Archive: June 2007

Opposing Views on Open Doors to AP, IB Classes

Today's Extra Credit education column -- the last until August -- highlights opposing viewpoints from two students at Oakton High School on the issues of whether Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses should be opened to any student who want to take them, regardless of prior academic achievement....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 28, 2007; 1:01 PM ET | Email a Comment

Independence Day Celebrations and Closings

Courtesy of your Fairfax Extra, here are lists of holiday events and closings for next week....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 28, 2007; 12:55 PM ET | Email a Comment

Tysons Traffic "War Room" Under Consideration

If you think Tysons Corner traffic is bad now, you might not have seen anything yet. In response to an anticipated worsening of traffic as construction on Metrorail and other major projects begin in the area, the county is exploring the idea of a "war room" to coordinate solutions to the problems that will inevitably arise. The story is in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 28, 2007; 12:48 PM ET | Email a Comment

Commission To Outline Future of Local Arts

Kurt Boehm as Icarus and Dwayne Nitz as Lennie in the January 2006 production of "Lift: Icarus & Me" the last production that Fairfax's Theater of the First Amendment has presented. The company's leaders say that the lack of suitable performance space -- an issue that the Commission for the Future of the Arts in Fairfax County hopes to address -- is keeping them off the stage. (Philippe Nobile) Today's Fairfax Extra cover story looks at the Commission for the Future of the Arts in Fairfax County and their task to outline a plan for local leaders to refer to when making decisions that affect arts and cultural groups. Commission leaders say that having a rich arts environment is not just a quality of life issue for Fairfax citizens, but can be a real economic driver as well....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 28, 2007; 12:31 PM ET | Email a Comment

Brothers Admit Operating Betting Racket

According to this story from today's Metro section, brothers Nicholas Kumar Bansal and Steven Kumar Bansal are preparing to testify against their father Raj Kumar Bansal, that the family operated an illegal sports betting operation that raked in millions, collecting their money at a Springfield butcher shop....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 28, 2007; 10:41 AM ET | Email a Comment

Rail Plan May Quash Potential to Remake Tysons

Critics of the overhead rail plan in Tysons Corner have long said that building the Metrorail extension on elevated tracks may ruin any chance to create a walkable, bikeable downtown for the area. According to this story from today's Metro Section, that's entirely likely since the plan will eliminate any chance of remaking the cloverleaf interchange where routes 7 and 123 come together, effectively dividing Tysons Corner....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 27, 2007; 10:21 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax College Application Service Faces Competition

Common Application, a non-profit Fairfax-based company, has been helping prospective college students apply simultaneously to multiple schools since 1975. Today, a Baltimore company ApplicationsOnline, will begin operating a competing, for-profit, service. Find out what that means for local students in this story....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 27, 2007; 10:13 AM ET | Email a Comment

Gang Link in Lorton Homicide: Police Investigating

According to this story from today's Metro section, Fairfax County police are investigating whether a man found shot to death behind an abandoned house near Lorton on Monday had ties to gang activity in the Los Angeles area. The man's death marks the fourth homicide in the county this year....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 27, 2007; 10:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Black Students in County Better Than Average on AP

African-American students in Fairfax County and in neighboring Montgomery County are performing better on Advanced Placement tests than the national average. In fact, the students are having more than eight times the success of black students elsewhere in the country. Read about it here....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 27, 2007; 9:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax School Board to Get Raise

From Saturday's Metro section: The Fairfax County School Board approved a 67 percent raise for board members Thursday night, said schools spokeswoman Mary Shaw. As of January, the salary will be $20,000 a year for a member and $22,000 for the chairman. The increase from the current $12,000 board salary will be the first in eight years. The vote was 7 to 2, with members Ilryong Moon (At Large) and Stuart D. Gibson (Hunter Mill) opposed. Members Stephen M. Hunt (At Large) and Tessie Wilson (Braddock) abstained, and Brad Center (Lee) was absent. -- Michael Alison Chandler...

