Archive: July 2006

Fairfax, Others, Misspent Homeland Security Funds

According the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general, Virginia has been haphazard in its distribution of homeland security grants to local governments and some of them, including Fairfax County's, misused the money . The story is here....

By | July 31, 2006; 10:20 AM ET | Email a Comment

8/3 UPDATE: Army Ft. Belvoir Plan Draws Critics

Updated 8/3 From today's Metro section: Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) will hold a hearing this month to question the Army about its plans for transferring 22,000 employees to Fort Belvoir, a member of his staff told Army leaders yesterday. "He has a lot of concerns," Davis aide Bill Womack said. "There are too many moving parts to not take a closer look at this." Womack's comments came at a meeting at the post of an advisory board formed by the post commander to gather comments on the Army's plans. The Army announced last week that it is planning to cluster most of the relocated employees at the Engineer Proving Ground, a mostly vacant site a couple of miles northwest of the main post. The plans have come under criticism from state and local officials who were hoping the Army would disperse the new workers more, on the main...

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

8/2 UPDATE: House Committee Issues Davis a Warning

Updated 8/2 From today's Metro section: Democrat Andrew Hurst, who is challenging Rep. Thomas M. Davis III in November, called on the six-term Republican yesterday to step down as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. Hurst denounced Davis at a news conference in front of the Tysons Corner office of ICG Government, a consulting firm led by a close friend of the congressman's. An article in The Washington Post last week detailed the relationship between Davis and technology executive Donald W. Upson, who advises clients on how to win government contracts that come under the oversight of Davis's committee. Davis's wife, state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax), works for Upson. "It is clear that access to the Government Reform Committee and the 11th District congressional seat is for sale," said Hurst, a lawyer from Springfield. Davis, in a statement released by his campaign, accused Hurst of "taking the low...

By | July 28, 2006; 9:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

Virginia Ballet Company Dancers Stage Reunion

Former students from the Virginia Ballet Company gathered recently to celebrate the legacy of company founders, Tatiana Rousseu and Oleg Tupine, who brought classical ballet training to Northern Virginia in the 1960s. The story is here....

By | July 27, 2006; 11:26 AM ET | Email a Comment

$old: How Does Your Home Sale Stack Up?

A new feature, $old, reports the prices of the 10 most expensive property sales in today's Fairfax Extra. Check it out, although you get more listings, more news and more features, such as the county's monthly development map that shows where new things are being built or are proposed to be built, in the paper version, hidden inside the Homes section....

By | July 27, 2006; 11:21 AM ET | Email a Comment

Police Departments Prepare For National Night Out

Tuesday night is the 23rd annual National Night Out, when people are asked to gather outside their homes with their neighbors in an effort to raise awareness about crime prevention. Details are in today's Fairfax Extra....

By | July 27, 2006; 11:16 AM ET | Email a Comment

Immigrant Professionals Seek Employment Help

According to this article in today's Fairfax Extra, Washington area immigrants with professional skills and advanced educations can have a hard time finding work here that is well-suited to them. A new series of workshops is trying to help them....

By | July 27, 2006; 11:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

Homicides, Robberies and Rapes Up in Region

A report form the Metropolitan Council of Governments said that the number of crimes in the region held steady between 2004 and 2005, but there were more instances of killing, rape and robbery. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

By | July 27, 2006; 11:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church City Manager McKeever Dies

Daniel E. McKeever, 57, the city manager of Falls Church, died on Tuesday from complications of melanoma. His obituary is here. The city has named assistant city manager and former Scottsville Va., town administrator Wyatt Shields to fill McKeever's position as acting city manager....

By | July 27, 2006; 10:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

Home Sale Prices Drop

Home sale prices in Fairfax County have dropped by as much as two percent in Fairfax in the last year according to data reported in this front page story in today's Washington Post. Have any Focus on Fairfax readers sold a house (or tried to sell a house) in the last year? Share your experience....

By | July 26, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Life Sentence For Murder of Mother, Child

Dinh Pham, 34, who pleaded guilty four months ago to the strangulation deaths of Loan P. Nguyen, 30 and Ashley N. Ton, 22 months, of Merrifield in Jan. 2004, was sentenced to life in prison yesterday. Pham's attorney successfully argued that he should be spared the death penalty because of post-traumatic stress disorder. The story is here....

By | July 25, 2006; 10:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

Shopper Amputates Hand With Meat Cutter

A story in today's Metro section describes the bizarre scene at Super Halal Meat in Springfield on Saturday where a customer waited until butcher Igbal Asghar stepped away and cut off his own hand with the store's meat saw....

