Archive: March 2008

Lake Braddock Boasts Four Alumni at Juilliard

Boasting four of its former students among the 800 currently enrolled at the exclusive Julliard School in New York, Lake Braddock Secondary School's band program is raising eyebrows among some of the conservatory's faculty and student body. Juilliard admits only seven percent of all applicants and to get four at the same time from the same public high school is unusual, if not unprecedented. The Fairfax Extra has the story....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 27, 2008; 1:05 PM ET | Email a Comment

Needed Work on County Bldgs Running Far Behind

With about 170 government buildings to take care of, Fairfax County has a big maintenance job to do even in the best of times. But with the money in shorter supply, repairs to county facilities are one more thing the county is struggling harder to keep up with. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 27, 2008; 12:51 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 3/27: Ruling Against Regional Tranportation Fund Spells Trouble For Belvoir Road Plan

Updated 3/27 According to an article in today's Fairfax Extra, the ruling by Virginia Supreme Court against a regional tax plan to fund transportation improvements, one of the big losers will be the plan to improve roads and ease congestion around the fort. The decision eliminates $12.1 million the state planned to spend on the project. Updated 5/18/07 Responding to an amendment proposed by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require transportation improvements be made before the U.S. Army would be allowed to move 22,000 jobs to Fort Belvoir. The story is here. Originally posted 2/8 Amid concerns about what an influx of 21,00 new personnel at Fort Belvoir could do to complicate traffic and other problems around the Army base, local congressional leaders are asking federal officials delay the base realignment process. They say that the additional time will allow needed preparation...

By Focus on Fairfax | March 27, 2008; 10:15 AM ET | Email a Comment

Police Arrest Five Boys Suspected Of Gang Activity at Twain Middle

From today''s Metro section: Fairfax County police said yesterday that they have arrested five boys ages 12 to 14 suspected of gang activity at Mark Twain Middle School in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County in recent months. Police said gang-related graffiti were scribbled in a boys' bathroom at the school in January. A 12-year-old and a 13-year-old were charged with destruction of a public building. Upon further investigation, police said, they found additional gang activity. This month, two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old were charged with gang participation and gang recruitment. Police said the recruitment occurred at the school. In a separate case, graffiti were sprayed on buildings at Robert E. Lee High School in early December, shortly after a homicide occurred outside a nearby Springfield Mall restaurant. In late February, police said they charged three men and one juvenile with felony property destruction and gang participation. The men are...

By Focus on Fairfax | March 26, 2008; 9:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Plan to Lower Speed Limit on Route 1 Stalls

From today's Metro Section: State transportation officials have halted plans to reduce the speed limit on a portion of Route 1 in Northern Virginia pending further discussion with local leaders. A study released in September by the Virginia Department of Transportation recommended dropping the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph along a 4 1/2 -mile stretch of Route 1 in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. The report said the crash and death rates along that portion of the highway were more than double the statewide average. VDOT decided to reduce the speed limit in mid-March after speaking with state and local police. But Fairfax County supervisors who represent the area complained, saying they weren't consulted about the change. -- Associated Press...

By Focus on Fairfax | March 25, 2008; 9:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Addition to South County Secondary: a Half-Measure?

Some Lorton-area residents have pushed for a new middle school to help alleviate overcrowding at South County Secondary School. According to this story from today's Metro section, a proposal from County Executive Anthony H. Griffin to add a wing to the secondary school to ease the problem is getting mixed reviews, seen by some as a more imperfect solultion than building a new school for seventh and eighth-graders....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 25, 2008; 8:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 3/25: Huntington Still Ineligible for Flood Dollars, Other Areas Qualify

Updated 3/25 Under the Army Corps of Engineers calculus, Huntington remains ineligible for aid, but other nearby neighborhoods qualify leading some Huntington residents to ponder the rationale for determining which neighborhoods are worth protecting. The news is here. Updated 11/20 According to a story in today's Metro section, the county will have to look elsewhere than the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for money for measures to prevent a recurrence of the Huntington flooding; the project won't qualify for federal funding. Originally posted 6/25 As the victims of the damaging flood waters that hit Huntington one year ago today celebrate their neighborhood's comeback, some wonder when the disaster may repeat itself, even as local leaders ponder how to prevent such an occurrence. A flood wall along Cameron Run may help, but is expensive. Dredging the stream is another potential solution and less expensive, but needs to be repeated periodically. And...

By Focus on Fairfax | March 25, 2008; 8:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 3/17: Feral Cats Win Reprieve

Updated 3/17 A group that advocates for feral cats is stepping up to the plate to help control the Chantilly cats, negating the need to euthanize them. The news from Saturday's Metro section is here. Updated 3/11 The news from this afternoon is here. Originally posted 3/5 According to this story from this morning's Metro section, the 200 or so feral cats that roam the streets of the Meadows trailer park in Chantilly have long been the darlings of some of the neighborhood's residents, though others find them a nuisance. Now the development's management company is getting involved; they want to trap and remove the cats and take them to the county animal shelter, where the pro-cat neighbors are worried they will be euthanized....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 17, 2008; 8:34 AM ET | Email a Comment

George Mason High, A Little School That Can and Does

Check out today's Varsity Letter high school sports column from the Fairfax Extra to read about Falls Church's George Mason High School, a David among other Northern Virginia Goliaths. The school's girl's basketball team is headed to the state Class A semi-finals tomorrow....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 13, 2008; 3:27 PM ET | Email a Comment

