Archive: Government

UPDATE 6/19: Kaine Orders Stop to Prison Bed Rental Plan

Updated 6/19 Read about the governor's decision here. Originally posted 6/3 The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is characterizing a Virginia plan to rent empty prison beds to other states as an insult to local governments like the county's that have overcrowded jails. The board is considering a lawsuit against the Commonwealth if the plan is approved. Read about it in today's metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | June 19, 2008; 08:38 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 6/18: Conservative Christian Group Protests Saudi Academy

Update 6/18 The Traditional Values Coalition staged a small protest yesterday at the academy, alleging that the school teaches intolerance and hatred of Jews and Christians. The story is here. Updated 5/22 Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D) said he reviewed the school's textbooks and found no reason for concern. The story is here. Updated 12/10 The latest on the scrutiny the Islamic Saudi Academy is facing is in today's Metro section. Updated 11/16 The latest news is in today's Metro section. Originally posted 10/19 The U.S. State Department is being urged by a federal panel, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, to shut down a Fairfax school that is supported by the government of Saudi Arabia until the school can prove that it is not teaching religious intolerance. The story is on today's front page....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | June 18, 2008; 08:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

Officers' Personal Use of Police Vehicles Under Scrutiny

According to this article, for many years Fairfax County's police department has had no rules with regard to how its official vehicles were used or how they far they could travel when officers were off duty. Now chief David M. Roher is warning that with fuel costs soaring and the county facing a budget crunch, the days of the taxpayer-funded personal use of police cars might soon be ending....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | June 18, 2008; 08:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Critical of Distribution of Transportation Dollars

According to this article from today's Fairfax Extra, transportation projects in Fairfax County have received only 3.6 percent of the money granted to Virginia under a federal program despite having 14 percent of the population, a situation that Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly calls, "inconceivable". The board plans to write a later of complaint to the Commonwealth Transportation Board....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | June 12, 2008; 01:31 PM ET | Email a Comment

No Go on Red Light Cameras Yet

More than 14 months after the use of red light photo enforcement cameras were again approved for use by the Commonwealth, none of the Northern Virginia localities that had lobbied for their use have begun using them. Find out why in this article from today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | June 5, 2008; 04:16 PM ET | Email a Comment

Plan to Help First-Time Home Buyers in the Works

Called the Silver Lining program, the effort could provide up to $6.4 million over the next two years to help middle income professionals purchase their first homes in Fairfax County by helping them get cut rates on foreclosed houses. Read more in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 20, 2008; 09:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATED /7: Municipal Election Results

Updated 5/7 An article about the results of yesterday's elections is here. Full results are here. Originally posted 5/1 Municipal Elections in the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Clifton, Herndon and Vienna are highlighted in today's Fairfax Extra. Pick up a copy of the print edition inside today's Home section for complete coverage including information on each of the candidates....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 7, 2008; 09:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 5/2: Federal Approval of Dulles Rail Funds Comes With Conditions

Updated 5/2 Further analysis of what yet has to happen to for the project to go forward is in this morning's Metro section. Check it out here. Updated 5/1 Check out this article from today's Metro section for information on what federal transportation officials say has to happen for them to help make the rail extension reality. Updated 4/30 The breaking news is the lead story in this morning's Washington Post. Updated 2/11 Yesterday's Metro section featured this article about those critics of the project who are glad to see it floundering; seeing in the possible demise of Metrorail to Dulles opportunities for other transportation solutions. Updated 2/6 From today's Metro section: A Federal Transit Administration report issued yesterday left unrated the proposed rail line to Dulles International Airport, which supporters viewed as a sign that the $5 billion project might win federal approval. The FTA's annual report assessed various...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 2, 2008; 09:43 AM 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; 09:23 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; 09:02 AM 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; 09:26 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; 09:10 AM 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; 01:43 PM 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; 09:52 AM 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

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

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; 09:56 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; 09:50 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; 09:19 AM 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; 09:46 AM 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; 09:17 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

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

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

Congressman Tom Davis Announces Retirement

The announcement from the 12-term Republican, made today, is in this article....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 30, 2008; 02:27 PM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Vote for Settlement in Icy Sidewalk Suit

According to this article, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have voted to offer a $100,000 settlement in a suit that asked for more than $300,000 after a man sustained injuries when he fell on an icy sidewalk outside a county court in 2005. Some of the Supervisors, including board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly opposed offering the settlement indicating that according to attorneys, Virginia law protects the county from such suits. Connolly argued that the county was being penalized for trying to remain open in inclement whether and that the government would have had a clearer case if the sidewalk, which had been shoveled and salted, had been left untreated....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 14, 2008; 10:22 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE: Commuters Should Prepare for 'Dynamic Tolling'

Updated 1/10 That's bureacratese for the practice of charging more to use the soon-to-come HOT lanes on the Capital Beltway when traffic is heavier. Read more about how the system will work in today's Fairfax Extra. Updated 9/20 Local drivers offer their opinions about the merits of the new toll lanes and whether they would be likely to use them in this article from today's Fairfax Extra. Originally published 9/10 Getting used to the now-opened Mixing Bowl? Well, there's more. A formal announcement about the construction and operation of the express toll lanes scheduled to begin construction next spring on the Beltway near Tysons Corner is coming today. This article from this morning's paper has the details. And there will be more public money involved in the project, whose price tag is growing. Thoughts?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 10, 2008; 11:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

New Supe Wants More Anti-Blight Tools

Jeff C. McKay (D), the newly-elected Lee District representative to the county's Board of Supervisors used his first meeting yesterday to ask the county to find additional ways of combating code violations in some of the county's older neighborhoods. Today's Metro section has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 8, 2008; 04:33 PM ET | Email a Comment

Reston on the Decline?

According to Tom Grubisich, the author of an opinion column from yesterday's Washington Post, the best days of Fairfax County's first planned community may be behind it. What do you think?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 7, 2008; 11:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

Whats Going Where

Many projects clustered around the Beltway and Dulles International Airport figure into this month's growth information. No map is available online this month, but check out this link to see what is happening in your neighborhood....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 3, 2008; 11:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

Virginia Legislative Preview

Budgetary and immigration issues along with abusive driver fees look to figure prominently in the upcoming legislative session in Richmond according to this article from the cover of today's Fairfax Extra. With the county budget stagnating, Fairfax County legislators will be seeking ways to keep money flowing into the public schools, according to another story. Also, see this list of contact information for local Senators and Delegates....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 3, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Officials Sworn In

County elected officials were sworn in at a ceremony yesterday at the County Governement Center. Last evening the county issued this press release: In a ceremony this evening, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County constitutional officers, and the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District directors all took their oath of office in front of several hundred spectators. Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Stanley P. Klein administered the oath of office to Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly and 14 other elected officials, who each swore to support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the commonwealth of Virginia, and to faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon them as officials of Fairfax County. All elected officials will take office on Jan. 1, 2008....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 13, 2007; 10:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

Vienna Officials Consider Alternative to Fireworks

From today's Metro section: Vienna, which had the worst of several fireworks malfunctions in Northern Virginia on July 4, is leaning toward replacing its annual pyrotechnics display with a laser light show, town officials said yesterday. Rockets from a box of Chinese-made mortar tubes launched into the crowd at Waters Field in Vienna, injuring 11 people, two of them seriously. The same type of box also misfired at five other locations in Fairfax County and Fairfax City the same night. County officials reviewed fireworks regulations and decided that the distance from the firing spot to the spectators had to be doubled for such fireworks boxes, which would eliminate them from Waters Field, said Cathy Salgado, the town's parks and recreation director. Vienna was already considering eliminating fireworks after this year's incident, because the mortar boxes could not be sufficiently inspected, Salgado said. At a Town Council work session this week,...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 13, 2007; 10:48 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Faces Budget Crisis

A shortfall of about $220 million faces the Fairfax County government according to this article from the front page of today's Washington Post. The crunch, which stems from the housing slump, could last several years and affect a range of county services and programs. So what gets cut? Let's hear what readers of Focus on Fairfax would do if you had to make the hard choices that face county leaders....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 12, 2007; 10:30 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 12/03: Tysons Landowners Getting Behind Rail Plan

Updated 12/3 According to this article from Sunday's Metro section, support for rebooting the Tysons rail plan to put the rail line underground appears to be dwindling. Updated 11/29 From yesterday's Metro section: Opponents of an elevated rail line through Tysons Corner have sued the U.S. Department of Transportation, contending that the agency violated federal law by failing to seriously consider the idea of placing the track underground. The Tysons segment is part of the planned 23-mile Metrorail extension from Falls Church to Dulles International Airport, currently under review by DOT to determine whether it qualifies for federal funding. Tysons Tunnel Inc., a McLean-based group of Tysons property owners, civic groups and homeowner associations, filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. It was joined as a plaintiff by Ratner Cos., a firm at Route 7 and Spring Hill Road, adjacent to a portion of the proposed elevated...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 3, 2007; 10:04 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 10/23: Connolly, Baise on Immigration

Updated 10/23 Candidates for Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors spoke about their approach to local enforcement of federal immigration laws in a meeting yesterday with Washington Post reporters and editors . Gerald E. Connolly (D) said that he would not follow Prince Williams County's lead and try to cut off services for illegal immigrants. Gary H. Baise (R) said he would seek participation by county police in a program operated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to help them identify illegal immigrants. Read more about what the candidates said at the meeting here. Originally posted 8/24 Talk Radio host Chris Core yesterday asked his listeners to call Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Gerald E. Connolly's office to ask why Connolly didn't support the type on anti-illegal immigrant actions that neighboring Prince William County is attempting to enforce. Connolly has maintained that it is not...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 23, 2007; 09:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Foster Care Underfunded

Virginia is one of the majority of U.S. states that is not contributing enough to cover the costs of providing basic care for the foster children in its system according to a University of Maryland study. The Fairfax Extra has the news about what some are calling a "crisis."...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 18, 2007; 11:51 AM ET | Email a Comment

Volunteers (2,200 of Them) Needed For Elections

Northern Virginia's local governments are asking for volunteers to man the polls in the upcoming election on Nov. 6. Read this story in the Fairfax Extra to find how you can help....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 18, 2007; 11:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Takes Look at Services It Could Deny Illegals

At the request of Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully), Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin has ordered staff to examine the services that the county provides to determine which could, under current law, be denied to illegal immigrants. Griffin said that there are no plans to revise the county's current policies and that the examination was for informational purposes only. More on the topic in this story from today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 17, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

The Connolly Approach

This morning's Metro section offers this look at Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly and his approach to government; how he uses his office to steer policy and achieve his goals. Admirers of the Chairman have some things to say about all that, as do his critics. Feel free to share your view in the comments section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 15, 2007; 09:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Police Chiefs Worried About Cuts To Funding

According to this article from today's Metro section, local police chiefs are concerned that state spending cuts will affect public safety efforts. Fairfax County could lose up to $1.5 million....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 5, 2007; 11:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Presents Preschool Plan

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine wants to expand state-funded preschool to 17,000 more underprivileged 4-year old Virginians. Last week he presented his plan for how to accomplish that. Read about it here, in the Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 4, 2007; 02:03 PM ET | Email a Comment

New Affordable Housing Requirements Draw Fire

Newly approved requirements that 12% of units in new high-rise housing must be designated for affordable housing if the developer wants to increase density over the current zoning allowances are drawing fire from critics who say the measure goes too far, or alternately not far enough. The Board of Supervisors also increased the amount of money a family could make and still qualify for affordable housing. Read the news in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 4, 2007; 01:46 PM ET | Email a Comment

Six-Figure Salary Households Get Subsidized Housing

According to this article from yesterday's front page, ten percent of the county's subsidized housing is occupied by families who no longer would qualify for assistance if they were just now seeking it. One of the households takes in more than $216,000 a year. County officials say there are no provisions for making renters who once qualified for assistance move on or pay more once there fortunes improve....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 1, 2007; 09:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Chairman's Race Prompts Question on Position

With the race for the chairmanship of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors heating up, some voices are asking if the time has come to invest the office with real power and to make the board's Chairman an elected chief executive. The details are in this piece from Sunday's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 17, 2007; 11:09 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 9/17: Laborers Face First Days Without Herndon Center

Updated 9/17 This article from Saturday's Metro section and this one from Sunday's look at the new realities facing the workers seeking day labor jobs in Herndon now that the town's official workers' center is closed. Updated 9/13 From today's Metro section: After Herndon's hiring center for day laborers closes tomorrow, workers will begin soliciting employers for jobs on the sidewalk near Alabama Drive Park, an activist group announced yesterday. The workers are planning to hold a march at 10 a.m. tomorrow from the center to the park to draw employers' attention to the informal new job site, said Marco Amador, education and outreach coordinator for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. He said workers will begin gathering there Saturday morning. The workers also wanted "to show their disagreement with the closing of the center," Amador said. Town officials voted last week to shut down the center rather than open...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 17, 2007; 09:27 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 9/11: Supervisors Vote For Commercial Tax Increase

Updated 9/11 The Board of Supervisors yesterday voted unanimously for the tax increase, the first step to securing the new funding. The news is in today's Metro section. Originally published 8/8 The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote next month on whether to make the county the first Northern Virginia County to take advantage of a provision in the transportation agreement passed in the General Assembly in April and raise taxes on commercial property to fund transportation projects. Today's Metro section has the details....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 11, 2007; 09:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 9/10: Gun Owners' Suit Is Dismissed

