Archive: February 2008

UPDATE 3/3: County to Recalculate Home Assessments

Updated 3/3 According to this story in Saturday's paper, the county will recalculate the value of homeowners' properties. But the bottom line won't change. Only shifts between allocations of the the land value and the house of a property's overall value will be affected. The total taxable value of the property will remain the same. Originally posted 2/29 In Fairfax County, some homeowners are facing a perplexing reality when they read their latest property assessments: Home values are still down, but the value of the land under the houses is escalating. Read more about it in this article from today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 29, 2008; 11:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Patients Find Independence in Program for Mentally Ill

This week's Fairfax Extra features this story about the state-funded Program of Assertive Community Treatment which helps severely mentally ill people live independently while being kept under daily supervision. One Fairfax County health official describes the program, which was pioneered in Wisconsin three decades ago, as one in which the patient is "the center of the treatment."...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 29, 2008; 11:16 AM ET | Email a Comment

Memorial Event For Cappies Founder Set For Sunday

The life of Bill Strauss, the man who founded the Cappies high school theater program in Fairfax in 1999, will be celebrated at a memorial event from 3 to 5 p.m. this Sunday at Hayfield Secondary School. Strauss died in December....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 29, 2008; 11:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 2/29: Army Narrows BRAC Alternatives

Updated 2/29 Two Alexandria locations and the General Services location in Springfield are still in the running to get the jobs moving from Fort Belvoir. Read the latest in this article from this week's Fairfax Extra. Updated 12/17 An article on with more details and analysis of what local and regional changes can be expected be of BRAC shuffles was in yesterday's Metro section. Updated 11/30 The latest on the increasingly stiff competition to lure the jobs originally planned for Fort Belvoir is in this story from today's Metro section. Updated 10/11 The plan to shift some BRAC jobs from Fort Belvoir jobs to Springfield is facing a challenge from a private property owner of 16 acres along Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria. Lee District Supervisor T. Dana Kauffman (D) calls the Alexandria proposal a "rigged deal." Read about it in this article from today's front page. Updated 8/27 The neighborhoods...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 29, 2008; 9:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Comparative Statistics Help in Choosing School

In his Extra Credit column today, Jay Mathews argues that comparative statistics would be helpful for parents trying to decide which private school to enroll their children in. Read the column in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 21, 2008; 12:31 PM ET | Email a Comment

Langley High Senior's Paralysis Doesn't Stop Him

Today's Fairfax Extra features a cover story that introduces readers to 17-year-old Nick Cafferky, who suffered a spinal injury last summer that left him confined to a wheelchair. Despite his disability Cafferky remains dedicated to the athletic pursuits that were his focus prior to his accident. Read the article to learn how....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 21, 2008; 12:05 PM ET | Email a Comment

Courthouse Building Opens Monday

The expansion of the Fairfax County courthouse opens on Monday and several of the court's offices and services will move to the new building. Check out this article in today's Fairfax Extra for the details....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 21, 2008; 11:34 AM ET | Email a Comment

Election Officials Request More Voting Machines

Fairfax County election officials are warning that unless the county can acquire more voting machines before November's Presidential election, voters could be facing long lines. General Registrar Jacquelynne C. Harris said that at least 300 optical scanner machines will be needed, but other officials are concerned that the $2.5 million dollar price tag, for a county already on a tight budget, may make the purchase of the new machines problematic. Read the news story in today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 19, 2008; 9:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

Sprint Decamps For Kansas

Reston-based Sprint Nextel will move its corporate headquarters to Kansas, chief executive Dan Hesse announced yesterday. Jobs may follow. Read the story in today's Business section....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 14, 2008; 11:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Plans Call For Visitors Center at Historic Mill

(BY KEVIN CLARK - THE WASHINGTON POST) Check out this Fairfax Extra cover story on the historic Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls. Fairfax County Park Authority officials are calling for new ways, including building a visitors center, to play up the historic significance of the building and milling operation which has been grinding wheat into flour for 200 years....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 14, 2008; 11:19 AM ET | Email a Comment

Rehabilitation of County's High-Risk Dams Set For Spring

Three of the county's earthen lake dams that have been determined by state engineers to constitute a failure and flooding risk are set to be brought up to code at the cost of $3 million this spring. Read about the work and why it needs to be done in this article from today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 14, 2008; 11:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

Ice Plays Havoc on Springfield Interchange

Icy roads at the Springfield Interchange during Tuesday's evening rush hour led to snarled traffic and accidents like this one on the Franconia road overpass next to Springfield Mall. (JOHN MCDONNELL - THE WASHINGTON POST) Of all the areas where traffic was affected by Tuesday's winter storm, none was more so than the Springfield Interchange where there were numerous accidents and traffic was at a virtual standstill for hours. Read this article from today's Metro section. Were you stuck in the traffic? Share your stories and impressions of the situation. If this problem can be prevented from happening again for half a million dollars, will it be money well spent?...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 14, 2008; 10:36 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE: 2/14: Woman Shot Over Car Keys

