Archive: February 2007

Local Governments Don't Want Responsibilities For Roads

According to the news in this morning's Metro section, local governments in Northern Virginia will likely be required to take on some responsibilities for new local roads if they are going to take full advantage of the transportation package that was passed by the General Assembly in Richmond last week....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 28, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kauffman Fumes

Since announcing last month that he would not seek re-election to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, Dana Kauffman's long-simmering frustration with County Executive Anthony H. Griffin and his staff has bubbled to the surface. The ordinarily soft-spoken Kauffman (D-Lee) was visably furious on Monday over the inclusion on the agenda of a $767,000 contract award for the renovation and expansion of the Richard Byrd Community Library in Springfield. Kauffman said he had asked county staff repeatedly in recent weeks whether the architectural and engineering contract would allow for the eventual addition of a second story, but that he got nowhere. When he saw the item on the agenda before the Feb. 26 meeting, he angrily confronted Griffin. The matter was pulled from consideration. "It's one of the reasons there will be a new Lee District supervisor here next year," Kauffman fumed during the meeting. Kauffman is exasperated with what he...

By Bill Turque | February 28, 2007; 10:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax News Briefs

From today's Metro section: Police Arrest Suspect in Several Robberies A District man has been charged with an armed robbery in Fairfax County last month and is being investigated in a string of similar holdups, including two in which the gunman fired shots inside the businesses. Police arrested James Rose, of the 3400 block of Fifth Street SE, on Saturday at an apartment in Annandale. He was charged with the Jan. 31 robbery of a 7-Eleven in the Hybla Valley area, which was captured on video that shows a masked man wielding a long-barreled gun. Police said Rose was also a suspect in the Jan. 18 robberies of Chin's Kitchen and Huntington Market in the Huntington area and the Jan. 14 robbery of a Sunoco gas station in the Hybla Valley area. -- Tom Jackman Man Killed While Trying to Cross Route 1 A man trying to walk across Route...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 27, 2007; 10:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 2/28: Another Road Rage Case Involving "Missile."

Updated 2/28 The victim in the incident said in this article from today's Metro section that there is more to the story and that coffee throwing wasn't the worst of it. Originally posted 2/27 Keep your cups and glasses inside the vehicle at all times. Virginia's law regarding "missiles" hurled from vehicles is in the news again today after a conflict between motorists escalated into coffee throwing at a Chantilly area intersection. Allan Tat Le, of South Riding, was charged with one felony count of unlawfully throwing a missile at an occupied vehicle. It brings up an interesting topic for conversation: Road Rage. We all have probably felt it to at least a small degree at some point, if not in whopping daily doses. How do Focus on Fairfax readers cope with their own stress levels while negotiating the region's traffic messes? Why aren't missiles more regularly launched? And please...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 27, 2007; 10:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

Growing Numbers of Homeless, Impoverished Despite Economy

The job market in Northern Virginia relies heavily on government contract workers. But the capricious nature of those jobs and the high cost of living here can make poverty and homelessness a real risk for some living close to the edge. Read about one such couple in today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 27, 2007; 9:57 AM ET | Email a Comment

Home Assessments Fall--First Time in Nine Years

This front page article from this morning's Washington Post carries the news that for the first time since 1998, the average home assessment in Fairfax County has fallen. Most residents can expect slightly lower property tax bills than those they received last year. Meanwhile the county government is figuring out how to continue to fund its budget with less money....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 27, 2007; 9:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Budget Proposal is for $3.3 Billion

A budget for fiscal year 2008 of $3.3 billion , an increase of 1.34 over the fiscal year 2007 revised budget plan, was proposed to the Board of Supervisors by Anthony H. Griffin, the county executive today. Also today, the county said it began mailing assessments to property owners, and the majority of residential properties decreased or showed no change in value. The overall equalization change for residential property was .33 percent. Commercial properties showed an overall equalization increase of 13.57 percent. Assessments by area showed a range of increases from an average rise in Lorton of 2.59 percent to an average decrease in Fairfax Station of 3.05 percent. Details on the budget and on assessments will appears in tomorrow's editions of The Washington Post and in the March 8 issue of the Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 26, 2007; 12:49 PM ET | Email a Comment

For Tysons Corner, A Zip Code of Its Own?