From Saturday's Metro section: The Virginia Citizens Defense League's lawsuit against Fairfax County was dismissed yesterday by a judge who ruled that the plaintiff, which was seeking to hold a gun raffle, had sued the wrong defendant. County officials told the gun owners group in May that holding a raffle with guns as prizes constituted illegal gambling. The raffle was intended to raise money to assist two gun shops that New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) targeted in a lawsuit. So the league sued Fairfax in July, seeking a court's declaration that the raffle did not violate state law. Assistant Fairfax County Attorney Erin C. Ward argued that the county did not write the law and that the commonwealth's attorney, who would decide whether to enforce it, is not a county employee. Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Marcus D. Williams agreed and dismissed the case. Richard E. Gardiner, the league's...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 10, 2007; 09:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 8/16: Herndon Will Operate Day-Labor Center

Updated 8/29 Unable to find a suitable private contractor, town officials say the center will be operated by the town government. The news is here. Updated 8/16 The Herndon town council voted last night to continue the operation of the day-labor center, but not to renew Project Hope and Harmony's operating contract. Now the council will renew the heretofore unsuccessful search for a new operator who will pledge to check workers' immigration status. The story is here. Originally posted 8/15 According to this article, last night's scheduled vote by the Herndon Town Council on the fate of the town's day-labor employment center was postponed after public testimony drove the council's meeting late into the night. The vote is now set for tonight....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 29, 2007; 02:43 PM ET | Email a Comment

Universal PreSchool Debate Heats Up

Gov. Kaine's decision to scale back his promise of state funded universal preschool for Virginia's four-year-olds has educators debating the merits of the idea versus the short-term cost cutting of providing the state dollars only for the neediest children. This article from today's front page takes a look at the issue....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 22, 2007; 10:31 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisor Wants Action on Springfield Eyesore

A dilapidated restaurant building in Springfield is being held up by some county officials as an example of the commercial blight that existing ordinances leave them ill-equipped to deal with. The story is in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 16, 2007; 11:49 AM ET | Email a Comment

Electric Commuter Cars in Fairfax's Future?

Braddock District Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D) is asking transportation officials to study whether a small electric commuter car currently being developed at MIT could help solve local transportation woes. The idea is that the cars would be parked near rail transportation and borrowed and returned by commuters and tourists to get to and from other close-by destinations. Details were in yesterday's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 13, 2007; 10:25 AM ET | Email a Comment

Inmates Tackle Tall Grass Along Braddock Road

Fairfax County has been using the free labor of inmates from the county's detention center to cut the grass along Braddock Road this summer. Considering VDOT's problems keeping up with their regular maintenance recently, the idea seems to be win-win for everyone. This week's Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 10, 2007; 09:57 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Searching For Cemetery Land for Indigent

A longtime search for land in Fairfax County to bury the indigent dead continues. The Fairfax County Cemetery has been closed to new burials since 1993 and the county has been contracting with private burial grounds for most of its needs since then. There may be a solution ahead. Read the story in this week's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 10, 2007; 09:48 AM ET | Email a Comment

Housing Slump Hurts Fairfax Coffers

A potential budget shortfall of $120 million dollars has Fairfax County officials struggling to fund all of its government programs. The poor real estate market is driving down revenue to its lowest point in 15 years and accounts for most of the problem which could particularly affect county school budgets. A news story is in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 7, 2007; 09:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

Questions About Revitalization in Seven Corners

Critics are questioning the commitment of county officials who say they want to revitalize commercial districts like Seven Corners, pointing to the piecemeal approach in that neighborhood and the lack of planning as examples of that the efforts are half-hearted. The story is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 6, 2007; 10:04 AM ET | Email a Comment

Company Cleared in Firings Connected to Iraq Incident

A private Herndon-based security contractor was cleared of wrongdoing yesterday in the firings of two of its employees who had been terminated for failing to immediately report their supervisor -- they waited two days -- to the company after he shot into civilian vehicles in Iraq. Details are here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 2, 2007; 10:22 AM ET | Email a Comment

Bill on Public Safety Unions Has Local Ramifications

Virginia's prohibition on collective bargaining by public safety workers could be struck down if a bill just passed by the U.S. House of Representatives becomes law. Locally that could mean that the Fairfax County government might have to negotiate pay raises and benefits with police officers and firefighters in a way it never has before. Read the news story in today's Metro section here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | August 1, 2007; 10:45 AM ET | Email a Comment

Residents Question Plan For Affordable Apartments

Skepticism from Springfield District residents greeted officials presiding over a meeting held last week about plans to build an affordable apartment complex adjacent to the county Government Center. The planned development is intended to house primarily county workers, but residents expressed concerns that the complex could shelter homeless people or be used for federally subsidized housing. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | July 26, 2007; 10:48 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 7/26: Charity Blames Connolly, County Staff for Some of Its Many Woes

Updated 7/26 Officials with Western Fairfax Christian Ministries acknowledge they made mistakes leading to the charity's current budgetary problems -- the organization has slashed its spending and laid off three-quarters of its staff -- but say "the biggest mistake we made was in ticking off Gerry Connolly," contending that the organization's struggles were an embarrassment to government officials. The news is in today's Fairfax Extra. Originally posted 5/1 Western Fairfax Christian Ministries, a coalition of churches based in Centreville which works to prevent homelessness, may have to shutter its doors permanently unless it can find emergency funding this week. When the news was unannounced at yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting, Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) expressed anger with county staff for failing to share the information with him in a timely fashion. County officials have said that ending homelessness in the county is one of their top priorities. Today's Metro...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | July 26, 2007; 10:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 7/24/07: Builders Find Loophole On Home Height Restrictions

Updated 7/24/07 According to this article from today's Metro section. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will try to close a loophole that has allowed some builders to construct homes in excess of the county's 35-foot limitation by artificially elevating lots with extra fill dirt. Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) said that he has been receiving complaints about the practice from neighborhoods in his district. Updated 8/21/06 This article from this Saturday's Metro section describes how some builders and home buyers are trying to resolve problems with the height of their homes before they can move in. Updated 8/14 An article published in yesterday's Metro section explains how thousands of too tall homes cane to be built in the county. Updated 8/1 This Metro section story reports that the Board of Supervisors decided yesterday that buyers of new homes that are in violation of the height restrictions will have...

 

By | July 24, 2007; 10:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

Tackling Illegally Placed Trash Bins and Containers

In this file photo from 2004, a storage container called a "POD" sits on Fifer Street in the Mt. Vernon area. (Gerald Martaineau) Don't be surprised if you've got a storage container or dumpster parked on the street to come home and find it gone. The county is launching an effort to combat the illegal practice of parking such behemoths on public property, complete with a 24 hour hotline for neighbors to report violations. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | July 19, 2007; 10:36 AM ET | Email a Comment

Court Backing Asked on New Taxes for Transportation

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority is asking a judge to quickly rule on the legality of the authority's plan to impose new taxes and fees in January that would help to fund projects like a new interchange on the Fairfax County Parkway. More information is in in this article from Saturday's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | July 16, 2007; 10:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 7/16: New Wrinkles in Search for Laborer Center Operator

Updated 7/16 New developments int he search for an operator for the center mean that Reston Interfaith is likely to stay in place for a while, whether town officials like it or not. Read the news here. Originally posted 7/12 Herndon officials say that they may select one of the two applicants to run the town's day laborer employment center as early as Aug. 14. Whichever of the applicants the town chooses, it would be under instructions to check the legal immigration status of all workers that come through its doors. The story is in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | July 16, 2007; 10:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 7/12: Mandatory Paper Recycling is Here

Updated 7/12 Did you remember to put out the paper and cardboard this week? The new recycling rules are now in effect and trends in the movement are detailed in this article from the Fairfax Extra. Originally posted 6/27 From today's Metro section: Fairfax County officials announced yesterday that residents, businesses and institutions will be required to recycle cardboard, magazines, office paper, catalogs, cereal boxes, telephone books, envelopes and junk mail beginning July 10. The Board of Supervisors adopted the tougher recycling rules last year. The county's solid-waste management program handles more than 1.5 million tons of municipal solid waste and recyclables annually. It is projected to handle an additional 139,000 to 500,000 tons of waste a year by 2025....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | July 12, 2007; 01:59 PM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly's Job with Tysons Corporation Provokes Criticism

"Totally inappropriate" is how one of Gerald E. Connolly's fellow Democrats, McLean Citizen's association vice president Susan Turner, describes the Board of Supervisors chairman's work for SAIC, the area's fourth largest employer and major stake holder in decisions affecting land use and transportation issues in Tysons Corner. But Turner and other critics of Connolly's position with the company have not been able to cite any violation of the state's conflict of interest laws and the chairman says he has done everything above board, including recusing himself from votes that directly affect SAIC property. This article from yesterday's front page details Connolly's defense of his "other" job in the face of what some say is at least "a problem of appearances."...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | July 9, 2007; 10:50 AM 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

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

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 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; 03:05 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

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

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

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

County's Committment to Affordable Housing

Fairfax County government leaders have long been saying that more needs to be done to provide affordable housing here in one of the nation's wealthiest jurisdictions. To that end, the county will commit $23 million to affordable housing in fiscal 2008 and to provide over the next four years 2,200 new units of affordable housing for families earning no more than $47,250 per year. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 31, 2007; 12:43 PM ET | Email a Comment

And The Green Grass Grew All Around, All Around

Tall grass in medians and along public roadways in Fairfax County is generating many complaints to county supervisors' offices. But mowing is the responsibility of the Virginia Department of Transportation, not the county. Tall grass, un-mowed on the median strip along Braddock Road blocks a clear view of the west bound traffic wishing to turn left off Braddock Road into a subdivision. (Photo by Richard A. Lipski ) But it's an election year and being seen as responsive is important, so local leaders are adding their voices to the hue and cry. The news from the Post's Metro section is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 29, 2007; 10:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Seek End to Loopholes on Home Additions

For years say county officials, builders have been exploiting a loophole in the county code that allows them to build what are essentially new homes on existing foundations and call the projects additions, thus avoiding meeting more stringent health and safety requirements. Now the Board of Supervisors is looking to close the loophole. Read about it here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 25, 2007; 10:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Considers Restrictions On Big-Box Retailers

County government leaders, who have articulated a desire to revitalize an ever-increasingly urban Fairfax, have put restrictions on mammoth one-story stores on the table. The news is in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 18, 2007; 10:13 AM ET | Email a Comment

Judicial Nominees

Sens. Warner and Webb came up with the names, President Bush gets to pick: Read this article from the Fairfax Extra to see who has been nominated to fill a judge's seat for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 17, 2007; 03:32 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 5/17: Judge Dismisses Falls Church's Suit Over Water Service

Updated 5/17 Yesterday's federal court ruling clears the way for the Fairfax Water to sell water to county residents who have traditionally obtained water from the City of Falls Church, according to today's news from the Metro section. Originally posted 3/13 The Fairfax County Water Authority has asked for a dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the City of Falls Church over who has the rights to provide water service to county residents in some neighborhoods adjacent to the city. Read about it in this story from today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 17, 2007; 08:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Kept Quiet on Rating For Building Inspections

An independent finding last year that Fairfax County's residential building inspectors were carrying workloads beyond their capacity to adequately do their jobs was not released publicly for 11 months. A front page article on the news is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 15, 2007; 10:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

Immigration and Overcrowded Houses

This front page article in yesterday's paper on neighborhood disputes over overcrowded houses in Fairfax County has spawned a spirited discussion with people from Fairfax, the Washington region and elsewhere in the country, joining in by posting comments about the problem. Focus on Fairfax invites readers to continue the discussion here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 14, 2007; 10:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

School Bond Referendum Set for Nov. 6

A $365.2 million bond measure will be put before voters in the Nov.6 election. The Fairfax County School Board would use the money to build two new schools and renovate and expand others and to expand the county's full-day kindergarten program. The news is in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 10, 2007; 12:11 PM ET | Email a Comment

Dulles International Opens USO Lounge

A new welcome center designed for the 300,000 men and women in uniform who pass annually through Dulles International Airport is finally open. Read about it in today's Military Matters column....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 3, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

More Than 3,200 New Students Projected From Belvoir Expansion

Fairfax County Public Schools will need to prepare for an influx of 3,200 new students because of the Fort Belvoir BRAC expansion, according to estimates from the U.S. Army. Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) said he expects the U.S. Government to share the costs of new school construction and other expenses associated with the sudden increase in the number of schoolchildren. Read the tale in this Metro news article....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 3, 2007; 10:16 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Budget Set For Approval Next Week

With final approval of the next year's Fairfax County budget scheduled for next week, members of the Board of Supervisors, including Sharon S. Bulova (D-Braddock, who called the budget process "the quietest, least contentious in my 20 years in office," are marveling at the the lack of rancor the procedings engendered. The story is in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 24, 2007; 09:48 AM ET | Email a Comment

Legislative Action, Inaction: What You Should Know

With the latest General Assembly session in the rear-view mirror, this article has some things you should know about which bills passed and which bills didn't in Richmond. Elsewhere in the Fairfax Extra's government and politics coverage, check out Tim Craig's Virginia Politics column for some thoughts about how the scarlet letter in November's election might be "R."...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 12, 2007; 11:21 AM ET | Email a Comment

Tysons Traffic Unfunded for Upcoming Construction

According to this article from today's Metro section, despite two major construction projects set to begin within a year, state transportation officials have yet to set aside any cash for the management of traffic through Tysons Corner during that time....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 10, 2007; 08:42 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 4/16: More on Retiring Prosecutor

