Archive: April 2008

Falls Church Property Tax Rate to Rise

From today's Metro section: The Falls Church City Council has approved a $76.4 million budget that raises the property tax rate 2 cents for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The new rate is $1.03 for each $100 of assessed value. However, city officials said in a statement, because of declines in property assessments, the median tax bill for the owner of a single-family home will decline $174. Other tax rates will stay the same. New construction and growth in the value of commercial real estate will yield an increase of 3.5 percent in overall property tax revenue, officials said....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 30, 2008; 9:31 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 4/29: Woman Recants Rape Claim

Updated 4/29 The woman who claimed she had been raped Saturday is now saying her story was not true. Read about it here. From Saturday's Metro section: A Fairfax County woman, walking with her infant daughter in a Springfield shopping center, was abducted and raped Thursday night, Fairfax police said yesterday. The 18-year-old victim, who lives in the Springfield area, was carrying her 3-month-old daughter in a portable car seat at the Commerce Plaza center, just off Backlick Road, Officer Tawny Wright said. Shortly before 8 p.m., a man armed with a gun approached the woman, ordered her to walk down nearby Dana Avenue and directed her behind a house, Wright said. Police said the man threatened the baby, then raped the woman and fled. The baby was not hurt, and the woman was treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital. The woman told police her attacker was a brown-skinned man in...

By Focus on Fairfax | April 29, 2008; 4:16 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 4/29: Budget Passes Amidst Criticism From Teachers

Updated 4/29 The Board of Supervisors passed the county budget yesterday amidst criticism from teachers who say they fear that their cost of living salary increase may be reduced. The article is here. Updated 4/22 The Board of Supervisors passed the rate increase yesterday. The news is here. Updated 4/21 The three cent property tax increase isn't going to fix the county's budget problems all by itself according to this analysis in yesterday's Metro section. Originally posted 4/7 According to this story from Sunday's Metro section, the property tax rate in Fairfax County is likely to rise by three cents in response to the county's budget woes and what some members of the Board of Supervisors say is a public demand to maintain services. The final budget for the next fiscal year is scheduled to be adopted April 21....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 29, 2008; 9:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Schools Absorbing ESOL Students Fleeing PW

Fairfax County schools' enrollment of students in English for speakers of other languages programs is up nearly 260% for the period September to March 31 over the same period last year. Other neighboring jurisdictions are also seeing similar increases. Meanwhile in Prince William County, which recently began denying certain services to illegal immigrants, has seen a decline in its number of students in such programs. The news story is here....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 28, 2008; 11:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Indictments In Springfield Mall Gang Killings

Saturday's Metro section ran this story that reports on indictments of two men for a gang slaying outside Springfield Mall in December. The story also has information on the recent history of gang-related criminal convictions in the area....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 28, 2008; 11:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 4/28: Increased Crime Linked to Empty Houses

Updated 4/28 According to this article from yesterday's Washington Post the increasing number of home foreclosures is leading to another problem: crime. Empty houses seem to be drawing criminals, who use them as havens and hideouts and as targets for vandalism. Updated 3/10 It could be characterized as a case of exchanging one suburban blight for another according to this story from yesterday's Metro section as some houses that were once overcrowded illegal boarding houses until the county began more strict enforcement of zoning laws, are now in foreclosure and standing empty and ill-maintained. Updated 8/23 According to this article from this morning's Metro section, county officials say that progress, though slow, is being made with regard to overcrowded houses an other sources of zoning violations. Updated 6/8 The county today announced the first of a series of court cases that they plan to make against homeowners suspected of violations...

By Focus on Fairfax | April 28, 2008; 9:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

The 2008 Community Guide is Here

Today marks the publication of the Washington Post's fifth annual community guide, -- don't forget to bookmark it --zoned in your local Extra to give you the best information about the places we live, work and play. This year there's something different--suggestions and comments from readers about life in Fairfax and the two cities in the area. So you can check out what others think about the area. The issue Fairfax Extra is the one you want to make sure doesn't go out with the recycling. Put it aside with other reference stuff like your road maps or telephone directories so you can use it all year. And if you don't subscribe to the print edition of the Post, newsstand copies sold in Fairfax locations will carry the guide as well. And a limited number of copies of the Guide are also available at locations throughout the county like the...

By Focus on Fairfax | April 24, 2008; 9:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Teacher Brings Art To Life For Disabled Students

Check out the cover story from today's Fairfax Extra to see how one Fairfax County school teacher is finding new ways of introducing great art to and fostering creativity within students with limited visual or cognitive abilities....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 17, 2008; 5:17 PM ET | Email a Comment

Child Support Dodgers Face Monitoring, Not Jail

A bill recently approved by the http://legis.state.va.us/ will place many of those people convicted of failure to pay child support under close supervision of authorities while allowing them to stay out of jail. Officials hope the measure will reduce jail overcrowding. Read about it in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 17, 2008; 9:26 AM ET | Email a Comment

Schools: When Band and Sports Conflict

Today's Extra Credit column in the Fairfax Extra begins a conversation about what parents and students do when sports and music programs in their schools prove to be mutually exclusive because scheduling conflicts. It's a particular conundrum for students who enjoy or exhibit talent in both, but are forced by their schools to choose....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 17, 2008; 9:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