By | July 25, 2006; 9:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Hollin Hall Getting More Crowded. Next: ?

In the Hollin Hall neighborhood in the southeastern part of the county, developers are buying homes, razing them and building two where once only one stood. The developers are taking advantage of the fact that post-World War II buyers built their homes straddling a line between two lots, each of which can be built on without zoning changes. The same thing may soon happen in neighborhoods in Falls Church and Annandale. Read about it here. Is this a good idea?...

By | July 24, 2006; 11:12 AM ET | Email a Comment

Studies Warned of Huntington Floods; Urged Protection

Cranes and garbage trucks pick up trash taken from a house as residents and volunteers work to clean in Huntington after flood waters ravaged the neighborhood in June. (Mark Gong) Studies conducted in 1977 and 1982 both concluded that flood protection measures were appropriate for the Huntington neighborhood that suffered $10 million in damages during the heavy rains last month. But studies were ignored and no action was taken. The story is in today's Metro section....

By | July 24, 2006; 10:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

No Showers, Laundry Allowed at Homeless Shelter?

The Lamb Center, a homeless shelter in Fairfax City operated by Truro Episcopal Church, is in violation of zoning laws because the center has been providing showers and laundry facilities for about 50 people each morning. Read about it in today's Metro section. In comments responding to the story, washingtonpost.com readers criticize the city for ordering an end to showers and washing machines. One reader, midnight102699, wrote, "I think these Fairfax City Officials need to leave this church alone. They are doing a service to the community by providing a meal, a shower, and a place for a homeless person to wash their clothes. What is wrong with that? These are acts of kindness, but that will also build the homeless persons self esteem and give them the want to to go get a job and maybe eventually have the money to pay rent." What do you think?...

By | July 21, 2006; 9:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

Inside Your Fairfax Extra

Each Thursday you can find the print edition of the Fairfax Extra tucked inside the Home section of the Washington Post anywhere newspapers are sold or delivered in the county. It has regular features, recent home sales and crimes reports from your neighborhood, a monthly look at what new projects developers have in store, religion notes, arts and entertainment and sports listings and stories, as well as your letters to the editor and guest opinion columns, which we are always eager to receive, and much more....

By | July 20, 2006; 12:00 PM ET | Email a Comment

Traffic Changes for Downtown Fairfax

Will converting two busy one way streets in the city's core to two way traffic.turn out well or contribute to congestion and confusion? City leaders and business owners disagree. While city planners say the change is an integral part of the ongoing downtown revitalization project, some merchants say they fear that changes will discourage customers who will be facing new traffic patterns and changing parking locations. Like it or not, changes are coming on or about Aug. 5. Read about what the two sides are saying and what the changes entail in today's Fairfax Extra....

By | July 20, 2006; 11:29 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Wants To Boost Recycling Efforts

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted new rules aimed at prodding businesses, renters and homeowners to take a wider view of recycling efforts and convert more solid waste into recycled material. The Fairfax Extra story is here....

By | July 20, 2006; 11:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

HOV Hybrid Exemption in the Rear View Mirror

This story from today's Fairfax Extra explains how Virginia's effort to get drivers to buy low-polluting cars by offering an exemption from HOV rules was undone by its own success. Hybrids purchased after June 30 are no longer exempt from HOV restrictions on Interstates 95 and 295. Next year the exemptions will be stripped for hybrids on other state highways....

By | July 20, 2006; 11:04 AM ET | Email a Comment

Lawyer's Killer Sentenced to 30 Years

Dana Moro was convicted yesterday of murdering Alexandria attorney attorney Eric Miller in a Route 1 motel room last August. Today Moro was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder and to three years for the theft of Miller's credit card. Read about the circumstances in today's Metro....

By | July 20, 2006; 10:51 AM ET | Email a Comment

AU Student Indicted in New York

From today's Metro section: A grand jury in New York has returned an indictment against an American University student from Vienna accused of striking four people with his Jaguar after a bar fight at an upscale golf club on Long Island. But the student's attorney insisted that his client was the victim of a racial attack that caused him to flee the club in a panic. Sayed Khaled El-Waraky, an Egyptian national, was indicted Tuesday on four counts of first-degree assault, two counts each of second- and third-degree assault, reckless endangerment and driving while intoxicated, said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. El-Waraky, 24, started a fight at the Glen Cove Golf Club's Soundview Bar June 18 before threatening to kill a bouncer who threw him out, prosecutors said. El-Waraky, who was at the bar drinking with some fraternity brothers, got into his 2005 Jaguar and began to leave. He...