Updated 4/16 The race to see who will be elected to replace retiring Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney, Robert F. Horan is already heating up according to this article in Saturday's paper. More on Horan and his 40-year career was in yesterday's Metro section. Updated 4/10 Horan announced his retirement this morning. Originally posted 4/9 Robert F. Horan, a fixture as Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney for 40 years is considering retirement. According to this article from Saturday's Metro section, he will make his decision by next week....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 9, 2007; 10:25 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Preaches "Green;" Practice is Another Story

The Fairfax County government may find it hard to practice what it preaches with regard to newly announced plans to emphasize environmental stewardship throughout the county. Find out why in this article from today's front page....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 3, 2007; 09:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Richmond Vote on Builder Fees Set for Wednesday

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) proposal to give local governments greater powers to impose fees on developers to help offset the traffic congestion their projects create, is set to come to a vote before the General Assembly on Wednesday. Supporters of the proposal say that such a measure will be helpful, but critics in the building industry say that they will be forced to pass additional costs along to their customers. The details are in this article from yesterday's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 2, 2007; 10:40 AM ET | Email a Comment

Election Registrar Agress To Stay for More $$$

Jacquelynne C. Harris, Fairfax County's election registrar had announced she would leave, saying that long hours and stresses of her job were not worth her $93,411 annual salary. The Board of Supervisors, with two years of important elections looming, decided this would not be a good time to change horses. TThe Elections Board, with the blessing of the supervisors, offered a boost to $105,000 and Harris will stay. The Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 29, 2007; 11:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Prosecutor's Office Woes

Cecilia A. Ruiz, 30, a former administrative aide in the Fairfax County prosecutor's was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison yesterday for erasing an Annandale man's drunk-driving conviction. It's the second bit of embarrassing news for the prosecutor's office this month. Last week an assistant prosecutor was criticized for reducing charges against an accused rapist. The news is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 29, 2007; 10:20 AM ET | Email a Comment

Politics: Local Pols Debate Transportation; Other Items

Today's Fairfax Politics column focuses on what's going on behind the scenes and behind closed doors as local leaders discuss transportation issues. Read about it and tell us what you think; what more could leaders at the county and city level of government be doing to help the state fix our transportation woes?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 22, 2007; 02:47 PM ET | Email a Comment

Cities' Budget Proposal Highlights

Check out this story from the Fairfax Extra to see highlights from the recently issued budget proposals from Falls Church and the City of Fairfax....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 22, 2007; 02:42 PM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly To Outline Environmental Proposals Tonight

In his televised State of the County address at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) is set to provide details of an initiative that could put Fairfax at the forefront among U.S. counties who are providing incentives for businesses and private citizens to make environmentally-friendly choices. The details are in this front page article in today's Washington Post....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 15, 2007; 08:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

$124 Million Budget Offered for Fairfax City

From today's Metro section: Fairfax City Manager Robert Sisson has proposed a $124.3 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 that includes increases in taxes and fees. Sisson asked the City Council on Tuesday for a 3-cent increase in the city's real estate tax rate, to 74 cents per $100 of assessed value. He also proposed a doubling of the meals tax to 4 percent and a 3 percent increase in water and sewer rates. If approved by the council, the budget would increase spending by 5.1 percent over the current fiscal year. -- Bill Turque...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 15, 2007; 08:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Define, Endorse Transit-Oriented Development

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday formally approved a policy which will encourage high-density, pedestrian-friendly development within a half mile of transit stations. The news is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 13, 2007; 08:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Tysons Tunnel Pits Chamber Against Chamber

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce last week sent a letter to Gov. Kaine expressing concern about the support it's sister chamber in McLean is throwing behind the effort to get the Metrorail through Tysons Corner going underground instead of over head. At the the root of the Reston business community's concerns is the danger of higher tolls for those using the Dulles Toll Road should the pursuit of the tunnel option destroy hopes of federal funding assistance for the project. The news story is in this morning's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 12, 2007; 09:41 AM ET | Email a Comment

Veto of Red-Light Cameras Urged

From today's Metro section: The Fairfax County Privacy Council is urging Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to veto legislation that would allow communities with 10,000 or more residents to install cameras to catch drivers who run red lights. A red light camera in use at Chainbridge Rd and Lee Highway during the 2005 pilot program. (Larry Morris) The red-light camera program would replace an experiment that ended in 2005 in Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Vienna and Virginia Beach and Arlington and Fairfax counties. Safety advocates say red light cameras reduce accidents and aggressive driving, but privacy groups have raised concerns about personal liberties. In an e-mail alert sent to members and supporters yesterday, the Fairfax privacy group said red-light cameras violate the rights of drivers and contribute to rear-end collisions. -- Eric M. Weiss...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 9, 2007; 10:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

Public Appearances Rule Connolly's Schedule

This week's Fairfax politics column takes a look at a recent and fairly typical Saturday for Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, a day packed with 12 hours of public appearances....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 8, 2007; 12:54 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax By The Numbers

Today's Fairfax Extra offers a package of stories based on some numbers that impact county citizens lives, beginning with this look at the spending plan driving the $3.3 billion 2008 budget. The print edition of the Extra also has a map and graph with information about about property assessments. If your curious here is how your bill was calculated and here is information about what to do if you don't agree with it or have other questions. Finally we offer a collection of numbers that reflect things as diverse as the number of library cards issued in the county to the number of dollars collected by the county for massage therapy permits....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 8, 2007; 12:42 PM ET | Email a Comment

Baise Edges Closer to Challenging Connolly

Attorney and former Nixon Administration official Gary H. Baise is edging closer to becoming a Republican candidate in the 2007 race for chairman of the Fairfax County Board. Sources say Baise has commissioned a poll to determine what issues might provide the basis for an effective challenge to incumbent Democrat Gerald E. Connolly. Baise, a Falls Church resident, has been meeting with potential supporters and says he will make a decision most likely within the next 30 days. He declined to discuss the poll: "I wouldn't want to comment at this point." Baise is a litigator for the Washington firm Kilpatrick Stockton, where he specializes in environmental and land use issues. He held a string of top federal jobs in early 1970s, as chief of staff to the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, William D. Ruckelshaus, executive assistant to the acting director of the FBI and acting deputy...

 

By Bill Turque | March 6, 2007; 10:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

Child Care Subsidy Shortage Brings Tough Choices

More than 10,600 children are on a waiting list for child-care subsidies in Virginia. While they wait for assistance, some families are saying that they need to restructure their lives and job arrangements, and even stop working, to balance the needs of their children. Read about one such family from Reston in this article from today's front page....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 6, 2007; 10:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

Callahan Set To Retire From Va. House

After 40 years in the General Assembly, Fairfax Republican Vincent F. Callahan Jr. said yesterday, "...it is time to move on." Read the news in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 6, 2007; 10:11 AM ET | Email a Comment

Jet Noise Riles McLean Residents

Members of the McLean Citizen's Association say that noise from planes flying in and out of Reagan National Airport is getting worse and are seeking help from Rep. Frank Wolf (R) and the FAA. Read about it in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 2, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors' Financial Disclosures Show Differences

As required by law members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors file an annual Statement of Economic Interest. Today's Fairfax Extra reports on what the disclosures reveal....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 1, 2007; 10:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supes Line Up to Add Proposals to Budget

Members of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors are lining up with proposed additions to the new budget presented on Monday by County Executive Anthony H. Griffin. Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence) wants $600,000 to improve the county's ability to enforce promises made by developers to limit traffic. In exchange for approval of projects, companies often agree to offer workers parking discounts, encourage car and van pooling, and subsidize Metro or VRE fares, all in the name of what planners call "transportation demand management" (TDM). But Fairfax County has done little to enforce these agreements, which have proliferated in recent years. Smyth said there are currently 140 TDM "proffers," or promises from developers, that need monitoring. She wants $177,638 to fund two positions in the county Department of Transportation for officials to scrutinize and enforce TDM commitments. She also wants spend $250,000 a year for marketing and outreach consultants to help...

 

By Bill Turque | March 1, 2007; 10:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Governments Don't Want Responsibilities For Roads

According to the news in this morning's Metro section, local governments in Northern Virginia will likely be required to take on some responsibilities for new local roads if they are going to take full advantage of the transportation package that was passed by the General Assembly in Richmond last week....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 28, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kauffman Fumes

Since announcing last month that he would not seek re-election to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, Dana Kauffman's long-simmering frustration with County Executive Anthony H. Griffin and his staff has bubbled to the surface. The ordinarily soft-spoken Kauffman (D-Lee) was visably furious on Monday over the inclusion on the agenda of a $767,000 contract award for the renovation and expansion of the Richard Byrd Community Library in Springfield. Kauffman said he had asked county staff repeatedly in recent weeks whether the architectural and engineering contract would allow for the eventual addition of a second story, but that he got nowhere. When he saw the item on the agenda before the Feb. 26 meeting, he angrily confronted Griffin. The matter was pulled from consideration. "It's one of the reasons there will be a new Lee District supervisor here next year," Kauffman fumed during the meeting. Kauffman is exasperated with what he...

 

By Bill Turque | February 28, 2007; 10:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Home Assessments Fall--First Time in Nine Years

This front page article from this morning's Washington Post carries the news that for the first time since 1998, the average home assessment in Fairfax County has fallen. Most residents can expect slightly lower property tax bills than those they received last year. Meanwhile the county government is figuring out how to continue to fund its budget with less money....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 27, 2007; 09:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Budget Proposal is for $3.3 Billion

A budget for fiscal year 2008 of $3.3 billion , an increase of 1.34 over the fiscal year 2007 revised budget plan, was proposed to the Board of Supervisors by Anthony H. Griffin, the county executive today. Also today, the county said it began mailing assessments to property owners, and the majority of residential properties decreased or showed no change in value. The overall equalization change for residential property was .33 percent. Commercial properties showed an overall equalization increase of 13.57 percent. Assessments by area showed a range of increases from an average rise in Lorton of 2.59 percent to an average decrease in Fairfax Station of 3.05 percent. Details on the budget and on assessments will appears in tomorrow's editions of The Washington Post and in the March 8 issue of the Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 26, 2007; 12:49 PM ET | Email a Comment

North Hill Compromise to Offer Housing, Trails?

Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) said the compromise proposal to redevelop land in the North Hill section of the Route 1 corridor, as a mix of walking trails and affordable housing, would leave no one "completely happy" but would at last solve the dilemma of what to do with the 33 acre parcel which has been vacant since 1981. Read about the history of the land and the feud about what to do with it here, in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Labor Center Reports First Year Success

The Herndon Official Workers Center reports that nearly 6,000 immigrant laborers were hired for more than 10,000 jobs during the center's first year of operation prompting the director of the nonprofit that operates the center to declare it, "a very successful year." But even as the report was released, town officials were moving forward with finding a new private operator for the center. The news is in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 10:12 AM ET | Email a Comment

Cell Phone Ban for State's Teen Drivers Likely

According to this article from today's Washington Post, a ban on the use of cell phone by teenage drivers is likely to become a state law now that it has passed the Virginia House of Delegates. What do you think? If driving and using a cell phone is such a distraction, shouldn't an ban for all drivers be enacted? If not, why not? Would such a proposal have been politically dead on arrival? This ban would affect no voters, only those 17 and younger....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 09:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Red-Light Cameras In, Touch-Screen Voting Machines Out

According to this article from today's Metro section, thanks to legislation passed by the General Assembly in Richmond, it looks like photo enforcement cameras will soon be making a return to an intersection near you. And in other legislative news, touch-screen voting machines (we hardly knew ye) are going to be phased out in favor of machines, such as optical scanners, that leave paper trails marked with voters' choices....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 21, 2007; 10:19 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Expected to Sign Mount Vernon Whiskey Measure

From today's Metro section: A spokesman for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said yesterday that the governor is expected to sign into law a measure that would allow the Mount Vernon estate to sell small amounts of George Washington's own brand of rye whiskey. The estate will sell whiskey from the first president's rebuilt distillery, which is scheduled to open to the public next month. Mount Vernon historians have said that after serving two terms as president, Washington was the nation's largest producer of whiskey in 1799, producing 11,000 gallons a year in a state-of-the-art distillery. Archaeologists found the remains of the distillery in 1997, and it has been rebuilt with funding from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. The distillery will reopen next month with a museum and will serve as part of the American Whiskey Trail, which runs...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 21, 2007; 10:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

Filing Fee Is Hurdle for Young Hopeful

Adam Boltik would like to put his name on the Republican primary ballot for the Springfield District Supervisors' seat. But the College of William and Mary junior says that the $1,180 filing fee to enter the race is beyond his current means and unfair. Read the story here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 20, 2007; 10:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax's Push for Gun Limits Dies in House

From Saturday's Metro section: A bill promoted by Fairfax County to ban the carrying of guns into certain areas of police stations and other law enforcement buildings died in a state House subcommittee yesterday. Fairfax County Police Chief David M. Rohrer pushed for the bill, in part because of the shooting deaths of two officers outside the Sully police station in May. The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), passed the Senate unanimously Feb. 1. But it did not survive yesterday's hearing in a subcommittee of the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety, chaired by Del. Thomas C. Wright Jr. (R-Lunenburg). The panel's other four members also represent primarily rural areas opposed to gun restrictions. Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) expressed frustration with the bill's demise and said it reflects a lack of understanding of the challenges urban counties face with...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 20, 2007; 10:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 2/13: Man Charged in School Training Center Fire

From today's Metro section: An Annandale man has been charged with setting a fire that caused $1 million in damage to a Fairfax County school administrative building this month, after an officer reportedly saw him flee the scene and drop his cellphone. The fire occurred at the Lacey Center, 3705 Crest Dr. in Annandale, shortly after 4 a.m. Feb. 3. Court records indicate that an officer responding to a burglar alarm saw Amer Ishtiwi, 22, running from the building. A car idling nearby contained items taken from the center and was registered to Ishtiwi's father, a search warrant affidavit stated. Police obtained warrants for Ishtiwi, charging him with burglary, grand larceny, possession of burglary tools and arson, but Ishtiwi remained at large. The Lacey Center hosts instructional training for teachers and other specialized programs. A Fairfax schools spokesman said some employees were expected to return next week. Originally published 2/5...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 13, 2007; 10:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Existence is (Virtually) Futile?