Pay Raises Fall Short, Say County Employees

According to this article from today's Metro section, the merit pay increases that county employees have been receiving are declining. With next year's likely to be "the worst budget in Fairfax County history" according to County Executive Anthony H. Griffin, the situation doesn't seem like it will improve. The workers aren't happy....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 17, 2008; 9:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

All-Extra Athletes

The best student athletes in area schools are named in today's Fairfax Extra. Click the links to see the names in hockey, wrestling, boys' basketball, girls' basketball, boys' indoor track, girls' indoor track, boys' swimming and girls' swimming....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 10, 2008; 2:53 PM ET | Email a Comment

Arts Season Announced at Center for the Arts

Another impressive array of performance offerings at George Mason University's Center for the Arts was unveiled last week. The Fairfax Extra has coverage of the 2008 - 2009 season announcement....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 10, 2008; 2:41 PM ET | Email a Comment

Former Fairfaxian Sets Sites on Music Stardom in L.A.

Singer Taleen Kalbian had already performed for the pope and the president while she was still living in Northern Virginia as a teen. Now 20 and living in Los Angeles, the Oakton High School grad has just inked a business deal that could be the next big step in her shot for stardom. Read about her in today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 10, 2008; 2:19 PM ET | Email a Comment

Sting Reveals Child Porn on 20,000 Virginia Computers

During a 30-month investigation law enforcement officials received child pornography from nearly 20,000 private computers in the state. Herndon, a town of 23,000 is reported to have 1,058 known computers with child porn files which users sent to undercover investigators. Read this article from today's Fairfax Extra for more information....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 10, 2008; 2:04 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Sets Action Plan Aimed at Ending Homelesness

The Board of Supervisors last week approved an action plan which sets a goal of finding permanent housing for all of the county's estimated nearly 2,000 homeless residents. The Fairfax Extra has the news....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 10, 2008; 1:43 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 | April 3, 2008; 2:55 PM ET | Email a Comment

Pedestrian Safety and Street Smarts

New data shows that pedestrian deaths account for about 25% of the region's traffic fatalities. Local public safety officials are responding with a multi-pronged enforcement and education campaign aimed at pedestrians, motorists and cyclists. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 3, 2008; 2:40 PM ET | Email a Comment

Program Helps Parents With Nurturing

According to this article from today's Fairfax Extra, parents struggling with problems that hinder their ability to raise their children in a nurturing way can take advantage of county-sponsored program that will give them the help they need. Read the story and find out more, here....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 3, 2008; 2:20 PM ET | Email a Comment

School Fundraiser a Bright Idea

The newest fundraising effort undertaken by Fairfax County school students won't leave you with chocorific calories to burn or expensive wrapping paper cluttering the closet. In the long run, it may even save you money. Beginning later this month, the students will be selling environmentally-friendly low energy-use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Get the details in this article from today's Fairfax Extra....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 3, 2008; 2:05 PM ET | Email a Comment

150-Room Hotel Planned For GMU Campus

George Mason University officials have plans to construct a seven-story hotel on Chain Bridge Road, the need for which, they contend, is further indication that the University has outgrown its commuter-school reputation. Some of the Fairfax campus's neighbors aren't convinced this is a positive development though. Read the news in today's Metro section....

By Focus on Fairfax | April 3, 2008; 9:51 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 4/1: Parents Group Sues Over Boundary Shift

Updated 4/1 News about the suit, which was filed Friday, is in today's Metro section. Updated 3/3 The challenges that face the board after the controversial decision is the subject of this article from yesterday's Metro section. Updated 2/29 The boundary shift, approved late last night, will affect thousands of students. Read this article and then come back to Focus on Fairfax to share your thoughts. Updated 2/8 According to this article in today's Washington Post, parents are questioning the enrollment projections on which schools officials are basing the plans to redraw the boundaries. Updated 1/31 A report from last night's public meeting about the boundary shift is in today's Metro section. Updated 1/16 From today's Metro section: Some Fairfax County School Board members discussed this week whether South Lakes High School could be transformed into a magnet school in an effort to minimize controversy over a proposal to reshape...

By Focus on Fairfax | April 1, 2008; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 4/1: Affordable Housing Proposal Advances

Updated 4/1 The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed yesterday to explore the possibility of buying foreclosed properties and converting them into affordable housing by selling them at below-market prices to qualified families. The board's chairman, Gerald E. Connolly (D), suggested the idea in his annual State of the County address Friday. Although two Republicans on the board opposed the proposal, Connolly and his seven Democratic colleagues supported it. -- Amy Gardner Total of Homeless Residents Up Slightly Fairfax County and the cities of Falls Church and Fairfax counted a total of 1,835 homeless residents in January, up slightly from 1,813 in 2007. The annual count includes people who live on the street, in shelters or in transitional housing. The number of homeless families was 311, up from 307, according to survey released yesterday. Nearly 60 percent of all homeless people were in families, with 66 percent of adults in...

By Focus on Fairfax | April 1, 2008; 9:52 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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