Archive: November 2007

Parks Get Plenty of Use; Minority Participation Lags

According to articles in today's Fairfax Extra, people use and enjoy the recreational and nature sites offered by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and the Fairfax County Park Authority. A recent survey indicating a high degree of public satisfaction for the regional authority helped inform its new five year strategic plan. You can read more about that here. Meanwhile the county authority, which also gets high marks from users, is looking for ways to attract more minorities to its sites since a recent survey indicates that minorities use them less. So what are the hidden gems in our local parks? Add your comments here to tells us your favorites and feel free to make suggestions on how you think park officials could make improvements and broaden their appeal to more of our area's diverse populace....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 29, 2007; 11:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fort Hunt Group Works to Help Seniors at Home

Today's Fairfax Extra cover story highlights the work of Mount Vernon at Home, a neighborhood group of volunteers that works to provide senior citizens with the resources the need to keep living independently....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 29, 2007; 11:16 AM ET | Email a Comment

County: No Figure for Cost of Services For Illegal Immigrants

Fairfax County officials can't put a dollar amount on the amount of money the local governement spends on services used by illegal immigrants they say, partly because many of those services are "universal access;"required by federal law to be open to anyone, regardless of immigration status.The officials also cite the difficulty of counting how many undocumented immigrants live in here. This is in today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 27, 2007; 10:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 11/27: Cuccinelli Is Declared the Victor in Close Race

Updated 11/27 From today's Metro section: Virginia election officials officially certified Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) yesterday as the winner in the race to represent the 37th District of Fairfax County. His Democratic opponent, Janet S. Oleszek, plans to file a lawsuit in Fairfax County Circuit Court tomorrow asking for a recount of the more than 37,000 votes cast in the Nov. 6 election. She has 10 days to file the suit. Cuccinelli was declared the winner by 92 votes in Virginia's tightest General Assembly race this year. State law entitles any candidate to ask for a taxpayer-funded recount if the margin of victory is less than half a percentage point. A panel of state judges will be set up to monitor the recount. Most ballots are electronically tabulated. Under state law, recount officials review those votes using printouts. A smaller number of votes, such as absentee ballots, were tabulated...

By Focus on Fairfax | November 27, 2007; 9:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Centreville, Falls Church Principals Honored

Two Elementary School Principals, Brian Hull of Colin L. Powell Elementary in Centreville and Trudy Taylor of Thomas Jefferson Elementary in Falls Church, are the recipients of Principal of the Year honors from the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Awards. Find out what these principled principals did to earn their accolades here, in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 15, 2007; 11:09 AM ET | Email a Comment

GMU Center for Peace Raises Concerns Among Mason Neck Neighbors

George Mason University officials are planning to create conference center on the county's Mason Neck peninsula that they hope will become a magnet for world leaders looking for a place to gather to resolve their conflicts. But neighbors of the proposed peace center are wondering if their own sense of tranquility will be disrupted by the changes the center's construction will bring to the idyllic riverside setting of the neighborhood. Read about it in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 15, 2007; 10:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Church Property At Stake In Trial

The fate of the churches and property at Truro Church in Fairfax and the Falls Church will be determined in two trials, the first of which begins today. The courts will determine whether the property will remain with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia or with the congregations themselves which have broken away from the established church over the issue of whether gay and lesbians should be fully accepted. Read more in this article from today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 14, 2007; 8:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

House Fire Kills Seven Cats, Bird

From today's Metro section: Seven cats and a bird were killed when fire swept through a pet-filled home in the Falls Church area Monday afternoon, but 60 animals survived, Fairfax authorities said yesterday. Fire broke out about 2:30 p.m. at a Cape Cod-style house in the 6900 block of Jefferson Avenue. Firefighters found 54 dogs inside, none seriously hurt. Police took 52 of them to the county shelter, and two service dogs remained with their owner. Of 13 cats found, seven died, five were taken to a veterinarian and one went to a shelter, police said. Police charged residents Denis J. Downey Jr., 51, and Mark D. Snyder, 31, with a misdemeanor animal care violation and began seizure proceedings against them. Police were not certain why the men had so many animals. -- Tom Jackman...

By Focus on Fairfax | November 14, 2007; 7:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Dulles Corridor Growth Headed For Slowdown

The booming business corridor east of Dulles International Airport is headed for a slowdown, according to this article in today's Business section. Following job growth of 24 percent over the past seven years, the softening economy and fewer federal contracts will lead to competition for office tenants in the area say sources....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 12, 2007; 9:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Post-Election Analysis

Two stories appeared in the pages of the Washington Post this weekend that offered some context for how things stand politically in Fairfax County following last week's election. First, this article from Saturday's Style section examined what the defeat of State Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis means for the political careers of her and her husband, U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, who sources say may not run for reelection. Then, Sunday's Metro section ran this piece on the county Board of Supervisors and what issues await it....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 12, 2007; 9:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

Sully Station Shooter's Father Sentenced To Three Years

Brian H. Kennedy, the father of the teenager who killed two county police officers at the Sully district station last year, was sentenced today for lying on a gun application and illegal possession of a firearm. The news is here....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 8, 2007; 3:53 PM ET | Email a Comment

Dry, But No Drought in Fairfax County

After and extraordinarily dry summer followed by heavy rains in October, water supplies vary greatly in the Washington region. In Fairfax County, which draws it's water primarily from the Potomac, all looks well. But in Fairfax City and other spots, officials are taking precautions. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 8, 2007; 10:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

From Prison To Park

The latest piece of the former Lorton prison site to be opened to the public, Laurel Hill Park offers a rural oasis in the heart of suburbia. Read about it in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 8, 2007; 10:40 AM ET | Email a Comment

Man Arrested in Sex Assault

Fairfax County police have arrested a man suspected of breaking into a woman's home and raping her at knifepoint early Saturday, and officers said they think the man had worked on a crew that renovated the woman's bathroom two weeks earlier. The incident began about 3 a.m., when a 58-year-old woman was confronted by a man in her home on Moon Rock Court in the Alexandria area of Fairfax. According to a search warrant affidavit filed yesterday, the man raped the woman, who kicked and scratched the attacker. The woman then pretended to faint, according to the affidavit by Detective Thomas M. Holland, and her attacker carried her downstairs. At that point, the woman escaped to a neighbor's house, and the surprised assailant fled without some of his clothes, Holland wrote. Police investigated the crew that had worked in the woman's house and questioned Marlon Berrioz, 27, of no fixed...