Users of the Fairfax County government website got this oddly existential message from officials, who announced that it will go dark for three days for electrical upgrades: "Fairfax County information technology services will be unavailable beginning February 17 and resume on February 20. My account will be inaccessible during this time frame and any incoming E-mail will be bounced to the sender. In effect, Fairfax County will temporarily cease to exist online for this period. We apologize for the inconvenience." --Bill Turque...

 

By Bill Turque | February 13, 2007; 10:36 AM ET | Email a Comment

Webb's Name, Face, Becoming Familiar to Nation

Virginia's newly-elected junior Senator has a personality that has been described as combative and standoffish. But since he offered the Democratic response to the President's State of the Union address last month, Jim Webb's has been a popular name in newspapers and an often-seen face on television. What's driving the media's fascination with the Senator? Michael D. Shear looks at the phenomenon today in his Virginia Notebook column....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 8, 2007; 01:12 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Living Wage Law Approval Stymied?

Though other Virginia localities have enacted laws to guarantee minimum salaries for workers, Fairfax County officials say that their hands are tied from approving such measures. In this article from yesterday's Metro section, they explain their reasoning....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 5, 2007; 10:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Town Manager Leaves for Staunton

Herndon Town Manager, Stephen F. Owen, has resigned his post effective March 1 to become the city manager of Staunton, Va. Owen, who was thrust into the spotlight when he was charged with implementing the plan to operate the Herndon Official Workers Center, served under three mayors. Saturday's Metro section carried the news....

 

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

Travel Habits under Scrutiny to Combat Congestion

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is planning to survey 10,000 randomly selected area households to get a deeper look at how we organize our travel. The goal is to better determine how best to combat congestion on the region's roads. The Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 1, 2007; 03:39 PM ET | Email a Comment

A County History Museum Is Under Consideration

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has begun the process to create a panel that, in cooperation with George Mason University, explore the ins and outs of creating museum dedicated to the history of the county. Read about it in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 25, 2007; 01:44 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 1/25 $2.2 Billion Budget for Schools Detailed

This article in today's Fairfax Extra takes a closer look at the school budget; how economic changes are affecting it and some of what that $2.2 billion buys. Originally posted 1/12 Jack D. Dale described the request, which reflects about a 4 percent increase, as "conservative." Details form last nights budget meeting are in this news story from today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 25, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Chief, Attorney Get Raises

From today's Metro section: Fairfax County supervisors approved a 4.3 percent pay raise for County Executive Anthony H. Griffin yesterday, bringing his base salary from $213,960 to $223,160. The raise was part of an annual evaluation process, instituted in 2005, in which Griffin's performance is judged in various categories. Supervisors also raised the salary of County Attorney David P. Bobzien by 5 percent, from $183,680 to $192,880. Fairfax schools chief Jack D. Dale remains the county's highest-paid public official, with a base salary of $266,292. -- Bill Turque...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 23, 2007; 09:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 1/25: Kauffman Won't Seek Another Term

Updated 1/25 More on Kauffman and his decision not to run is in today's Fairfax Extra. Originally posted 1/23 From today's Metro section: Fairfax County Supervisor T. Dana Kauffman (D-Lee) announced yesterday that he would not seek a fourth four-year term. Kauffman, 50, who also served as Metro board chairman in 2005, cited a mix of reasons for giving up his seat, including family obligations, satisfaction with having met important objectives and disappointment over lack of progress on other issues. Mostly, he said, it was time to leave. "I'd rather leave with folks wondering why I'm going than leave with folks wondering why I'm here," he said. Kauffman said he has no immediate career plans but is interested in remaining in the public sector or working for a nonprofit organization. -- Bill Turque...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 23, 2007; 09:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Richmond Lawmakers Richmond Offer Transpo Plan

Republican legislators in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have drafted a multibillion-dollar transportation plan that they say could ease some of Northern Virginia's traffic problems. This story from the today's front page has the details....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 19, 2007; 09:48 AM ET | Email a Comment

A Challenge to Herndon's Anti-Solicitation Law

A Reston man facing up to six months in jail or a fine of $2,000 for hiring a day laborer in Herndon to do yard work will challenge the town's anti-solicitation law which makes it illegal to hire off the street or to search for work on public sidewalks. Read about it in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 18, 2007; 11:04 AM ET | Email a Comment

Mangement Proposals Sought on Herdon Labor Center

From today's Metro section: The Herndon Town Council has voted to solicit proposals from employment firms interested in operating the town's center for day laborers. The council, which has promised to crack down on illegal immigration, is looking for a firm that will require workers to present documentation proving that they are in the country legally. Project Hope & Harmony, which operates the Herndon Official Workers Center with Reston Interfaith, does not require extensive documentation. Opponents of the plan warned that it could drive immigrant laborers back to the town's streets to look for work. The center opened in 2005 in response to complaints about workers congregating in a 7-Eleven parking lot near downtown. "I fear that moving to a new operator who will check eligibility will come with some unexpected consequences," said council member J. Harlon Reece, the only member to vote against the proposal. Vice Mayor Dennis D....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 12, 2007; 10:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

No Snow Means Big Savings for Roadwork

It may be bad news for skiers but the lack of wintry weather could be great for VDOT's coffers. The agency budgeted $82 million for snow removal this winter which, so far, it hasn't needed to tap. Read about the how the lack of snowfall may lead to a windfall, here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 11, 2007; 02:25 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 1/10: Fairfax Abandons Plan to Relocate Shelter

Updated 1/10 The latest news is here. Updated 1/9 The plan to move the Lamb Center to a planned Merrifield location was dealt a serious blow yesterday when Fairfax County officials said that they are unlikely to grant the necessary zoning exception. The news is in this article from today's Metro section. The Fairfax City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to spend $2.6 million dollars to purchase an office building in Merrifield to be used as daytime shelter for the homeless. Some neighbors of the planned location say they will continue to stand in opposition to moving the shelter from its current site near Fairfax Circle. Here is the news story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 9, 2007; 08:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Critical of Kaine's Police Funding Proposal

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly criticized on Saturday Governor Timothy M. Kaine's proposal to boost police spending in Richmond saying it was being done at the expense of Fairfax County. Read about it here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 8, 2007; 10:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

State Lawmakers Aware of Voters' Ire Over Traffic

Virginia's state Delegates and Senators say they are acutely aware of how transportation and growth problems are fueling voter dissatisfaction in the Commonwealth and the potential political consequences they face if they fail to address the issues. The story was in yesterday's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 8, 2007; 10:49 AM ET | Email a Comment

No Development Freeze for Fairfax

This article from Saturday's Metro section looks at Fairfax County's resistance to the building moratoriums adopted by Prince William and Loudoun counties, moves seen by some Fairfax officials as election-year grandstanding....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 8, 2007; 10:33 AM ET | Email a Comment

Legislative Delegation's Hearing Is Tomorrow

From today's Metro section: Members of the General Assembly from Fairfax County will hold their annual public hearing tomorrow on the 2007 session, which begins Wednesday in Richmond. Gerald E. Connolly (D), chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, will address the delegation at the hearing at 9 a.m. at the county Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway. Members of the public may attend and give comments. Those who want to speak should call 703-324-3151, TTY 711, to sign up by noon today. Speakers also may sign up at the hearing, a news release said. -- Bill Turque...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 5, 2007; 10:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

Draft Guidelines for "Transit-Oriented Development"

It's long been a sticking point for Fairfax County leaders who say they want to encourage "transit-oriented development;" no one has been able to agree on exactly what the term means. Now a set of draft guidelines from the county Planning Commission is being offered for public comment at a hearing scheduled for 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 17 at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy. The Fairfax Extra has a news article here. So check out the guidelines Focus on Fairfax readers, and tell us, has the Planning Commission got it right?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 4, 2007; 11:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

Your Guide to--and Report from--Richmond

Today's Fairfax Extra offers this preview of the 2007 legislative session for the Virginia General Assmbly, with a special focus on issues that Nothern Virginians care the most about, including transportation. In his Virginia Notebook column, Michael D. Shear speculates that the tone in Richmond may be more civil than has been for some time. Reach your rep: The Extra also offers contact information for local representatives Senate and the House of Delegates....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 4, 2007; 10:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Employee Evaluations "Need To Be Made Simpler."

That quote is from Fairfax County Supervisor Penny Gross (D-Mason), who said that the system for determining county employees' merit raises is unwieldy. Post reporter Bill Turque looks at the issue in today's "The Working Life" column, one of the Metro section's Page Three features....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 3, 2007; 10:41 AM ET | Email a Comment

Va. House: County Supes at Fault for Transpo Probs

Republican lawmakers in the Virginia House of Delegates are laying a large part of the blame for the Commonwealth's transportation problems at the feet of county supervisors from Northern Virginia. Read about it here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 29, 2006; 10:48 AM ET | Email a Comment

Pacts to Limit Traffic Around Developments Go Unmet

This article looks at how, despite extracting agreements to provide incentives to reduce traffic around new developments, Fairfax ofiicials have been largely unsuccessful in holding developers and employers to their word....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 29, 2006; 10:42 AM ET | Email a Comment

Firetrucks are Red, Station is Green

Today's Fairfax Extra takes us inside Fairfax County Fire Station 40, the county government's first building designed and built to be especially energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 21, 2006; 12:22 PM ET | Email a Comment

Airports Authority Control of Toll Road, Metrorail Extension

According to articles published today in the Metro section and in the Fairfax Extra, The Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority will be given control over the Dulles Toll road, as well as the planned Metrorail expansion to Dulles International Airport,sometime next week. This comes as some residents and businesses are still fighting for design changes to the plan....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 21, 2006; 11:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 12/18: English-Only Proposal Tabled in Herndon

Updated 12/18 Mayor Stephen J. DeBenedittis said he is satisfied that the number of official documents that the town translates into Spanish is not unreasonable. Originally posted 12/4 Herndon town council member William B. Tirrell Sr. has proposed that the town's government print all official documents only in English, saying that the move would encourage Hispanic immigrants to learn the language. Read about it here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 18, 2006; 10:52 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Staff Against Joining Environmental Agreement

Saying that more study is needed to find a realistic goal to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, Fairfax County officials are recommending against participating in an environmental pact that more than 300 U.S. cities have already agreed to. Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin explains why in this article from today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 12, 2006; 10:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly's Ambitions Influence Board's Tone?

According to sources quoted in this article from yesterday's Metro section, Fairfax County Board of Supervisor's Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) is working to ensure that nothing the county government does rocks the boat so hard as to upset his possible plans to run for higher political office. What do Focus on Fairfax readers think? Is the Chairman's influence on the board a positive one? Do you think his ambitions are having any impact on how the Board of Supervisors is governing?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 11, 2006; 10:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Legislation to Rename Post Office For Fallen Fairfax Soldiers Passes

From today's Metro section: Legislation to rename a post office in Vienna for two local soldiers killed in Iraq was approved Wednesday by the U.S. Senate. House Resolution 6102, which would rename the post office at 200 Lawyers Rd. for Army Capt. Christopher Petty, a graduate of James Madison High in Vienna, and Maj. William F. Hecker III, who graduated from McLean High, goes to President Bush for his signature, according to a spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.). Petty, 33; Hecker, 37; and three other soldiers were killed Jan. 5 when a roadside blast hit their Humvee as they traveled from Baghdad to Najaf to check the progress on rehabilitating schools, the spokesman said in a news release....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 8, 2006; 09:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

McConnell Considers Stepping Down

Elaine N. McConnell (R- Springfield), a fixture of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for 23 years, says in today's Fairfax Politics column that next year may be the year to consider retiring from the board....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 7, 2006; 11:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

Churches, County Offer Beds To The Homeless

This article from today's Fairfax Extra explains what the county, in cooperation with local churches, is doing this winter to offer shelter to homeless people in our community. Meanwhile in Fairfax City, officials are planning to buy an office building outside the city limits to replace its shelter on Old Lee Highway. That news is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 7, 2006; 11:21 AM ET | Email a Comment

More Foreign Firms Moving to Fairfax

More and more, foreign companies are creating headquarters for their U.S. operations in Fairfax County. This Fairfax Extra article has the latest on the work of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and its work to encourage economic growth through foreign investment....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 7, 2006; 11:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Restricted Development in the Area? Your Thoughts?