Update 2/14 The latest on the October murder of Joan M. Gillinson is here. Updated 12/21 Kevin C. Kline, the 18-year-old Woodbridge man who is suspected in the murder of Gillinson, was sentenced to five years in prison for another attack for which he was free on bail at the time Gillinson was killed. The judge in the case has tendered his resignation from the bench. Today's Metro section has the story. Update 10/22 The victim in the fatal shooting linked to last week's bus standoff has been identified as Joan M. Gillinson, 60 of Alexandria. This article from Saturday's Metro section has more. Updated 10/19 The suspect in Wednesday's standoff and in the killing of a woman whose body was found nearby, was free on bond awaiting sentencing on an assault conviction. The news is here. Originally posted 10/18 Fairfax County police shut down Route 1 in Hybla Valley...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 14, 2008; 10:09 AM ET | Email a Comment

Voting Information For Tomorrow's Presidential Primary

Courtesy of the county's Office of Elections, here is all the information you might need to cast your ballot tomorrow....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 11, 2008; 11:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

What's Going Where

Here is the key to this month's growth map. Be sure to check the print edition of the Fairfax Extra inside the Home section of your Fairfax-zoned edition of the Washington Post to see exactly where, 'what' is going....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2008; 12:55 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Considers Pooling to Pay Retirement Benefits

Facing the prospect of big payouts to future and current retirees, the county government is looking at creating an investment pool with other Virginia local governments to save money. Read the article in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2008; 12:16 PM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church City Center Project in Works

If the Falls Church City Council gives final approval later this month, which they appear ready to do according to this article in this week's Fairfax Extra, construction of a $317 million residential, retail and office complex could begin as early as this summer. Mayor Robin Gardner is one of the proposed project's champions but some in the city say the plan could be a boondoggle. Read the article and share your thoughts....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2008; 12:03 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 2/7: Connolly To Announce Run for Congress Today

Updated 2/7 Read this article from today's Metro section about the Chairman's plans. Updated 1/3 Today's Metro section has more on Connolly's exploratory committee, while the Chairman himself authors this week's Voices of Fairfax column in the Fairfax Extra, writing about why he thinks that Fairfax County government is effective. Originally posted 1/2 The Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' scheduled announcement today is the latest signal that he has his eye on the 11th District seat currently held by another former Board Chairman, Tom Davis. Read more here....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 7, 2008; 9:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Bill Could Ax Development Proffers, Force Growth Curbs

A bill before the Virginia General Assembly could end the system by which builders offer proffers of cash and land to offset the impact of new developments. Fairfax officials largely have decried the bill, which would replace the proffers with impact fees that would yield much lower value to localities, saying that it could force them to curb rezoning authorizations and greatly slow growth. The news is in this morning's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 4, 2008; 10:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Send in Your Thoughts About the Community

You're reading this, so you probably are familiar with Fairfax County and have ideas about the good, the bad and the ugly. We want to hear what you think. The annual community guide will publish April 24, and we want to reflect the thoughts and suggestions of the readers. Send pieces of 200 words or fewer telling us what you particularly like about the county, your town or city, and what you suggest for newcomers who might be reading the Guide for the first time. Keep the ideas simple: in a list or in a short paragraph or two. Everything is fair game -- schools, taxes, roads, neighborhoods -- and anything else you have thoughts on. We need submissions early, by Feb. 21 at the latest, and we'll publish some in the Guide, as separate suggestions or in a piece about your responses. Please refrain from overly political or mean-spirited...

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2008; 12:14 PM ET | Email a Comment

14 Miles of Stream Restoration Set for Reston

A five-year project to restore 14 miles of streams in Reston suffering from the erosion effects of 40 years of urban runoff will begin next month. Today's Fairfax Extra tells the tale....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2008; 12:05 PM ET | Email a Comment

Compare Region's School Chiefs' Salaries, Compensation

Check out this article from the Fairfax Extra which lists the salaries of the superintendents of each of the local school systems. Fairfax County's Jack D. Dale tops the list with an annual salary of $279,340....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2008; 11:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

McLean Teacher Bridges Gap Between Life Here and in Kenya

This week's Fairfax Extra cover story introduces us to Kenneth O. Okoth, a history teacher at the Potomac School in McLean who, from thousands of miles away, heads a school that serves orphans and impoverished children amid the political chaos and violence consuming his native Kenya. Read more here....

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2008; 11:49 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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