By | July 20, 2006; 10:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Police Arrest 61; Suspect They Planned Drag Races

The crowd, mostly young men, were arrested by county police in the wee hours of Sunday morning in the Lorton area. They responded to a tip of suspicious vehicles at the site of the county's Energy Resource Recovery Facility, and made their arrests for trespassing. Post coverage is here....

By | July 19, 2006; 10:36 AM ET | Email a Comment

McLean Bible Church Sues County

Updated 7/18 A story in today's Metro section reports that the church is suing the county to continue the classes. Originally posted 4/18 At issue is whether the 10,000 member church allows a Maryland seminary to conduct divinity classes. Zoning laws do not permit the church to be used as a college. The Fairfax Extra has the story....

By | July 18, 2006; 1:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

New Rules Allow Approval of Some Variances

New rules approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will allow some homeowners to begin long-planned renovations put on hold two years ago by a ruling of the Virginia Supreme Court. The story is here....

By | July 17, 2006; 10:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

Gay Marriage

Activists on both sides of Virginia's proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions are starting to ramp up their efforts to get their messages out to the electorate. Read about it in today's Fairfax Extra....

By | July 13, 2006; 10:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

Some Results From Fairfax School Student Survey

The print edition of today's Fairfax Extra offers the first in a series of the results of the county's recent survey of public schools students attitudes on risky behavior. Among the revelation's in today's paper: Nearly 16% of students said that being honest with their parents was not important to them. Check it out: Download file...

By | July 13, 2006; 10:33 AM ET | Email a Comment

Flu Pandemic Funds: Largely to Local Awareness

Northern Virginia jurisdictions last month began receiving federal dollars aimed at preparing for a potential influenza outbreak. According to this article from the Fairfax Extra, most of the money is going to public education programs....

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

Fairfax to Hire Planning Consultant for Tysons Corner

From today's Metro section: Fairfax County will pay $1.2 million for a consultant to help a task force studying the future of Tysons Corner. The consultant will provide expertise in planning and modeling that county planners don't have, according to a request approved by the county Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Joan M. Dubois (R-Dranesville) said she was concerned about the cost of the consultant and asked whether private companies in Tysons Corner could provide the service. County staff told her that the companies could not. The task force is studying redevelopment of the Tysons area, site of four planned Metrorail stations that would link the commercial center with Washington as well as Dulles International Airport. -- Lisa Rein...

By | July 13, 2006; 9:52 AM ET | Email a Comment

Feder Launches Bid To Unseat Wolf

Judy Feder, dean of Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute and a McLean resident, has launched her campaign for Virginia's 10th District Congressional seat. The democrat, who will take on popular Republican incumbent Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), said that her opponent is an ally of big oil interests and bears some blame for the nation's dependence on oil, high gas prices and war in the Middle East according to this article from today's Metro section....

By | July 12, 2006; 10:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

Expert Says Tysons Tunnel Wouldn't Face Geologic Hitch

From today's Metro section: The head of an engineering panel advising the state said yesterday that the geologic makeup under Tysons Corner would allow for a tunnel for the proposed Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport. Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce R. Homer has asked the panel to recommend to the state at the end of the month whether it should build the four-mile Tysons Corner section of the 23-mile extension above or below ground. Fairfax County officials, Tysons landowners and some Metro officials say a tunnel would be less disruptive for motorists during construction and would contribute more to the hoped-for transformation of Tysons into a walkable quasi-city....

By | July 11, 2006; 10:25 AM ET | Email a Comment

Rapidly Rising Assessments May Be Over

After six years of rapidly increasing housing assessments rates -- Fairfax assessments grew by more than 20% in 2006 -- government officials are predicting that assessments should grow only one to three percentage points in Fairfax County next year. The news is likely to be welcomed by homeowners but will pose challenges for government budgeters. Washingtonpost.com reader, vickreal seems unimpressed. In comments attached to the story, vickreal writes, "To think that N Va municipalities will have to scrape by on a budget that is only about double what it was five years ago brings a tear to my eye." What's your take?...

By | July 11, 2006; 10:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Funds' Misuse Endangers Social Service Programs

Fairfax and Arlington Counties face millions in cuts to human services programs because funds were improperly diverted to programs with broader reaches than that for which they were intended. The article is in today's Metro section....

By | July 10, 2006; 10:51 AM ET | Email a Comment

A Small Starter Home In Fairfax County? Good Luck!

Is this progress? As this article from yesterday's front page reports, buying a small house in the Washington suburbs is increasingly difficult. In Fairfax, the average new townhouse is now 1,900 square feet -- larger than the single-family houses built 30 years ago. Young families face challenges in finding a small starter....