Officials in neighboring Prince William, Loudoun and Montgomery counties all moved yesterday to put strict controls on new growth in their jurisdictions. The Post's front page story is here. Focus on Fairfax readers usually have something to say when it comes to growth and development issues, so tell us, how do you think this will affect Fairfax? Are the measures our neighbors have adopted something we could or should consider?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 6, 2006; 10:26 AM ET | Email a Comment

Performing Artists in Metro Stations' Future?

According to this story, Metro's board of directors are considering a proposal to allow local arts councils to select and pay performing artists to offer entertainment outside Metro station entrances between April and October each year. What do Focus on Fairfax readers think? Is this a good idea?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 5, 2006; 10:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Dunn Loring Station to get Apartments, Commercial

Up to 720 apartments and stores are expected to rise on a 15-acre parking lot adjacent to the Dunn Loring Metro station under a plan unanimously approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday. Read about it here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 5, 2006; 10:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Officials Urge Higher VRE Fares

Virginia Railway Express faces nearly $8 million in budget deficit and local officials see a fare increase as part of a solution. The story is in today's Metro section...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 5, 2006; 10:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Is Lending $5 Million for Affordable Housing Complex

From today's Metro section: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to lend $5 million to a real estate partnership that will buy and rehabilitate a 90-unit apartment complex in Falls Church for use as affordable housing. The complex, the Sunset Park Apartments on Seminary Road, has apartments that will cost from $770 to $1,300 a month. The loan comes from a special fund the county has set aside with the goal of preserving 1,000 units of housing for low- and moderate-income residents. By Dec. 31, the county is expected to exceed that target by preserving 1,358 units. -- Bill Turque...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 5, 2006; 10:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 12/5: Supervisors Approve End to Irregularly-Shaped Lots For Homes?

Updated 12/5 From today's Metro section: Supervisors Approve Rules on Lot Shapes The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously approved rules to keep property owners and developers from using highly contorted lot lines to carve out as many homes as possible in infill subdivisions. As builders seek to squeeze more homes into already developed areas of the county, officials say they are hearing complaints that highly creative lot shapes designed to meet county rules for septic systems and road frontage are causing confusion among residents and making it difficult for them to maximize use of their property. In some neighborhoods, an area that one might assume to be the back yard of one house is actually the septic area of another house, or what looks like the front yard of one house is actually a strip running from another home to provide required road frontage. Under the new rules,...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 5, 2006; 10:04 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fort Belvoir Commander on BRAC challenges

Col. Brian W. Lauritzen, the installation commander at Fort Belvoir takes charge of this week's Voices of Fairfax guest column and, using another challenge, offers his thoughts on the ones presented by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission's recommendations for the post....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 30, 2006; 01:22 PM ET | Email a Comment

A Better Way to Evaluate Mentally Ill?

In response to a shortage of independent mental health professionals in Fairfax County, the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards is pushing for a law that would decrease the complexity of the legal proceedings by which mentally ill people can be involuntarily hospitalized. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 30, 2006; 12:45 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Employees Suspected of Fuel Thefts

Widespread abuse of fuel pumps used to fill tanks of county vehicles may have been going on for years, according to an internal audit by the county. The Metro section article is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 30, 2006; 10:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 12/1: County Relents On Churches' Food Service To Homeless

Updated 12/1 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly (D) blamed overzealous county employees for the policy to restrict church charitable food service to the homeless when he announced yesterday that county government would not interfere with the work. The news is here. Originally posted 11/29 Unless they are prepared in kitchens that meet the same tough health code requirements for restaurants, meals provided by church homeless shelters are forbidden, say county officials. A front page article from today's Washington Post is here. What's your opinion? Some community leaders say that to most homeless people, the chance for a hot, home-cooked meal would outweigh any consideration of the slight chance of contracting a food-borne illness. Should the county be getting into this? UPDATE: This afternoon the county released the following statement in response to the Washington Post's front page story. Fairfax County Response to Misinformation About Feeding the Homeless...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 29, 2006; 10:36 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine in Fairfax to Kick Off Transportation Fund Rally

Gov. Tim Kaine is renewing his effort to get money for transportation fixes and growth controls when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. Yesterday he spent the day touring Northern Virginia to promote his plan. The details are here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 28, 2006; 10:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Rescues Day-Care Program

Gov. Tim Kaine came to Fairfax County yesterday with enough money (3.7 million) left over from state social programs to make up a shortfall of federal dollars that were needed to keep a day-care program for low income families operating. The story is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 10, 2006; 11:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

How Did Your Precinct Vote?

This morning's Washington Post provides this overview of yesterday's election results and this analysis of the trend in the Washington suburbs. For specific information about how your precinct voted, check out this page of unofficial numbers as provided by the county....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 8, 2006; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax, Other Area Counties Tire of Waiting for Road Funds

Fairfax County isn't alone in deciding that we might all grow old waiting for long-promised state funds for transportation projects. The solution: Pay for it locally, even if that means going into debt. The story is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 7, 2006; 02:53 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 11/6: Aggressive Lobbying Underway for Mentally Disabled

Updated 11/6 This article from today's paper illustrates the severity of the shortage of care for the mentally ill in our community. Originally posted 10/19 Advocates for those with mental disbilites are making push for Richmond lawmakers to step up and help with more money for locally-administered programs. The story is in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 6, 2006; 08:15 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Wants Trucks Banned From 193

Citing safety concerns on a winding eight-mile stretch of Route 193 through Great Falls, the county Board of Supervisors is asking VDOT to ban heavy trucks fro using the road. The Post's article is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 3, 2006; 10:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Your Fairfax Voters Guide

Today's Fairfax Extra offers a comprehensive look at the candidates, questions and issues that face voters in Tuesday's elections. Be sure to check the articles on the Virginia Senate race, the Congressional contests (8th District, 10th District, 11th District) and Fairfax County's bond referenda....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 2, 2006; 11:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Grosvenor Voters' Station Moved

From today's Metro section: Voters in Fairfax County's Grosvenor precinct will switch polling places for Tuesday's election. Renovations at the usual location, Riverside Park Apartments, mean that voters will have to visit the Huntington Community Center, 5751 Liberty Dr. in the Alexandria section. The Board of Elections has notified by mail registered voters affected by the temporary change. For more information about the change and other polling locations, call 703-222-0776 or visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb. -- Lisa Rein...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 2, 2006; 08:49 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Officials Voice Concern Over Electronic Balloting

This article from this morning's Metro section describes the concern that some elected officials have about the integrity of computerized voting systems. They say they would like to see Virginia enact a law that would require printed verification after electronic ballots were cast....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 26, 2006; 08:04 AM ET | Email a Comment

FBI Relocates Tysons Offices to Prince William

Citing cheaper land and a more secure location as reasons for the move, FBI officials said they should have their new Prince William headquarters ready in about 13 months. Read about it here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 25, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Denounces Virginia Speaker For Comments

This article from this morning's Metro section reports that Fairfax County Board of Supervisor's Chairman Gerald E. Connolly yesterday denounced Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell for suggesting that Fairfax was wealthy enough to pay its own way for daycare programs for the working poor without help from the state....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 24, 2006; 09:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

Metrorail to Dulles Pushed Back a Year

A story in today's Metro section reports that officials with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation have decided to delay the start of construction of the rail line through Tysons corner until late next year or possibly early in 2008. The project manager cited a five month study of the tunnel option for the rail line as one reason for the delay....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 19, 2006; 10:51 AM ET | Email a Comment

Va. Chief Justice Starts Mental Health Care Reform Effort

Leroy R. Hassell Sr., the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia said he wants to reform the policies that govern how the state cares for its mentally ill citizens. The story is in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 11, 2006; 10:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax City's New Police Headquarters, City Hall

Scheduled to open in December, the new police department headquarters and the addition to City Hall are the next projects headed for completion as the city continues with its 21st century makeover. The Fairfax Extra has all of the details and reporter Tom Jackman's audio/visual report is online here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 6, 2006; 03:36 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Urges Voters To Remember Absentee Option

Election officials are urging citizens who may not be able to make it to the polls on Nov. 7 to remember that they can vote via absentee ballots....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 4, 2006; 09:25 AM ET | Email a Comment

Bond Referendums on Ballot For Nov. 7

By now most Fairfax County households will have received a brochure from the Board of Supervisors explaining the upcoming bond referendums to fund public safety renovations and expansions and parks and recreation facilities development. The mailing explains the basic arguments for and against issuing bonds to pay for these types of expenses, but there is certainly more to both the pros and cons of borrowing the money. What's your take?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 28, 2006; 10:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

Update 9/28: Democrats and Senate Leaders Critical of GOP Transportation Plan

Updated 9/28 An article in today's Metro details the arguments for and the $2.4 million dollar proposal which its critics say would divert necessary funds from schools, public safety and human services. Updated 9/27 According to this article, the plan was shot down by the House of Delegates Finance Committee. Originally posted 9/18 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly (D) said on Friday, "Local government is mad as a hornet" about the lack of funds in the state's spending bill to fix Northern Virginia's transportation problems. But according to this article, given the lack of state funds, there is little consensus on how to get the needed money for fixes....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 27, 2006; 09:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supes Want Competitive Bidding for Dulles Rail

Saying that the current contractors have stripped crucial features from the plan but kept excessive profits in it, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday asked the state to consider competitive bidding for the construction of a Metrorail extension through Tysons Corner. The Posts' story is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 26, 2006; 10:20 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Tackle County Car Use, Roof Heights

Updated 9/26 The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday demanded that employees caught running up miles on their vehicles be disciplined. Also, the board voted to allow homeowners to occupy new homes that are in violation of the height restrictions so long as the roof was in place by July 1. Coverage of yesterday's supervisor's meeting is here. Originally posted 9/25 Faced with the possibility of losing their government-issued vehicles because they hadn't driven their cars a minimum of miles set in new cost-cutting measures, this Post story reveals that some county employees took to creative ways to up the numbers on their odometers rather than turn in their underused cars. The cars and maintenance are taxpayer-supported. What do you think of this?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 25, 2006; 12:30 PM ET | Email a Comment

Nearly 700 Fairfax Deaths Possible in Worst-Case Flu Scenario

Fairfax County's government is the first in the local area to issue a comprehensive report on preparations for a pandemic flu outbreak. The Washington Post story is here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 18, 2006; 10:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Needs Volunteers for Advisory Groups

According to the cover story in this week's Fairfax Extra, officials are having a hard time finding volunteers to fill vacancies on some of the county government's key boards, authorities and commissions....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 14, 2006; 11:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Performance Center Sought by Supervisors

An arts center was planned for the government center complex when it was conceived, but cost overruns brought the axe. Now the Board of Supervisors has allocated $150,000 to study how to build it on the grassy 50 acres behind the main government center building. Metro section coverge is here. What do you think about such a center?...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 13, 2006; 11:31 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 9/12: Day Care Cuts May Be Solved

Updated 9/12 According to this article from this morning's Metro section, the county will not be dropping children from its subsidized child-care rolls, but it also will not offer its own money to keep the program going. The Board of Supervisor's is insisting that the state continue to back the program. Updated 8/28 Elizabeth Page, the executive director of the Falls Church-McLean Children's Center, wrote about this issue in an opinion column in yesterday's Washington Post. Originally posted 7/11 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) yesterday criticized Virginia's Republican-controlled General Assembly for their refusal to pass a budget that would provide funding for day care for about 1,900 low-income children in the county. The story is in today's Metro section....

 

By | September 12, 2006; 10:38 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Governments' Remembrances of Sept. 11

As the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon draws near, officals in Northern Virginia plan subdued commerations. Read about the plans here....

 

By | August 31, 2006; 11:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Close to Tunnel, Role in Land Use Decisions

According to this article from yesterday, Governor Timothy M. Kaine (D) is close to coming out in favor of the proposed rail tunnel through Tysons Corner. In a separate article, Kaine is promising that local land-use decisions will be coming under greater scrutiny....

 

By | August 28, 2006; 11:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Bigger Questions on Tysons Redevelopment/Rail

With all of the the discussion about the specifics of extending Metrorail through Tysons Corner and redeveloping the area into a walkable downtown for Fairfax County, are some bigger questions getting overlooked? Is the plan to remake Tysons feasible? Is it even desirable? This article from yesterday's Metro section takes a closer look at the big questions local officials face as decision time on what to do draws near....

 

By | August 21, 2006; 10:13 AM ET | Email a Comment

Child Care for Some Low Income Families in Jeopardy

In this week's Fairfax Extra this article reports that Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin says money from nearly $20 million in unallocated county funds should not be used to cover a gap in the state funding of child-care programs for low-income families. Griffin reasons that the money will be needed as a buffer for the coming year as revenue growth slows. What do you think? Is this a worthy cause for some of the county's unspent cash?...

 

By | August 10, 2006; 11:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

FEMA to Fairfax: Help Your Own

Fairfax County officials are outraged at a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny financial assistance to Northern Virginia homeowners for losses in the June floods. FEMA officials reasoned that local governments represent an affluent population and should provide relief. The Metro section article is here. What's your take? So, who's right here? Should FEMA just provide help to the less fortunate?...

 

By | August 2, 2006; 10:39 AM ET | Email a Comment

The Buzz on Fairfax County's Mosquito Expert

Entomologist Jorge Arias of the Fairfax County Health Department makes controlling the tiny bloodsuckers his mission. Read about Arias and his work to keep your backyards free of the bugs here....