Tysons Corner is neither a part of McLean nor Vienna, though addresses in the area are listed as one or the other. Alan Fogg, the communications director for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, writes in this column from yesterday's editions of The Post that, with redevelopment beginning, the time has come to give Tysons its own zip code....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 26, 2007; 10:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

Blogging The Tunnel

The ongoing saga of the proposed Tysons Metro tunnel is of interest to other bloggers too. Check out today's Fairfax Politics column for that story, as well as a news on recent decisions that effect gun laws and a look at another GOP hopeful for the Springfield supervisor's seat....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 11:24 AM ET | Email a Comment

Inside Your Fairfax Extra

Among the offerings in your weekly supplement guide to all that is Fairfax: A favorite McLean eatery gets a fresh look in the Neighborhood Flavor column and Vienna's Jammin' Java welcomes three of the world's preeminent bass guitarists on Sunday night. 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 (check out the the $old list of the highest priced homes) and crimes reports from your neighborhood, a monthly look at what new projects developers have in store, restaurant reviews, religion notes, volunteer opportunities, health briefs, arts and entertainment features and sports listings and stories, as well as your letters to the editor and guest opinion columns--if you write them--and much more......

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Update 2/22: Virginia AP Enrollment Up 60 Percent Over Five Years

Updated 2/22 So just how many students are taking these AP classes? Today's Fairfax Extra has some numbers. Updated 2/7 While Fairfax leads the nation in the number of students taking AP courses, an official with the College Board warns that it may be too much of a good thing. The story is here. Originally posted 12/14 According to the Washington Post Challenge Index of top public schools, Fairfax County high school students take more AP and IB courses than any other large school district in the country. Details are in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 10:34 AM ET | Email a Comment

North Hill Compromise to Offer Housing, Trails?

Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) said the compromise proposal to redevelop land in the North Hill section of the Route 1 corridor, as a mix of walking trails and affordable housing, would leave no one "completely happy" but would at last solve the dilemma of what to do with the 33 acre parcel which has been vacant since 1981. Read about the history of the land and the feud about what to do with it here, in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Labor Center Reports First Year Success

The Herndon Official Workers Center reports that nearly 6,000 immigrant laborers were hired for more than 10,000 jobs during the center's first year of operation prompting the director of the nonprofit that operates the center to declare it, "a very successful year." But even as the report was released, town officials were moving forward with finding a new private operator for the center. The news is in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 10:12 AM ET | Email a Comment

Cell Phone Ban for State's Teen Drivers Likely

According to this article from today's Washington Post, a ban on the use of cell phone by teenage drivers is likely to become a state law now that it has passed the Virginia House of Delegates. What do you think? If driving and using a cell phone is such a distraction, shouldn't an ban for all drivers be enacted? If not, why not? Would such a proposal have been politically dead on arrival? This ban would affect no voters, only those 17 and younger....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 9:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Red-Light Cameras In, Touch-Screen Voting Machines Out

According to this article from today's Metro section, thanks to legislation passed by the General Assembly in Richmond, it looks like photo enforcement cameras will soon be making a return to an intersection near you. And in other legislative news, touch-screen voting machines (we hardly knew ye) are going to be phased out in favor of machines, such as optical scanners, that leave paper trails marked with voters' choices....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 21, 2007; 10:19 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Expected to Sign Mount Vernon Whiskey Measure

From today's Metro section: A spokesman for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said yesterday that the governor is expected to sign into law a measure that would allow the Mount Vernon estate to sell small amounts of George Washington's own brand of rye whiskey. The estate will sell whiskey from the first president's rebuilt distillery, which is scheduled to open to the public next month. Mount Vernon historians have said that after serving two terms as president, Washington was the nation's largest producer of whiskey in 1799, producing 11,000 gallons a year in a state-of-the-art distillery. Archaeologists found the remains of the distillery in 1997, and it has been rebuilt with funding from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. The distillery will reopen next month with a museum and will serve as part of the American Whiskey Trail, which runs...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 21, 2007; 10:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