By Focus on Fairfax | June 25, 2007; 10:33 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local GOP Faces Challenges

Two stories in today's Fairfax Extra illustrate the struggles the once dominant Republican party is having in Northern Virginia. This article details the shifting allegiances to the Democrats of even the county's once reliably red Springfield district. And the Virginia Notebook column explores the difficulties the state Republican party is having without a clear leader....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 21, 2007; 11:30 AM ET | Email a Comment

Unassuming Neighborhood Gains Historical Recognition

The unassuming neighborhood of Tauxemont, just off Fort Hunt Road in the Alexandria section of the county has recently been added to the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. Find out why in the cover story from today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 21, 2007; 11:13 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 6/21: Parent Blasts at Fairfax's Summer Reading Requirement

Updated 6/21 More on summer reading lists, including readers' thoughts on the column of two weeks ago is in this week's Extra Credit column. Originally posted 6/7 Parents who encourage their children to read, "shouldn't look to the professional educators" of Fairfax County Schools for help writes one parent to tell education columnist Jay Mathew that she finds the recommended summer reading list from the school system woefully inadequate. Read the letter and Mathews response in today's Extra Credit column....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 21, 2007; 11:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Board Approves $1 Per Trip for Rising Fuel Costs

From today's Metro section: Starting today, taxicab customers will pay an additional $1 a trip in Fairfax County to help taxi companies bear the rising cost of fuel. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the surcharge yesterday on an emergency basis and made it effective through Aug. 6. The board agreed to hold a public hearing Aug. 6 on whether to extend the surcharge through January. The supervisors enacted the surcharge at the request of Murphy Brothers Inc., owner of Falls Church Yellow Cab and Red Top Cab. -- Amy Gardner...

By Focus on Fairfax | June 19, 2007; 10:22 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Vote To Fund Metro Extension

The news from today's Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting is here. A rendering from the state of what one of the rail stations at Tysons will look like under the elevated plan. (Courtesy diDomenico and Partners, LLP, New York)...

By Focus on Fairfax | June 18, 2007; 3:05 PM ET | Email a Comment

Don't Hug or Shake Hands in This Middle School

Physical contact of any kind has been banned by administrators at Vienna's Kilmer Middle School, meaning that a simple handshake or congratulatory pat on the back can land a kid in detention. Administrators defend the rule saying it helps them manage an overcrowded school. Some parents aren't buying it though. The story is in today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 18, 2007; 10:27 AM ET | Email a Comment

Young Performers 'Remember Paris'

The Fairfax Extra's weekly peek at something entertaining for your weekend focuses today on Encore Theatrical Arts Project's revival of one of their most popular shows, the musical "Remember Paris." See what all the singing and dancing are about here....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 14, 2007; 5:23 PM ET | Email a Comment

Feeding the Hungry in Fairfax

If you've ever wondered just how that canned food makes it to the table of the needy, this article from today's Fairfax Extra has some answers....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 14, 2007; 5:19 PM ET | Email a Comment

A Remembrance of Confederate Dead

At Arlington National Cemetery, the fallen soldiers who fought under the banner of the Confederate States of America, are still honored. Read how in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 14, 2007; 5:16 PM ET | Email a Comment

Allen's Endorsement Still Has Currency with GOP

Today's Fairfax Extra politics news reports that despite his loss in the last election, former Senator George Allen is still someone that local Republican candidates want in their corner. That and other local political news including readers' thoughts on overgrown medians and political signs can be found here. Before (Richard A. Lipski) After (Amy Gardner)...

By Focus on Fairfax | June 14, 2007; 4:47 PM ET | Email a Comment

GMU Group Pushes for Concealed Carry at School

A former U.S. Marine currently enrolled at George Mason University wants to overturn a university policy allowing students and faculty to carry concealed guns. To that end he has started George Mason University Students for Concealed Carry and recruited 45 students to date to join him. The news is in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 14, 2007; 4:34 PM ET | Email a Comment

Primary Election Results

The results of yesterday's primary elections are discussed in this article from this morning's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 13, 2007; 10:14 AM ET | Email a Comment

Public Garden Celebrates Korean Culture

This article from yesterday's Metro section, describes how a special garden, planned for a section of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, will help to celebrate the Korean heritage of a large number of local citizens when it is completed in 2010....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 11, 2007; 10:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax's Last Commercial Waterman to Retire

Marvin Louis Harley, seemingly the last of the commercial watermen from Fairfax County to derive his livelihood from the waters of the Potomac River, will retire later this summer, writing the last on a page in local history. The story was in yesterday's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 11, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Baise to Launch Bid against Connolly for Supervisor

Republican Gary H. Baise plans to announce formally today his candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Baise, a McLean lawyer is pledging to decline financial support from developers, saying that to do so creates an apparent conflict of interest since the board makes land use decisions. Baise, who said that by developers he means only the actual applicants for land use decisions, not associated attorneys, engineers, construction companies, surveyors or real estate management firms, has criticized incumbent board chair Gerald E. Connolly for his close financial ties to developers. Connolly has been critical of what he described Baise's "troubling" association with an organization opposed to the liberal environmental movement and to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 8, 2007; 9:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

A Premiere in McLean and a One-Act Play Festival

Fairfax Extra theater writer Michael J. Toscano offers this look at what audiences can expect if they attend the world premiere of a new play by the Sundial Theatre Company of McLean or the NVTA One-Act Play Festival that begins at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church this weekend....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 7, 2007; 12:15 PM ET | Email a Comment

Military Matters Looks at a Farewell for Some Soldiers.