 

By | August 2, 2006; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Revenue Slowdown Limits Budget Increases

From today's Metro section: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has announced limited spending increases for next fiscal year, prompted by flatter property tax revenue as the housing market cools. County spending will rise no more than 3 percent, and the public school system -- which accounts for more than half the budget -- will receive a maximum of 4 percent more from the county, the board said yesterday. In previous years, the schools have received annual increases of up to 9 percent. The flattening housing market comes after six years of double-digit property assessment increases in Fairfax and other communities in the region. Fairfax home values soared by an average of 20.5 percent last year, but county officials expect increases of 1 to 3 percent in the coming budget year. -- Lisa Rein...

 

By | August 2, 2006; 10:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax, Others, Misspent Homeland Security Funds

According the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general, Virginia has been haphazard in its distribution of homeland security grants to local governments and some of them, including Fairfax County's, misused the money . The story is here....

 

By | July 31, 2006; 10:20 AM ET | Email a Comment

8/3 UPDATE: Army Ft. Belvoir Plan Draws Critics

Updated 8/3 From today's Metro section: Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) will hold a hearing this month to question the Army about its plans for transferring 22,000 employees to Fort Belvoir, a member of his staff told Army leaders yesterday. "He has a lot of concerns," Davis aide Bill Womack said. "There are too many moving parts to not take a closer look at this." Womack's comments came at a meeting at the post of an advisory board formed by the post commander to gather comments on the Army's plans. The Army announced last week that it is planning to cluster most of the relocated employees at the Engineer Proving Ground, a mostly vacant site a couple of miles northwest of the main post. The plans have come under criticism from state and local officials who were hoping the Army would disperse the new workers more, on the main...

 

By | July 28, 2006; 10:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

8/2 UPDATE: House Committee Issues Davis a Warning

Updated 8/2 From today's Metro section: Democrat Andrew Hurst, who is challenging Rep. Thomas M. Davis III in November, called on the six-term Republican yesterday to step down as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. Hurst denounced Davis at a news conference in front of the Tysons Corner office of ICG Government, a consulting firm led by a close friend of the congressman's. An article in The Washington Post last week detailed the relationship between Davis and technology executive Donald W. Upson, who advises clients on how to win government contracts that come under the oversight of Davis's committee. Davis's wife, state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax), works for Upson. "It is clear that access to the Government Reform Committee and the 11th District congressional seat is for sale," said Hurst, a lawyer from Springfield. Davis, in a statement released by his campaign, accused Hurst of "taking the low...

 

By | July 28, 2006; 09:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church City Manager McKeever Dies

Daniel E. McKeever, 57, the city manager of Falls Church, died on Tuesday from complications of melanoma. His obituary is here. The city has named assistant city manager and former Scottsville Va., town administrator Wyatt Shields to fill McKeever's position as acting city manager....

 

By | July 27, 2006; 10:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

Studies Warned of Huntington Floods; Urged Protection

Cranes and garbage trucks pick up trash taken from a house as residents and volunteers work to clean in Huntington after flood waters ravaged the neighborhood in June. (Mark Gong) Studies conducted in 1977 and 1982 both concluded that flood protection measures were appropriate for the Huntington neighborhood that suffered $10 million in damages during the heavy rains last month. But studies were ignored and no action was taken. The story is in today's Metro section....

 

By | July 24, 2006; 10:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

No Showers, Laundry Allowed at Homeless Shelter?

The Lamb Center, a homeless shelter in Fairfax City operated by Truro Episcopal Church, is in violation of zoning laws because the center has been providing showers and laundry facilities for about 50 people each morning. Read about it in today's Metro section. In comments responding to the story, washingtonpost.com readers criticize the city for ordering an end to showers and washing machines. One reader, midnight102699, wrote, "I think these Fairfax City Officials need to leave this church alone. They are doing a service to the community by providing a meal, a shower, and a place for a homeless person to wash their clothes. What is wrong with that? These are acts of kindness, but that will also build the homeless persons self esteem and give them the want to to go get a job and maybe eventually have the money to pay rent." What do you think?...

 

By | July 21, 2006; 09:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Wants To Boost Recycling Efforts

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted new rules aimed at prodding businesses, renters and homeowners to take a wider view of recycling efforts and convert more solid waste into recycled material. The Fairfax Extra story is here....

 

By | July 20, 2006; 11:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

McLean Bible Church Sues County

Updated 7/18 A story in today's Metro section reports that the church is suing the county to continue the classes. Originally posted 4/18 At issue is whether the 10,000 member church allows a Maryland seminary to conduct divinity classes. Zoning laws do not permit the church to be used as a college. The Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By | July 18, 2006; 01:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

New Rules Allow Approval of Some Variances

New rules approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will allow some homeowners to begin long-planned renovations put on hold two years ago by a ruling of the Virginia Supreme Court. The story is here....

 

By | July 17, 2006; 10:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

Flu Pandemic Funds: Largely to Local Awareness

Northern Virginia jurisdictions last month began receiving federal dollars aimed at preparing for a potential influenza outbreak. According to this article from the Fairfax Extra, most of the money is going to public education programs....

 

By | July 13, 2006; 10:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

West Nile Virus Shows Up in County

A mosquito pool in the county has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first such positive test in Virginia this year, county health officials said yesterday. So far this year, health department workers have tested more than 31,000 mosquitos looking for West Nile and similar viruses, and treated more than 30,000 storm drains, which can become breeding areas, with lavicide that inhibits breeding. More treatments are scheduled throughout the mosquito season, which usually runs from May to October. Meanwhile, the Health Department recommends that residents take measures to reduce exposure to mosquitos. These include using insect repellants containing the active ingrediate DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon or eucalyptus when outdoors, turning over or removing yard containers and other recepticles of standing water. For more information on West Nile virus, residents may visit Fairfax County's "Fight the Bite" Web page at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fightthebite or call the Health Department at...

 

By | July 3, 2006; 11:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Unfinished Amenities: A Developing Story

As a follow up to Sunday's story about developers in Fairfax leaving more than 120 projects unfinished, yesterday the Fairfax County Board called for closer oversight of development projects. Today's Metro section reports that the county has spent $1.1 million over the past five years to complete work developers have left incomplete. Projects have included unfinished roads, inadequate storm-water retention ponds, missing walking and biking trails and incomplete landscaping at condos, residential neighborhoods and office projects....

 

By | June 26, 2006; 12:20 PM ET | Email a Comment

Hyland Helped Developer With Tax Break

Have you followed the easement issue? What do you think? Focus on Fairfax posted this item about a court case in which a developer's conservation easement was declared invalid. Sunday's Metro section reports that Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mt. Vernon) aided the developer in seeking federal tax write-offs that went with the easement....

 

By | June 19, 2006; 10:41 AM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Adds Complaint on Homeland Security Cuts

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman said he suspected that the recent decision to give Washington-area jurisdictions less money to combat terrorism was guided by political considerations rather than by genuine risk-assessments. The Metro section artilce is here....

 

By | June 15, 2006; 11:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Governments Prepare For Shutdown, If....

Virginia leaders say a state budget deal is near, but local governments are not taking chances, preparing for a government shutdown should funds run out....

 

By | June 13, 2006; 10:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

Officials Unlikely to Use Growth Control Measures

Some Northern Virginia officials say that they are unlikely to make us of a few new tools state legislators have provided for slowing development. Read what they have to say in this Fairfax Extra article....

 

By | June 8, 2006; 11:25 AM ET | Email a Comment

Courthouse Expansion Completion Set for Spring

Two months behind schedule, the $115.7 million dollar expansion of the county's main courthouse is schedule to be completed in the spring of next year. A Fairfax Extra story on the project is here....

 

By | June 8, 2006; 10:38 AM ET | Email a Comment

$150 Million Bond Referendum Set For November

What do you think of this? The county Board of Supervisors will put this question to the voters on the Nov. 7 election ballot: Should the county sell $150 million dollars in bonds to pay for renovations and more security for police and fire stations, to expand the county animal shelter and to add synthetic turf to athletic fields? Metro section coverage of the board action is here.. There are a couple of questions here and plenty of room for observations....

 

By | June 6, 2006; 10:14 AM ET | Email a Comment

Conservation Easement Tax Break Nixed by Court

In 1999 a real estate company promised not to overly develop land the company owned near George Washington's Historic Mount Vernon estate. In return for the conservation easement the company claimed hundreds of thousand of dollars in tax deductions. Last month the U.S. Tax Court ruled that the land, on which the company had erected 29 large houses, was not eligible for the deduction because the easement "did not protect open space or a historically important land area." A front page Washington Post story from yesterday is here. This is the first time that a court had thrown out such a deduction and the decision is seen as an important one in light of the increasing popularity of conservation easements which are favored by historic and environmental preservation groups and seen by many investors as an attractive way to ease their tax burdens....

 

By | June 5, 2006; 12:17 PM ET | Email a Comment

Safety Reviewed at Police, Fire, Sheriff's Buildings

When Michael W. Kennedy staged the ambush at the Sully district police station that killed two police officers last month, he was able to drive directly into the station's back parking lot; a gate that should have prevented him driving into the lot was not working. Now county officials are asking a committee to examine the policies and procedures for security buildings that house public safety operations. The story was in yesterday's Metro section....

 

By | June 5, 2006; 11:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Identifies Land For Affordable Housing

Officials have identified 18 areas of county owned land suitable for building affordable housing for middle class workers that have been shut out of the expensive housing market. Read the story here....

 

By | June 2, 2006; 09:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Forms Committee on Aging

According to this Fairfax Extra article a new committee formed by the county Board of Supervisors is examining the ways that the government may be able to help with the problems that are likely to come as a higher percentage of citizens begin to reach retirement age....

 

By | June 1, 2006; 11:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

Absentee Voting Open Through June 10

From today's Metro section: Fairfax County registered voters can cast ballots for the June 13 Democratic and Republican primaries at the county Government Center through June 10, election officials said yesterday. The county Office of the General Registrar said it would offer in-person absentee voting in Suite 323 of the Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy. Residents may vote from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the next two Saturdays, June 3 and 10. Because the county fair, called Celebrate Fairfax!, will be June 9-10 on the Government Center grounds, county officials and the Office of the General Registrar said, they have made special arrangements to accommodate voters on those dates. On June 13, voters in the 8th, 10th and 11th congressional districts will help choose a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. In addition, voters in the 11th District will select a Democratic...

 

By | June 1, 2006; 10:57 AM ET | Email a Comment

Coming to Vienna, an Old-Fashioned Town Green

The project upends traditional ideas about how communities develop, according to this Fairfax Extra article. Instead of the town growing up around a central gathering place for its citizens, this green will be carved from reclaimed commercial property....

 

By | May 25, 2006; 11:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Mayor-Elect Faces Tough Issues

According to a story in today's Metro section Steve J. DeBenedittis, the mayor-elect of Herndon and a political novice, is likely to find his term defined by the contentious immigration issues that set the stage for the sweeping changes in the town's leadership that came out of the recent election results....

 

By | May 24, 2006; 09:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Tunnel Under Tysons a Danger to Federal Funds?

Updated 5/16 According to this story in this morning's Metro section, a decision regarding the tunnel will be postponed for 60 days while a panel of engineers study the various proposals in order to advise Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce R. Homer on a course of action. Originally posted 5/8 According to this article in this morning's Washington Post, federal rules that depend on a favorable analysis of a project's cost-effectiveness could result in loss of almost a billion dollars in funding for a Metro extension to Dulles International Airport if a tunnel is included and adds too much to the cost....

 

By | May 16, 2006; 12:27 PM ET | Email a Comment

Same-Sex Marriage Ban Fought

From today's Metro section: Gay rights activists in Fairfax County last night officially began the local effort to defeat a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Voters will cast ballots on the amendment Nov. 7. Representatives from Equality Fairfax organized more than 100 volunteers to walk neighborhoods, work county fairs and organize civic groups in coming months to try to defeat the amendment. Opponents say the amendment is written so broadly that certain contracts between unwed heterosexual couples would be nullified. Proponents disagree. -- Chris L. Jenkins...

 

By | May 16, 2006; 11:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Ask Congress to Limit Assault Weapons

From today's Metro section: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, citing the May 8 shooting death of Detective Vicky O. Armel, called yesterday on Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons it allowed to expire in 2004....

 

By | May 16, 2006; 11:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church Election Brings New Faces to Council, School Board

Three new faces were elected to each the Falls Church City Council and the city's school board yesterday. Election results are here....

 

By | May 3, 2006; 10:25 AM ET | Email a Comment

Incumbents Prevail in Vienna and Fairfax City As Growth Issues Dominate Regional Election Results

Read about the results in this article from this morning's Metro section. A look at the results in Fairfax City is here....

 

By | May 3, 2006; 10:11 AM ET | Email a Comment

Herndon Voters Select New Mayor, Unseat Day Laborer Center Supporters

Updated 5/4 According to a story in this morning's Metro section, anti-immigration groups are saying the that the results of the election should send message to politicians elsewhere, while immigration rights groups are downplaying the significance of the Herndon election's larger implications. Originally posted 5/3 Washington Post coverage of the Herndon election results are here....

 

By | May 3, 2006; 10:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

Expenses, Supply Flow Delay Some County Building

County governments, including Fairfax's, in the Washington region are facing cost escalations that have them delaying or scaling back many building projects. Read about it in this front page article....

 

By | April 28, 2006; 10:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

School Land Goes to County in Deal

According to a Metro section article from this morning's paper the Fairfax County School Board has voted to accept a 150 million increase in bond funding from the county for construction and maintenance projects in return for a dozen unneeded school properties. The properties will include administrative buildings and land currently being used as parks....