By Focus on Fairfax | November 8, 2007; 10:09 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 11/8: Byrne Wants Her Seat Back

Updated 11/8 From today's Metro section: Democrat Leslie L. Byrne, who in 1992 became the first woman to represent Virginia in Congress, said yesterday that she has filed papers to run for the U.S. House seat in the 11th Congressional District that she lost more than a decade ago. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R), who recently announced he would not run for the U.S. Senate, has not said whether he will run for reelection in the 11th District, which includes parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties. Byrne said, "When I decided to do this, I decided to do this based on what I could bring to the race and to the 11th District.'' Byrne, who said she hopes to work on consumer, budget and environmental issues, lost to Davis in 1994 in a national Republican landslide. She narrowly lost a race for lieutenant governor two years ago. Davis's...

By Focus on Fairfax | November 8, 2007; 10:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Prosecutor Race

Yesterday's Metro section offered this look at the race for the county's top prosecutor's post which pits Republican Patrick A. McDade versus Democrat Raymond F. Morrogh. Morrogh says that he would continue successful practices of his longtime boss, retiring prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr., while McDade promises a fresh perspective....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 5, 2007; 10:57 AM ET | Email a Comment

Devolites Davis Ads Are Targeted

From today's Metro section: The Virginia Democratic Party has asked the State Board of Elections and the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax) and her husband, U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), violated election laws by using his political money to pay for her TV and direct-mail ads. According to Devolites Davis's most recent campaign finance reports, her husband's political committee paid for airtime for her TV ad and for several of her mailers, even though Devolites Davis claimed in the ads to have paid for them. Democrats said the ads should have stated that they were paid for by a congressional political committee. Devolites Davis said she disclosed her husband's contributions on her finance reports and wasn't trying to hide anything. She said her own campaign paid for the production of her TV ad and the initial purchase of airtime. -Amy Gardner...

By Focus on Fairfax | November 5, 2007; 10:45 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kingstowne Developer Contributed $35,000 To Lee District Candidate

According to this article from Saturday's Metro section, Jeff C. McKay, the Democratic candidate for Lee District supervisor, has received $35,000 in contributions from a developer who is seeking changes in his agreement with the county which would allow the construction of four office buildings in Kingstowne. McKay said the contributions have not influenced on his decision to support the developers proposal which is supported by the Lee District's Land Use Advisory Committee. McKay said had the ommittee not supported the proposal he also would have opposed it....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 5, 2007; 10:15 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 11/5: Va. Launches Investigation After Woman Kills Boyfriend an Hour After Leaving Mental Facility

Updated 11/5 The news about the investigation was in Saturday's Metro section. Originally posted 10/24 "Why did they let that lady out of the hospital?" asked Lolitla Richardson whose former husband was stabbed to death by his girlfriend hour after she left the Woodburn Mental Health Clinic in Annandale where she had agreed to go following an domestic dispute with him. Some are saying the story is the latest illustration of problems with Virginia' mental health system. Learn more in this story from today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 5, 2007; 9:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

Asst. Principal Charged In Marijuana-Growing Operation

Leonard E. Marsh, 50, an assistant principal at Cub Run Elementary School has been arrested and charged by Fairfax County police with one felony count of manufacturing marijuana in his Fairfax Station home, according to this article in today's Metro section. School officials said Marsh has been placed on administrative leave from his job at the school....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 2, 2007; 10:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Davis Gets Endorsement From NYC Mayor

Michael R. Bloomberg (I), the mayor of New York has taken the unusual step of making an endorsement in a Virginia Senate race and lending his support to incumbent state Sen. Devolites Davis (R). Bloomberg cites Davis's support of tougher gun laws as evidence of "common-sense thinking" as a reason for his endorsement. Find out more in this article from today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 2, 2007; 9:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Article Details Connolly's Drive and Forceful Style

The second of two profile pieces on the candidates for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman, this article takes a look at Gerald E. Connolly (D), his background and defining traits as a leader. Look below for yesterday's story on Gary H. Baise....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 2, 2007; 9:49 AM ET | Email a Comment

The Voters Guide

Looking to cram for Tuesday's election? Today's Fairfax Extra has information about all of the races, candidates and ballot questions that voters will be faced with when they go to the polls. Each of the articles provides readers with a chance to comment on the particular race, but Focus on Fairfax invites comments in this space on the election as a whole. Have some predictions or some thoughts about the most important issues that voters will be thinking about as they step up their touch screens? Post them here....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 1, 2007; 10:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Challenger a Freshman Politician at 66

Today's Metro section has a profile of Gary H. Baise, the GOP candidate for Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors who, at 66, is running for elected office for the first time. Read the article to find out more about the candidate and look for a profile of Democrat Gerald E. Connolly tomorrow....

By Focus on Fairfax | November 1, 2007; 9:41 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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