials at George Mason University's Center for the Arts have revealed the slate of performers who make up the center's 2006-2007 season. Check out the line-up in today's Fairfax Extra....

By | April 13, 2006; 12:44 PM ET | Email a Comment

Batteries and Flourescent Bulbs Are Hazmats Commission Warns

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission is warning that commonly disposed of objects like rechargeable batteries and fluorescent light bulbs contain levels of mercury and other toxins that are hazardous to the environment and need to be disposed of or recycled properly. The Fairfax Extra article is here....

By | April 13, 2006; 12:06 PM ET | Email a Comment

A Combating Intolerence Class

At James Madison High School, students learn to listen to each other's viewpoints and to understand what makes them different and what they have in common. The class, Combating Intolerance, hosts guest speakers and lively discussions. Read about it in this week's Fairfax Extra cover story....

By | April 13, 2006; 11:26 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church City Council Candidates Running Unopposed

No opposition in Falls Church? Is that the result of the work of a local political machine, the good work of the incumbents or a dearth of candidates for a job with its demands of time and effort? Read the Metro section article and weigh in....

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

Reston Transit Station To Open

A new Reston Town Center transit station is set to open Sunday....

By | April 12, 2006; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Thoughts About Immigration Issues?

Yesterday immigrants and native born Americans alike demonstrated against proposed restrictive immigration policies. This is a big, important issue in Fairfax County, which has twice the national average of foreign-born residents. So where do Focus on Fairfax readers come down on this issue? Is the proposed restrictive legislation the right way to go, or are there other solutions? Is this all politics? Some say the U.S. already does immigration better than other countries. Or is our immigration policy in need of fixing?...

By | April 11, 2006; 4:05 PM ET | Email a Comment

Day Laborer Issue Dominates Herndon Race

As Herndon municipal elections approach (May 2), the heat from immigration issues and the town's official workers center has yet to dissipate. Read the article about the upcoming elections--in today's Metro section....

By | April 10, 2006; 11:36 AM ET | Email a Comment

Can These Guys Beat George Allen?

Updated 4/12 News from the Allen campaign is here. Originally posted 4/10Local Democratic leaders are going to bat for their choices as nominee to face Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) in November. Voters will choose between Harris Miller and James H. Webb in June's primary. Post coverage here....

By | April 10, 2006; 11:21 AM ET | Email a Comment

The Sidewalk and the National Security Adviser

Some Fairfax officials want a sidewalk along a stretch of Spring Hill Road near Old Dominion Drive in McLean. But it needs an easement from former Carter heavyweight Zbigniew Brzezinski who, ever the negotiator, wants to know exactly what is in it for him. Read about it here....

By | April 10, 2006; 11:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Input on Dulles Toll Road

Governor Timothy M. Kaine (D) announced an advisory committee to offer recommendations to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on oversight of the Dulles Toll Road. The committee would include representatives from Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Read about it here....

By | April 10, 2006; 10:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

Ending Homelessness in Fairfax?

Ending homelessness in Fairfax County is achievable within ten years, local officials said Friday. Read about the summit and the goals and obstacles the leaders outlined in this story from Saturday's Metro section....

By | April 10, 2006; 10:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

Reality Check on County Trends?

A look at recent historical trends with regard to the county's growth and diversity yields some surprises. Read about them here in this week's Fairfax Extra cover story....

By | April 6, 2006; 4:20 PM ET | Email a Comment

Meet the All-Met Sports Stars

A special section in today's Washington Post introduces us to the best and brightest high school athletes in the metropolitan area including Fairfax County students. Check it out....

By | April 6, 2006; 3:44 PM ET | Email a Comment

ACLU Wants to Stop DOD Funding Jamboree

Since 1981 the U.S. military  base at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia has hosted the quadrennial National Boy Scout Jamboree. Now the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the federal government, arguing that the Defense Department's support of the jamboree violates the principle of church-state separation because the Boy scouts of America requires members to profess religious beliefs. The Metro section article is here....

By | April 6, 2006; 11:09 AM ET | Email a Comment

Tickets To Wolf Trap Summer Shows On Sale

Wolf Trap, the country's only national park for the performing arts, put tickets on sale this week for their 35th season. How lucky are we to have this place in Fairfax County? Which of the shows do you plan to attend?...

By | April 5, 2006; 10:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Chamber Proposes Full-Time Board of Supervisors

The chamber of commerce's proposal opens a debate about which would serve the citizens of Fairfax better--a full time Board of Supervisors whose members would not hold outside jobs or the current model....

By | April 5, 2006; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

A 'Living Wage' for Fairfax?

Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) has introduced a proposal for a  living-wage ordinance. The ordinance  would require county government and private companies that do business with it to pay more than the federal minimum wage. Full-time minimum wage workers earn less than $11,000 a year....

By | April 4, 2006; 10:45 AM ET | Email a Comment

Midnight for Green & Gold Cinderella

The George Mason University Patriots' loss in Saturday NCAA semi-final generated these Washington Post stories: Mason Out Of Magic and Mason To Sit Out Last Dance, articles about the team's 73-58 loss to Florida; and a Marc Fisher column about the team's wild ride to the Final Four and how that success might play out. Want so show pride? A welcome home celebration and parade is planned for 11:15 a.m. on April 7, right down University....

By | April 3, 2006; 11:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

5 Guys Build a Burger Chain

Washingtonpost.com readers' favorite hamburgers are about to become available to a whole lot of folks outside the Metro area. The Northern Virginia-born chain's franchising plan calls for 1,000 new  stores, according to this Business section article ....

By | April 3, 2006; 11:40 AM ET | Email a Comment

Control of Dulles/Metro, Toll Road Goes to Airport Authority

Updated 4/3Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) said he will try to undo this deal. Meanwhile, county officials are expressing concern that the airports authority's control over the toll road will interfere with plans to remake Tysons Corner. Originally posted 3/28The chairman of the Fairfax board of supervisors threatened to pull the county's money out after control of the Metro-Dulles line and the Dulles Toll Road went to the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority. The Metro section article is here....

By | April 3, 2006; 11:20 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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