 

By | April 28, 2006; 10:27 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax: The 2006 Guide

An Introduction To The Guide Trying to make sense of Fairfax? Join our club. To help newcomers learn and old-timers discover new possibilities, here's The Guide for 2006. We know how easy it is to get confused here, because there are about a million people -- more people than seven states have -- and trying to make sense of the governing machinery can be tricky. The local governments include those of the county and two cities, the City of Fairfax and the City of Falls Church, each with its own idiosyncrasies and treasures. What you'll find in these pages is our attempt to lead you to old favorites you had not thought of for a while or to what might become favorites. There's golfing and fishing and biking and walking, just to name a few leisure pursuits. If you have students in the family, there's a place within the county...

 

By | April 28, 2006; 09:51 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church Budget Boosts School Spending

From today's Metro section: The Falls Church City Council unanimously adopted its budget Monday night for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The $67 million 2007 budget increases operating expenses by 3.4 percent over current spending and raises funding going to city schools by 10.5 percent. The budget also includes a 2-cent reduction in the real estate tax, dropping the rate from $1.03 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.01. The budget funds a 4.1 percent cost-of-living raise for public school employees and adjusts salary scales to remain competitive in the region, city officials said. The city will also hire an affordable housing specialist....

 

By | April 26, 2006; 09:52 AM ET | Email a Comment

Virginia Takes Tougher Sex Crime Stance

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) yesterday signed bills tol increase mandatory minimum sentences for sex crimes, making the sentence no less than 25 years for anyone convicted of crimes against children younger than 13. It will broaden the state's monitoring powers of registered sex offenders....

 

By | April 25, 2006; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Spending Plan Approved, Tax Rate Cut

Updated 4/25 Here is the link to today's story on the vote: Salary Talks Dominate Fairfax Planning for 2007 Originally posted 4/24 The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a spending plan that includes one of the lowest property tax rates in the modern history of the county. Vote was 9-1. Even so, the cut will not be enough to offset the increases in assessed values that will have most homeowners paying more in tax again this year. An article from Saturday's paper outlined the plan the Supervisors approved....

 

By | April 24, 2006; 11:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Meeting Tonight to Address Flu Preparedness

Updated 4/20 Flu Plan to Be Ready by Summer Fairfax County officials said at a meeting last night that the county's response plan for possible pandemic flu should be ready by this summer as a supplement to the county emergency plan. They spoke to about 200 people at a town hall session called to hear about preparedness for a possible outbreak. Officials said they were putting together a plan that will address public health, vital infrastructure and resource management. -- Leef Smith Originally posted 4/19 From today's Metro section: Fairfax County officials will host a public meeting tonight to discuss pandemic flu and the development of the county's readiness plan. The meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the board auditorium of the Government Center at 12000 Government Center Pkwy., will feature a panel of experts, including Fairfax Health Director Gloria Addo-Ayensu and Virginia Department of Health veterinary epidemiologist Julia Murphy....

 

By | April 18, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Input on Dulles Toll Road

Governor Timothy M. Kaine (D) announced an advisory committee to offer recommendations to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on oversight of the Dulles Toll Road. The committee would include representatives from Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Read about it here....

 

By | April 10, 2006; 10:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

ACLU Wants to Stop DOD Funding Jamboree

Since 1981 the U.S. military  base at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia has hosted the quadrennial National Boy Scout Jamboree. Now the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the federal government, arguing that the Defense Department's support of the jamboree violates the principle of church-state separation because the Boy scouts of America requires members to profess religious beliefs. The Metro section article is here....

 

By | April 6, 2006; 11:09 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Chamber Proposes Full-Time Board of Supervisors

The chamber of commerce's proposal opens a debate about which would serve the citizens of Fairfax better--a full time Board of Supervisors whose members would not hold outside jobs or the current model....

 

By | April 5, 2006; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

A 'Living Wage' for Fairfax?

Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) has introduced a proposal for a  living-wage ordinance. The ordinance  would require county government and private companies that do business with it to pay more than the federal minimum wage. Full-time minimum wage workers earn less than $11,000 a year....

 

By | April 4, 2006; 10:45 AM ET | Email a Comment

Reston Referendum May Miss Quorum

The outlook for Reston Association's four-year effort to revise the community's governing documents for the first time in 22 years is increasingly dim, say association officials. The 60-day voting period on the revisions was scheduled to end today and the number of ballots turned in is still short of the 40% of Reston homeowners required to make it valid....

 

By | March 31, 2006; 11:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Moran Proposes Admission Fee For Smithsonian

Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) has proposed charging a $1 admission fee to the museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution to help offset the cost of much-needed repairs. Is giving up the Smithsonian's official free-to-all status worth it?...

 

By | March 30, 2006; 10:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

MetroWest Is a Go

Updated 3/29According to an article from this morning's Metro section, construction on MetroWest will begin next spring with transportation improvements. Under Pulte's planned timeline, the first homes would go on sale in 2009 and the project is scheduled to be finally completed sometime between 2012 and 2014. Originally posted 3/28The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday approved the high density development at the Vienna Metro station, ending three years of debate. The article was on the front page of this morning's Washington Post....

 

By | March 28, 2006; 02:14 PM ET | Email a Comment

Warner: Va Could Lose Transpo Funding if No Budget Deal

Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) yesterday said that the state could lose federal transportation funding unless lawmakers can resolve a budget impasse. The Post's report from Richmond is here. ...

 

By | March 28, 2006; 10:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Drugs in Our Sewage? Feds to Check

So just how much cocaine do county residents use? The White House wants to know and officials are willing to submit the county to a collective urine test to find out. Say what? Check out this article....

 

By | March 27, 2006; 12:08 PM ET | Email a Comment

No Charges in Police Shooting of Fair Lakes Optometrist

Updated 4/17 An article in Saturday's Metro section reports that the FBI has begun a preliminary review of the case. Updated 4/14According to a Metro section article in this morning's paper, Culosi's family is expressing frustration that their request to the FBI to investigate the case has not been acknowledged. Meanwhile they are saying that the police department's five-hour delay in notifying family members of Culosi's death prevented him from receiving last rites. Originally posted 3/24Fairfax County's chief prosecutor has declined to file charges against a police officer who fatally shot a man who was suspected of running an illegal gambling operation, according to this article from this morning's Metro section. His family decried the decision. Salvatore J. Culosi, 37 was killed in January while a police SWAT team was attempting to arrest him outside his Fair Lakes townhouse. Investigators have concluded that the shooting was an accident....

 

By | March 24, 2006; 01:09 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax First Reponders Recognized For Valor

Last week marked the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce's annual Valor Awards and 51 fire, police and rescue personnel were awarded for bravery. An article about the awards and a list of recipients is in this week's Fairfax Extra....

 

By | March 17, 2006; 12:06 PM ET | Email a Comment

Five Fairfax Freshman Legislators Learn The Lawmaking Life

This week's Fairfax Extra cover story offer a glimpse into the lives of the five newly elected members of the Virginia delegation who represent parts of Fairfax County as they adjust to life in Richmond....

 

By | March 17, 2006; 11:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

Road Projects Imperiled by Lack of Budget?

About $750 million dollars would have to be cut from Virginia's six-year program for road construction according to Pierce R. Homer, because lawmakers have been unable to approve a budget. Details in this article from today's Metro section....

 

By | March 17, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Email a Comment

County's Poor Wait Months, Years for Help

According to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, getting hooked up with a therapist can take as long as six months and it may take years to get a spot in a group home. Staff shortages and voluminous caseloads are the cause, officials say. The story is on the front page of this morning's Washington Post....

 

By | March 17, 2006; 10:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

Metro West Gets Planning Commission Vote

In what could be the penultimate step to the approval of the controversial Vienna project, the commission voted unanimously with two abstentions to send it to the Board of Supervisors for a March 27 decision. Today's Metro section has the story....

 

By | March 16, 2006; 10:39 AM ET | Email a Comment

What's Your Raise? Supervisors May Get 27% Boost

County Executive Anthony H. Griffin has proposed raising the Board of Supervisors salaries to bring them more in line with what neighboring jurisdictions pay their top governing officials. The story is here....

 

By | March 15, 2006; 01:20 PM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly vs. Devolites Davis in War of Words

The long political rivalry between Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly and state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis erupted in heated statements: Connolly accused Devolites Davis of casting the deciding vote to kill a bill to ban teenagers from using cell phones while driving. Read about the battle here....

 

By | March 13, 2006; 11:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

In Praise of Density

Post editorial writer Lee Hockstader wrote this op-ed Monday: Say the word "density" to a local homeowners association and brace yourself for brickbats. Say it to a group of Washington area business, development and political leaders, as economist Richard Florida did at a conference the other day, and you get a spontaneous burst of applause....

 

By Steve Fehr | March 7, 2006; 04:46 PM ET | Email a Comment

Assessments Up Everywhere in No. Va.

Fairfax is not the only county facing double digit increases in home assessments. Read ">here for a roundup of other local governments....

 

By Steve Fehr | March 6, 2006; 02:57 PM ET | Email a Comment

Legislation Seeks To Curb Gangs

Richmond lawmakers are working on a number of bills aimed at making it easier for police and judges to combat criminal gangs. A detailed story is in this week's Fairfax Extra....

 

By | March 3, 2006; 04:26 PM ET | Email a Comment

Higher Property Tax Bills Coming; Also a 7-Cent Rate Cut

Property tax assessments for Fairfax County homeowners have been mailed out and for a sixth straight year most tax bills will go up. That is despite a 7-cent cut in the tax rate proposed in the budget presented by the County Executive at yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting. More about taxes and the budget is in this story from today's Metro section. Homeowners can access their assements online here....

 

By | February 28, 2006; 03:30 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Releases $3.2 Billion Budget For Fiscal 2007

County Executive Anthony H. Griffin is proposing a $3.2 billion budget for the 2007 fiscal year which begins in July. There's a slight decrease in tax rate proposed....

 

By | February 27, 2006; 01:09 PM ET | Email a Comment

Local Governments Face An Aging Workforce

Fairfax County is among the local jurisdictions that are facing a graying workforce: 610 county employees were recognized on Friday for at least 20 years on the job, with some having worked for the county government for 40 years. The number of workers who will likely retire beginning in 2011, and the smaller pool of younger workers waiting to replace them, have some officials concerned. Read about the issue in this article from yesterday's Metro section....

 

By | February 27, 2006; 12:08 PM ET | Email a Comment

Suburban Concerns Shaping 2006 General Assembly Session

Some Northern Virginians complain that "Richmond just doesn't get it" on issues that affect lives in the communities of the nation's capital. But an article in yesterday's Metro section shows that concerns of suburban Virginians seem to be on lawmakers' minds this year....

 

By | February 27, 2006; 12:00 PM ET | Email a Comment

Plum Seeks Opinions On Transportation Plans

From today's Fairfax Extra: Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax) is asking constituents about their views on the transportation plans under consideration by the General Assembly. Those without access to the Internet can call 703-758-9733 to request a written copy of the survey. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has introduced a plan, Senate Republicans have a proposal, and House Republicans made a recommendation last week.Constituents can take the survey at Plum's Web site, http://www.kenplum.com , by clicking on the link under "Transportation Survey."...

 

By | February 23, 2006; 01:50 PM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Appoints Hill Acting Rail and Public Director

The governor has named Corey W. Hill to head the state agency responsible for rail and public transportation. The news release is here....

 

By | February 21, 2006; 05:22 PM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine's Slow-Growth Proposals, Now You See 'Em, Now You Don't

Michael D. Shear's Virginia Notebook column in this week's Fairfax Extra explains the mystery of the living dead bill....

 

By | February 17, 2006; 01:48 PM ET | Email a Comment

Please Read: Rules Issued for Commenting on Fairfax Focus Blog

Some readers of this blog have recently raised questions about the role of The Washington Post in policing Fairfax Focus. I have deleted a few blog posts because they did not meet The Post's standards for fairness. For more clarity about how to play by the rules, Jim Brady, the executive editor of washingtonpost.com has posted a message explaining the rules for readers participating in the site's Live Online discussions, discussion forums and for posting comments on the company's blogs. The complete list of rules is here. --Steve Fehr, Fairfax Extra Editor...

 

By | February 17, 2006; 01:06 PM ET | Email a Comment

Walking May Be Hazardous To Your Health

Today's Fairfax Extra cover story looks at the perils of being a pedestrian in Fairfax County and what the government, planners and neighborhood leaders would like to do about them....

 

By | February 16, 2006; 11:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Proposes End to Auto Decal Tax

In his annual state of the county address tonight, Gerald E. Connolly said he wants to eliminate the decals and tax forever. Here is the text of a news release just issued:...

 

By Steve Fehr | February 13, 2006; 08:00 PM ET | Email a Comment

Discussion to Cover Senior Citizens Issues

Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence) and the Mantua Civic Association are sponsoring a meeting on issues involving senior citizens, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 25. The meeting will include a series of panels on topics such as transportation, affordable housing, Medicare and community-based senior services. The meeting is at Mantua Elementary School, 9107 Horner Ct., Fairfax. For more information, call 703-560-6946....