Filing Fee Is Hurdle for Young Hopeful

Adam Boltik would like to put his name on the Republican primary ballot for the Springfield District Supervisors' seat. But the College of William and Mary junior says that the $1,180 filing fee to enter the race is beyond his current means and unfair. Read the story here....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 20, 2007; 10:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Tysons Planners Cite Ballston As A Model

Planners who would like to see Tysons Corner become a walkable, mixed-use transit-oriented community have a one-word response to those that say remaking the county's most crowded, traffic jammed employment and retail center is unlikely: Ballston. Check out this article from yesterday's Metro to read how officials think that the Ballston model is proof of the success that their vision will bring to Tysons....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 20, 2007; 10:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax's Push for Gun Limits Dies in House

From Saturday's Metro section: A bill promoted by Fairfax County to ban the carrying of guns into certain areas of police stations and other law enforcement buildings died in a state House subcommittee yesterday. Fairfax County Police Chief David M. Rohrer pushed for the bill, in part because of the shooting deaths of two officers outside the Sully police station in May. The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), passed the Senate unanimously Feb. 1. But it did not survive yesterday's hearing in a subcommittee of the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety, chaired by Del. Thomas C. Wright Jr. (R-Lunenburg). The panel's other four members also represent primarily rural areas opposed to gun restrictions. Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) expressed frustration with the bill's demise and said it reflects a lack of understanding of the challenges urban counties face with...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 20, 2007; 10:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Tunnel of Love

Brangelina they're not. But for close followers of Virginia politics, State Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax) and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va) are Fun Couple number one. As The Post's Alec MacGillis reported this morning, Davis' newfound ardor for the Tysons Corner tunnel is widely thought to be motivated by his desire to indemnify not only himself but his wife against a voter backlash. She faces a challenge from Democrat and former delegate Chap Petersen. Davis says the idea is "ridiculous." Devolites Davis hastens to point out that not all of their political manuevering is a joint venture. At a Richmond reception Tuesday night she said she is supporting former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for the GOP presidential nomination, while her husband has thrown in with Sen. John McCain She said Davis is grateful for McCain's travel and help in raising money when Davis was chairman of the...

By Bill Turque | February 15, 2007; 5:23 PM ET | Email a Comment

Inside Your Fairfax Extra

Want politics? Home Sales? Letters from the community? Extra Credit by Jay Mathews? Dr. Gridlock? 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 (check out the the $old list of the highest priced homes) and crimes reports from your neighborhood, a monthly look at what new projects developers have in store, restaurant reviews, religion notes, volunteer opportunities, health briefs, arts and entertainment features and sports listings and stories, as well as your letters to the editor and guest opinion columns--if you write them--and much more......

By Focus on Fairfax | February 15, 2007; 8:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 2/13: Man Charged in School Training Center Fire

From today's Metro section: An Annandale man has been charged with setting a fire that caused $1 million in damage to a Fairfax County school administrative building this month, after an officer reportedly saw him flee the scene and drop his cellphone. The fire occurred at the Lacey Center, 3705 Crest Dr. in Annandale, shortly after 4 a.m. Feb. 3. Court records indicate that an officer responding to a burglar alarm saw Amer Ishtiwi, 22, running from the building. A car idling nearby contained items taken from the center and was registered to Ishtiwi's father, a search warrant affidavit stated. Police obtained warrants for Ishtiwi, charging him with burglary, grand larceny, possession of burglary tools and arson, but Ishtiwi remained at large. The Lacey Center hosts instructional training for teachers and other specialized programs. A Fairfax schools spokesman said some employees were expected to return next week. Originally published 2/5...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 13, 2007; 10:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Cold Case Squad Solves Old Abduction, Sex Crimes

This story from today's Metro section introduces us to the officers of the Fairfax County Police Department's cold case squad for sexual assaults and abductions. One of the first of its kind in the nation, the squad has solved 14 rape cases dating back to the 1980s....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 13, 2007; 10:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

Existence is (Virtually) Futile?