Today's Military Matters column takes us to the scene of a farewell for some local soldiers as they head off to prepare for deployment to Iraq. Also the column offers a preview of a new book about Arlington National Cemetery from National Geographic Books....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 7, 2007; 11:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

What's Going Where

Want to know what the heck it is that they are getting set to build down the street? Check out the Fairfax Extra's monthly look at the coming attractions of construction projects....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 7, 2007; 11:49 AM ET | Email a Comment

Voter's Guide

Find out what you need to know before you head to the polls for Tuesday's primary elections by following these links to articles from today's Fairfax Extra Providence District Democratic Primary Springfield District Republican Primary Virginia Senate, 39th District Democratic Primary Virginia House of Delegates, 34th District Democratic Primary Virginia House of Delegates 40th District, Democratic Primary Also take a look at today's Virginia Notebook column which examines how social issues factor in for candidates for the Virginia Senate....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 7, 2007; 11:21 AM ET | Email a Comment

Religious Congregations Plan For Possible Pandemic

Scores of local religious leaders met recently at the Fairfax County Government Center to beginning planning how they and their churches, synagogues, temples and mosques would be able to help the community at large were a major flu pandemic to strike the United States. Read about how they would help to manage the crisis in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 7, 2007; 11:09 AM ET | Email a Comment

Feder Announces Second Bid To Unseat Wolf

Democrat Judy Feder said yesterday she plans to run in next year's election against incumbent Republican Frank R. Wolf for Virginia's 10th Congressional District. Feder made a a strong showing with a similar bid last year. The story is in today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 5, 2007; 10:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Man Assaults Woman Near Metro Station

From today's Metro section: A woman walking away from the Vienna Metro station was sexually assaulted Saturday night, an attack that is similar to attacks last year. The 50-year-old Vienna area woman was walking on a footpath near the 9500 block of Lagersfield Circle about 10:30 p.m., Fairfax County police said. A man grabbed her, kissed her and pushed her to the ground. The woman screamed, and the man fled. The woman was not hurt. Last summer, five women reported that they were groped or their pants were pulled down by a man in the vicinity of the Metro station between Aug. 24 and Sept. 11. The description of the attacker in those cases was similar to the description of Saturday's attacker: a dark-skinned man in his late teens or early 20s, about 5 foot 6 and thin. -- Tom Jackman...

By Focus on Fairfax | June 5, 2007; 10:38 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 6/5: Testing Firm Promises Fix For Online Glitches

Updated 6/5 Pearson Educational Measurement has pledged to hire more staff and make technical fixes to prevent further problems. The news is here. Updated 5/17 More details on the difficulty local students are having with the online test are in this article in today's Metro section. Originally posted 5/16 About 2,900 Virginia school students, including some in Fairfax County, will have to retake Standards of Learning exams after a computer glitch yesterday with an online test. The details are in today's Metro section....

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

Springfield GOP Candidates on the Issues

The Republican candidates for the Springfield seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Pat S. Herrity and Stan L. Reid, have similar positions on issues of development but differ on the continued existence of the Fairfax County Development Authority; Herrity likes it, Reid doesn't. Read more on the candidates platforms in this article from yesterday's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | June 4, 2007; 10:24 AM ET | Email a Comment

Man Caught in Sex Sting Charged Again

From today's Metro Section: A Fairfax County man who was featured in a "Dateline NBC" television report on sexual predators after he walked naked into a house in Herndon in 2005, expecting to meet a 14-year-old boy, has been arrested again for allegedly exposing himself to two teenage girls in a Centreville park. In 2005, John M. Kennelly, 45, of the Falls Church area was one of many men who engaged in online chats with men posing as teenagers seeking sex. He and others were directed to the Herndon house in August 2005, where an NBC camera crew awaited. Kennelly followed instructions to enter naked and ran off when confronted. But he went back online the next morning, again with a man posing as a teen, and again went to a supposed rendezvous, only to be confronted by cameras, according to court documents. Kennelly pleaded guilty last June to one...

By Focus on Fairfax | June 1, 2007; 10:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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