By | July 10, 2006; 10:14 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kids' Behavior Leads to Programs; Learn Behavior

Results of a 2005 youth survey conducted by the county measure behaviors such as alcohol and drug use, bullying and gang activity. This week's Fairfax Extra reports the need to keep kids busy and engaged during the summer when too much leisure time could lead to trouble. What do the county's school kids do? Is their behavior acceptable? Varied questions and responses from students contained in the survey will be run each week in the Fairfax Extra. If you're interested, watch for that feature....

By | July 6, 2006; 12:26 PM ET | Email a Comment

See Extra for Home Sales, Crime Watch, Food Reviews

A review of Pasa Thai's cuisine is only one of several features in this week's Fairfax Extra. Check out the weekly animal for adoption, home sales and local crime. What's your favorite local restaurant? Let us know....

By | July 6, 2006; 12:13 PM ET | Email a Comment

Employers Try to Ease Commute for Workers

Employers, such as George Mason University, wanting to help workers stave off the costs of commuting have gone as far as purchasing walking shoes and giving employees vans to drive home. Today's Fairfax Extra reports that employers are going beyond the usual subsidized transit pass, letting workers telecommute or from telecommuting work centers throughout the area. What are your tips for helping ease the commute?...

By | July 6, 2006; 12:02 PM ET | Email a Comment

Relief Fund for Flood Victims

Want to help flood victims? Today's Fairfax Extra reports that a relief fund has been established for residents of the Arlington Terrace neighborhood of Alexandria that was hit hard. Make checks payable to United Community Ministries and send to 7511 Fordson Rd., Alexandria, Va. 22036. "Huntington Disaster Relief Fund" should appear on the check's memo line. For information, call 703-817-7771 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov....

By | July 6, 2006; 11:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

Undercover Operation to Add Teeth to Meth Law

Fairfax County police plan an undercover operation to curb manufacturing of methamphetamine. Today's Fairfax Extra reports that police will test stores to see if they sell more than the limit of 3.6 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine a day to anyone. This is designed to enforce a law now in effect in the state limiting sale of the allergy and cold medicines, a key ingredient in manufacturing methamphetamine....

By | July 6, 2006; 11:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

How Do You Feel about Squirrels? See Extra

Eating shutters, picnic tables, decks, bird seed, tulips and anything else deemed "chewable," frustrated homeowners fight an unending battle against nuisance squirrels. Today's Fairfax Extra chronicles one writer's move from the city to the Del Ray area of Alexandria and her quest to get rid of the pesky critters. What are your thoughts, suggestions?...

By | July 6, 2006; 11:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

Two Arrested in Area Jewelry Store Burglaries

Tuesday's Metro section reported that a District man and woman suspected of jewelry store burglaries in Falls Church and Montgomery County have been arrested in Fairfax County, Falls Church authorities said yesterday. A man and woman were captured on surveillance cameras breaking into the Bach Tuyet Jewelry Store in the Eden Shopping Center on July 18, 2005 and stealing thousands of dollars in jewelry. Video cameras captured what appeared to be the same pair prying open the lock at the Silver Spring Jewelry Store on New Hampshire Avenue on May 29 of this year, but police said the display cases were empty and the two came away with nothing. Falls Church police believe the burglars may also have tried and failed to burglarize another jewelry store there on May 21, city spokeswoman Nicole Gobbo said. After receiving a tip from the FBI, Fairfax police and U.S. marshals arrested Michael Eugene...

By | July 5, 2006; 11:16 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax To Reconsider Rules for Variances

Frustrated by rules for variances to allow additions? Take a look at Sunday's Metro section and the report that the county is reluctant to grant variances because in 2004, the Virginia Supreme Court determined that they were being handed out too freely. This month the Board will look into a proposal that would grant homeowners a special permit or special exception instead of a variance....

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

West Nile Virus Shows Up in County

A mosquito pool in the county has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first such positive test in Virginia this year, county health officials said yesterday. So far this year, health department workers have tested more than 31,000 mosquitos looking for West Nile and similar viruses, and treated more than 30,000 storm drains, which can become breeding areas, with lavicide that inhibits breeding. More treatments are scheduled throughout the mosquito season, which usually runs from May to October. Meanwhile, the Health Department recommends that residents take measures to reduce exposure to mosquitos. These include using insect repellants containing the active ingrediate DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon or eucalyptus when outdoors, turning over or removing yard containers and other recepticles of standing water. For more information on West Nile virus, residents may visit Fairfax County's "Fight the Bite" Web page at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fightthebite or call the Health Department at...

By | July 3, 2006; 11:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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