Users of the Fairfax County government website got this oddly existential message from officials, who announced that it will go dark for three days for electrical upgrades: "Fairfax County information technology services will be unavailable beginning February 17 and resume on February 20. My account will be inaccessible during this time frame and any incoming E-mail will be bounced to the sender. In effect, Fairfax County will temporarily cease to exist online for this period. We apologize for the inconvenience." --Bill Turque...

By Bill Turque | February 13, 2007; 10:36 AM ET | Email a Comment

Schools Closing Early

Because the winter storm, Fairfax County Schools will close two hours early today. Details are here....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 13, 2007; 10:30 AM ET | Email a Comment

Albo Room

Maybe he thinks the party will suck, too? Nearly the entire Fairfax state legislative delegation has RSVP'd for this evening's Board of Supervisors reception in Richmond. One conspicuous exception is Del. David Albo (R-Springfield), who didn't win many friends on the board when he announced last month that the county's current form of government "sucks." This was by way of introducing a bill (HJ 654) directing the board to examine whether changes are needed. Albo would like to see the board chairman given executive powers, along the lines of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, able to introduce a budget and veto legislation. "Our current form of government in Fairfax sucks, for lack of a better word,' Albo told The Examiner. "It's the same form of government as when it was a dairy farm county." Albo believes the county's nine magisterial districts are operated by supervisors "like little fiefdoms." Board Chairman...

By Bill Turque | February 13, 2007; 10:15 AM ET | Email a Comment

Inova Fairfax To Pay Private Docs To Treat Poor

Private urologists working out of Inova Fairfax Hospital will be paid to provide on-call treatment of poor patients. The announcement for hospital officials comes after the doctors had threatened to stop responding to on call care with out compensation. The news is in today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 12, 2007; 10:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

Webb's Name, Face, Becoming Familiar to Nation

Virginia's newly-elected junior Senator has a personality that has been described as combative and standoffish. But since he offered the Democratic response to the President's State of the Union address last month, Jim Webb's has been a popular name in newspapers and an often-seen face on television. What's driving the media's fascination with the Senator? Michael D. Shear looks at the phenomenon today in his Virginia Notebook column....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2007; 1:12 PM ET | Email a Comment

Opera, Theater and More in Extra This Week

Looking for something to stimulate and entertain this week? The Fairfax Extra's arts coverage offers a review of The McLean Community Players' production of "Life With Father, a preview of the Virginia Opera's "Agrippina" and a regular does of arts briefs from around the county....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2007; 1:01 PM ET | Email a Comment

Inside Your Fairfax Extra

Want politics? Home Sales? Letters from the community? Extra Credit by Jay Mathews? Dr. Gridlock? 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 (check out the the $old list of the highest priced homes) and crimes reports from your neighborhood, a monthly look at what new projects developers have in store, restaurant reviews, religion notes, volunteer opportunities, health briefs, arts and entertainment features and sports listings and stories, as well as your letters to the editor and guest opinion columns--if you write them--and much more......

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2007; 12:45 PM ET | Email a Comment

GMU College Dems Help Obama Kickoff Campaign

Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D) is expected to officially announce his run for the White House this weekend. But last week, some students at George Mason University helped the presidential hopeful get an early start. Read about how the university's College Democrats helped put together Obama's first rally since forming his exploratory committee here....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2007; 12:36 PM ET | Email a Comment

Getting to the Meat of Matters in Tysons

This Fairfax Extra cover story looks at the growing trend of big business deals being put together over big slabs of beef at Tysons Corner's numerous steakhouses....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2007; 12:28 PM ET | Email a Comment

No Easy Fixes to Problems from Rapid Growth

This front page article from today's Washington Post looks at the complexities of finding solutions to the problems caused by the explosive growth the area has seen. In areas where a "just say no" policy has been implemented, other problems have been created. What's your take?...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2007; 9:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Living Wage Law Approval Stymied?