Culmore Center Expands Programs

The Culmore Family Resource Center near Seven Corners and Bailey's Crossroads, long a place were members of the area's immigrant community have sought information and support, is expanding its services by opening a health center and offering literacy classes for Spanish speakers. Read more in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 13, 2008; 3:19 PM ET | Email a Comment

Spring Babies at Frying Pan Farm Park

Sophie Nemec, 6 of Fairfax meets Oscar, a one-month-old calf at Frying Pan Park. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post) If it's spring there must be baby animals at Frying Pan Farm Park. Check out this article from today's Fairfax Extra to read about this year's new arrivals....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 13, 2008; 3:01 PM ET | Email a Comment

16% Tax Hike Sought in Fairfax City

From today's Metro section: Fairfax City Manager Robert Sisson has proposed a $128.8 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The financial plan includes a 16 percent increase in the real estate tax rate and a 7 percent boost in water and sewer rates. Sisson said the increases are necessary because of the drop in revenue caused by the downturn in the residential real estate market and by the sluggish economy. Spending would rise 3.7 percent over this year's if the City Council approves Sisson's plan. Under the proposal, the real estate tax rate would rise from 72 cents for each $100 of assessed value to 83.5 cents. Ambulance fees would also go up, according to the plan....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 13, 2008; 10:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 3/13: Police Used Hidden GPS Device To Nab Sexual Assault Suspect

Updated 3/13 According to this story from today's Metro section, Fairfax County police hid a global positioning system device on Foltz's van to track his movements. Foltz's attorney is questioning the legality of the police action that led to his client's arrest. Updated 2/8 According to this story in today's Metro section, the suspect in custody is David Lee Foltz Jr., a suspected rapist. Police are investigating a possible connection to the series of attacks. Updated 2/7 Falls Church city police arrested a man at 7:30 last night. The news is here. Updated 2/4 More details on the series of attacks on women by a masked man were in this article from yesterday's Metro section. Originally posted 1/30 Fairfax and Alexandria police now say they believe that the same man is responsible for ten attacks, some sexual, on women in the area, going back to August of last year. The...

By Focus on Fairfax | March 13, 2008; 9:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

Panel Urges Later Openings for High Schools

From today's Metro section: A community transportation task force recommended that the Fairfax County School Board consider reshuffling its school opening-bell times to give high school students more time to sleep in the mornings, its chairman, Dick Reed, told the board at a meeting last night. The task force spent months studying the complex matrix of opening-bell schedules and school bus routes for the county's more than 164,000 students before coming up with its recommendations, which would push back the bell time for high school students from 7:20 a.m. to between 8:35 and 8:55 a.m. The earliest start time for elementary schools would stay the same, 7:50 a.m. A minority group from the committee questioned whether the move would be economically feasible and suggested it could have a negative affect on after-school activities. The School Board could take up the matter as early as the fall . -- Annie Gowen...

By Focus on Fairfax | March 11, 2008; 10:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Government Center Could Be Named For Davis

With U.S. Rep and former Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Tom Davis set to retire at the end of this year, the current board yesterday began discussing the best way to honor Davis for his years of service. Suggestions included naming the county's main building at the Fairfax County Government Center for him. The details are here....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 11, 2008; 9:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

Property Tax Increase Ahead?

The county's Board of Supervisors agreed yesterday to consider a tax rate increase of three cents to 92 cents per $100 of assessed value as it begins deliberating its spending proposals. Read more in this article from today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 11, 2008; 9:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 3/10: County Budget Woes Appear Worse Than Projected

Updated 3/10 The county's budget, as austere as it is, may still be overly optimistic about the government's spending powers according to this article from yesterday's Metro section. Updated 3/6 A suite of articles in this week's Fairfax Extra takes a detailed look at the county's proposed budget and what the numbers mean. First, this cover story looks at the lean and mean figures that the declining housing market is forcing the county to work with. The print edition of the Extra has a map that corresponds to this text on the decline in property values by area of the county, as well as a helpful primer on the budget and property assessments. Originally posted 2/21 Information for readers who want to follow the county's proposed budget as it makes its way through the process of hearings, modifications and approvals should read this information from today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 10, 2008; 9:19 AM ET | Email a Comment

Zero Tolerance for Street Racing in Fairfax

Read in this Fairfax Extra article about how two teens might lose their cars, their drivers' licences, their freedom and some money if they are found guilty of street racing. Louis Violetta and Oscar Cornejo both 18 of Fairfax, were arrested Feb. 26 after a police officer witnessed them racing side by side at more than 70 mph in a 40 mph zone....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 6, 2008; 1:33 PM ET | Email a Comment

What's Going Where

The monthly list of proposed and approved new development projects that corresponds to the map available in the print edition of the Fairfax Extra can be found here....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 6, 2008; 1:17 PM ET | Email a Comment

State Uses You Tube To Spread Preparedness Info

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is using the web site YouTube to post messages aimed at getting people to think about what they need to do to prepare for disaster. Read about it in today's Fairfax Extra and check out the videos here....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 6, 2008; 1:10 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 3/6: Winners Announced In Theatre Awards

Updated 3/6 This year's awards saw a shift away from some of the traditional winners and a trend toward darker more serious work . Read about the awards here and check out the list of Fairfax winners here. Originally posted 1/24 With the announcement of the nominees of this year's Washington Area Theatre Community Honors, Fairfax thespians are once again in line for numerous honors. Read the news here....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 6, 2008; 12:39 PM ET | Email a Comment

Municipal Elections Preview

With elections for local officials in Clifton, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Herndon and Vienna set for two months from today, the Metro today section offers this preview of the races here and in neighboring Loudoun and Prince William Counties....

By Focus on Fairfax | March 6, 2008; 9:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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