Though other Virginia localities have enacted laws to guarantee minimum salaries for workers, Fairfax County officials say that their hands are tied from approving such measures. In this article from yesterday's Metro section, they explain their reasoning....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 5, 2007; 10:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Town Manager Leaves for Staunton

Herndon Town Manager, Stephen F. Owen, has resigned his post effective March 1 to become the city manager of Staunton, Va. Owen, who was thrust into the spotlight when he was charged with implementing the plan to operate the Herndon Official Workers Center, served under three mayors. Saturday's Metro section carried the news....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 5, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

GMU Prof Wins Engineering Prize --$1 Million

Abul Hussam of Centreville has been announced as the 2007 recipient of the Grainer Challenge Prize for Sustainability. The $1 million award, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, will go to the George Mason University chemistry professor for devising a simple and inexpensive method of filtering arsenic from well water, aprocess which could help millions of people around the world avoid serious health problems....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 2, 2007; 10:08 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 (check out the the $old list of the highest priced homes) and crimes reports from your neighborhood, a monthly look at what new projects developers have in store, restaurant reviews, religion notes, volunteer opportunities, health briefs,arts and entertainment features and sports listings and stories, as well as your letters to the editor and guest opinion columns--if you write them--and much more......

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 4:04 PM ET | Email a Comment

Proposal To Widen I-66 Draws Fire

The first of three public forums on changes proposed for a portion of Interstate 66 inside the Beltway took place last week. Based on the reporting from this Fairfax Extra article, many people remain skeptical of the idea....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 3:56 PM ET | Email a Comment

School Board OKs $795 Million Plan for Construction

According to this article from today's Fairfax Extra, the Fairfax County School Board plans to spend $795 million over the next five years in school construction, renovation and maintenance. The plan calls for three new elementary schools....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 3:49 PM ET | Email a Comment

Travel Habits under Scrutiny to Combat Congestion

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is planning to survey 10,000 randomly selected area households to get a deeper look at how we organize our travel. The goal is to better determine how best to combat congestion on the region's roads. The Fairfax Extra has the story....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 3:39 PM ET | Email a Comment

What's More Fun Than A Barrell Of Studies?

What isn't? That's the likely answer from 60 recipients -- mostly elected officials and government appointees -- who received deliveries of giant cardboard cylinders filled to the brim with the 40 pounds of documents that make up the preliminary engineering design for a Tysons Corner Metrorail Tunnel. The packages we're sent at a cost of about $15,000 by the coalition of businesses and residents trying to get the tunnel option reconsidered now that officials are preparing to move ahead with an over head design for the rail line. Read about it in the Fairfax Extra's politics column....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 3:27 PM ET | Email a Comment

Neighbors Fight Gas Pipeline Changes

A news story in this week's Fairfax Extra highlights a problem that is occurring with increasing frequency in built-out Fairfax. What happens when neighbors of an underground gas pipeline discover that the utility company that owns it wants to add major above ground components just feet from their property lines? Read here to find out....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 3:18 PM ET | Email a Comment

County's Largest Artificial Turf at Patriot Park?

Read here about the Fairfax County Park Authority's efforts to convert 97 acres of woodland along the Fairfax County Parkway near Fairfax Station into playing fields, trails and nature areas....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 3:10 PM ET | Email a Comment

A New Start for Refugees and Recent Immigrants

Today's Fairfax Extra cover story looks at the people served by the Falls Church-based Center for Multicultural Human Services. The organization helps refugees and recent immigrants to our area get established....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 2:57 PM ET | Email a Comment

Breakaway Fairfax Churches Named in Lawsuit

Several churches in the county and in Fairfax City are among those named in a lawsuit by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia which is seeking to retain the property of the breakaway conservative congregations. Read the article here....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 11:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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