 

By | February 13, 2006; 02:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

Libraries Seek to Reopen 12 Branches on Sundays

From today's Fairfax Extra: The county library system is asking the Board of Supervisors to restore Sunday hours at 12 community branches that currently are not open because of budget cuts. Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D-Mason) said at Monday's board meeting that the library board is asking the supervisors to spend about $895,000 a year to pay for the branches to open from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/08/AR2006020800945_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/08/AR2006020800945.html','The county library system is asking the Board of Supervisors to restore Sunday hours at 12 community branches that currently are not open because of budget cuts.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() );...

 

By | February 12, 2006; 02:41 AM ET | Email a Comment

State of the County Speech To Be Televised Monday

Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) will deliver the annual state of the county address at 7:30 p.m. Monday. The speech will be televised live on the county's Channel 16....

 

By | February 9, 2006; 02:49 PM ET | Email a Comment

VDOT Suspends Evaluation of Dulles Toll Road Proposals

The suspension will last for 45 days while transportation secretary Pierce R. Homer reviews an alternate proposal from the Metropolitan Airports Authority. VDOT's news release is here....

 

By | February 8, 2006; 05:04 PM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine's Growth Control Plan Suffers Setback in Richmond

Kaine's proposal to give local governments more authority to slow growth if the roads are inadequate was rejected by a vote of 9-2 in a subcommittee of the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee today. The story is here....

 

By | February 8, 2006; 04:37 PM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Announces More Transportation Forums

The governor's announcement came yesterday that he wants to continue the town hall style meetings that he began prior to his inauguration. The story is here....

 

By | February 8, 2006; 11:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

County To Buy Reston Apartments To Preserve Affordable Rents

The county will pay $49.5 million for the 180 unit Crescent Apartments to prevent their conversion to luxury condominiums. Today's Metro section has the story....

 

By | February 7, 2006; 09:52 AM ET | Email a Comment

Jack Herrity Dead at 75

Updated 2/6: Coverage of Herrity's funeral is here. Originally posted 2/1: The influential local politican died this morning of an aortic aneurism, according to his son. The story is here. The county's Office of Public Affairs has released a statement regarding the news....

 

By | February 6, 2006; 11:15 AM ET | Email a Comment

Governor Announces Nationwide Search For Transportation Commissioner

From Gov. Kaine's office: GOVERNOR KAINE LAUNCHES BIPARTISAN, NATIONWIDE SEARCH FOR TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER  RICHMOND - Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced that the recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International of Washington D.C. has been selected to conduct a nationwide search for a transportation leader to serve as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)....

 

By | February 2, 2006; 02:34 PM ET | Email a Comment

Historic Clifton Home Could Be Torn Down

From today's Fairfax Extra: The Clifton Town Council is scheduled Tuesday to consider a request to tear down a historic home that was built shortly after the end of the Civil War. Preservation and history enthusiasts are encouraging the council to require the developer, Marcus and Colette Silva to incorporate as many of the interior and exterior elements of the house as possible in the new building. The Hetzel House, at 7151 Pendelton St. in the town's historic district, was built in1870. It is a gabled-front-and-wing structure with a metal seamed roof. No one has lived there for 15 years, and the Silvas want to build a new home on the site. The 7 p.m. council meeting is at the Town Meeting Hall, 12641 Chapel. Rd....

 

By | February 2, 2006; 02:15 PM ET | Email a Comment

Group Encourages Citizens To Attend MetroWest Hearing

The text of a letter to the Fairfax Extra: Fairfax County's strong electoral support for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) reflected its desire to place checks and balances on runaway development. The rezoning decision on the proposed MetroWest project near the Vienna Metro station is the county government's first opportunity since the election to act on this message from the voters. We encourage concerned citizens to speak at or attend the rezoning hearing before the Planning Commission at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday. For details, see http://www.fairgrowth.org . Your perspectives will help the commission adjust the final shape of the project to reflect broad community interests....

 

By | February 2, 2006; 01:35 PM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Wants Easier Way To Find Land-Use Records

According to a Fairfax Extra report, the county Board of Supervisors Chairman has proposed expanding and simplifying online access to documents....

 

By | February 2, 2006; 01:15 PM ET | Email a Comment

Reps. Davis, Wolf Plan Town Meetings

From today's Fairfax Extra: Reps. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) and Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) are hosting town meetings Saturday and Feb. 11 in their districts. Davis will speak with constituents from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Vienna Town Hall, 127 Center St. South. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Davis will be at Fairview Elementary School, 5815 Ox Rd., Fairfax Station. Wolf's town meeting is at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 11 at Franklin Middle School, 3300 Lees Corner Rd., Chantilly....

 

By | February 2, 2006; 01:07 PM ET | Email a Comment

Herring Wins 33rd District Senate Seat

Mark R. Herring, the Democratic candidate and former Loudoun County supervisor, defeated current Republican supervisor Mick Staton Jr. for the state Senate seat vacated by William C. Mims, now the state's chief deputy attorney general. The district includes most of Loudon County and nine precincts in western Fairfax County....

 

By | February 1, 2006; 12:18 PM ET | Email a Comment

Proposal To Quiet Ballfields Killed

Updated 1/31:The bill has been killed. Originally posted 1/24:An article from this morning's Washington Post front page talks about the fallout from a local lawmaker's proposed legislation to limit the hours ballfields near residences can be used. ...

 

By | January 31, 2006; 09:30 AM ET | Email a Comment

Builders and Contractors Largest Contributors To Key Lawmakers

A Washington Post analysis of contributions to members of two key committees in the Virginia General Assembly revealed that developers, builders and real estate agents contributed about $1.4 million in campaign money over the last ten years. The committees, the Senate Local Government Committee and the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee, both have track records of dismissing controlled-growth bills that have come before them....

 

By | January 30, 2006; 11:12 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Development Controls Gain Momentum in Richmond

An article in Saturday's Metro section reported that Gov. Kaine's proposal to give more powers to local governments to control growth is gaining bi-partisan support....

 

By | January 30, 2006; 10:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Changes To Reston's Charter Outlined

An article in this week's Fairfax Extra highlights the major changes that Reston officials are proposing as property owners there prepare to vote on the first major changes to the community's governing documents since 1984....

 

By | January 26, 2006; 11:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

Programs To Combat Lyme Disease, West Nile

From today's Fairfax Extra: The county Board of Supervisors has approved this year's program to control the West Nile virus and Lyme disease. The program includes the spraying of larvicide in mosquito breeding areas such as storm-water catch basins in May through October. County officials also will conduct a community outreach and education program to increase awareness of West Nile virus. Part of the program involves monitoring and documenting the number of human infections. There were no human cases in Fairfax last year, but between 2002 and 2004, there were 17 cases and two deaths. The Lyme disease effort centers on surveillance of ticks, which carry the disease....

 

By | January 26, 2006; 11:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Pedestrian Task Force Offers Recommendations

From today's Fairfax Extra: The county's pedestrian task force has called for a series of broad changes in policy and infrastructure to improve the safety of the walking public. The report, which capped a year of work by the task force, proposed a 10-year capital spending plan in four areas: var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/25/AR2006012500954_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('IN BRIEF','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/25/AR2006012500954.html','The county\'s pedestrian task force has called for a series of broad changes in policy and infrastructure to improve the safety of the walking public.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); · Major pedestrian activity centers, transit access and intersection retrofits. · Neighborhood connections, arterial walkways and road diets (reducing the traffic lanes of a particular roadway). · Bus stops. · Retrofitting for the disabled and pedestrian bridges. The Board of Supervisors has identified about $11 million in federal, state and county funding for pedestrian improvements. "This document will not...

 

By | January 26, 2006; 11:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

Legislators Seek Tighter Restrictions On Illegal Residents

Bills introduced this week in the Virginia General Assembly  would prevent illegal immigrants from attending state colleges, punish businesses that hire them and require proof of legal residency to get married. Read about it in this morning's Metro section....

 

By | January 25, 2006; 10:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

Flat Tax For Communication Under Consideration in Richmond

Fairfax County residents with land lines, long-distance service, cell phones and cable TV would pay an average of $5.35 less a month under the proposed tax according to a study cited in a Metro section article....

 

By | January 24, 2006; 10:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly: Fairfax Is At Build-Out

Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) told his colleagues today, "We're hardly doing any land use in Fairfax County." Connolly noted that there were only two public hearings scheduled today, the lowest he could remember in years. There was a time when there were 40 public hearings at a board meeting related to rezonings and other land use cases, he said. "We are at build out," Connolly said. Connolly generally was referring to the relative lack of land remaining for development. There are huge development projects underway or planned on existing land, especially the planned extension of rail to Dulles International Airport, one of the largest development projects in the county's history....

 

By Steve Fehr | January 23, 2006; 05:12 PM ET | Email a Comment

Less Traffic = More $

Yesterday's Metro section had an analysis of what the competing transportation plans in Richmond could mean for Northern Virginians. The bottom line: If you want relief, prepare to open your pocketbooks....

 

By | January 23, 2006; 12:39 PM ET | Email a Comment

MetroWest Meeting Set for Feb. 1

The Providence District Council will hold a meeting on the MetroWest project, south of the Vienna Metro station, from 7 p.m to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 1 at Mosby Woods Elementary School. The meeting, which is open to the public, comes in advance of the rezoning hearing before the county Planning Commission on Feb. 8. Both the project in general and the large county staff report will be discussed. The school is at 9816 Five Oaks Road, Fairfax....

 

By Steve Fehr | January 21, 2006; 07:26 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax GOP Officials Want $300 Million For Local Roads

Today's Metro section has an article about the legislation the lawmakers intend to submit today....

 

By | January 20, 2006; 02:55 PM ET | Email a Comment

Kauffman Exits As WMATA Chairman

Metro's website has the text of the remarks Supervisor Dana Kauffman (D-Lee) made as he presided over his final meeting as the chairman of Metro's board of directors....

 

By | January 19, 2006; 03:52 PM ET | Email a Comment

Community Dialogues Set on Future of Tysons Corner

From the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs: Tysons Corner Community Invited to Dialogue Sessions Residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations are invited to participate in a series of initial community dialogues in January and February to identify important issues regarding the future of Tysons Corner and how the introduction of rail stations will affect growth. The schedule of dialogue sessions, hosted by the Tysons Land Use Task Force, and more information on the Tysons planning study can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/tysonscorner/.    To reserve a space in one of the dialogues, call the Tysons Community Dialogue Hotline at 703-324-1344, TTY 711, or e-mail tysonscornerspecialstudy@fairfaxcounty.gov. Since dialogue locations have different capacities, please sign up in advance so accommodations can be made for as many people as possible. Community members unable to attend a dialogue may provide comments online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/tysonscorner/surveyform.htm. The results of the dialogues and comments submitted online will be...

 

By | January 19, 2006; 03:39 PM ET | Email a Comment

Meeting Scheduled On Vienna Metro Capacity Study

From the Office of Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence): Vienna Metro Transit Station Capacity Study Community Outreach Meeting Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. Oakton High School Cafeteria 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth are sponsoring a follow-up public information session for users of the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metrorail station and residents adjacent to the station to discuss the existing and future capacity needs of the station. The community outreach meeting scheduled for Jan. 31, 2006, at 7:30 p.m. is a follow-up meeting to the initial public outreach meeting held on July 12, 2005, at Oakton High School. This upcoming community outreach meeting is intended to serve as an opportunity to both solicit additional community input and to share interim results of the initial outreach and analysis of the station's capacity needs. Since users and residents adjacent to...

 

By | January 19, 2006; 03:30 PM ET | Email a Comment

Special Election Jan. 1 for Va. Senate seat

The Fairfax County Electoral Board has issued a statement on a special election to fill the Virginia Senate's 33rd district's seat....

 

By | January 18, 2006; 10:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Sticks To Slow Growth Message

Update 1/18:And developers respond: Kaine Plan On Traffic Unleashes Swift Blitz Originally Posted 1/17:Virginia's new governor gave a speech to the General Assembly yesterday that reiterated his belief that controlling development is a necessary ingredient to remedy traffic problems. Read about it in today's Metro section....

 

By | January 17, 2006; 11:12 AM ET | Email a Comment

Marc Fisher On Kaine and Northern Virginia

On Sunday, Metro opinion columnist Mark Fisher offered his thoughts about the Commonwealth's new governor and what Northern Virginians are expecting from him....

 

By | January 17, 2006; 11:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

Discovery of 25-Year-Old Error Reveals Family's Home is Illegal

Updated 1/12:The county has approved a variance for the LoGrande home. The details are here. Originally posted 12/22:The LoGrande family home in the Mount Vernon district is the subject of this week's Fairfax Extra cover story. A recent discovery of a 25-year old mistake has revealed that the house is seven inches below what the county requires for a building in the flood plain of the Potomac River and that the house as it stands is an illegal structure....

 

By | January 12, 2006; 03:48 PM ET | Email a Comment

Seniors' Taxicab Program Getting Changes

A county program designed to provide low-income senior citizens with  reduced cost taxi service has undergone a revision after a series of complaints from the program's users. Read about it here....

 

By | January 12, 2006; 02:21 PM ET | Email a Comment

County Surpasses Telecommuter Goal

From today's Fairfax Extra: Fairfax County is the first jurisdiction to reach -- and then exceed -- a regional goal to have 20 percent of the eligible workforce telecommuting one day a week or more, county officials said. The 20 percent goal, set by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, was met by Fairfax by the end of last year, board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) told the supervisors Monday. "Teleworking is an essential tool for improving the region's air quality," Connolly said in a news release. He pointed out that 1,000 county employees telecommuting an average of one day a week would save 1.8 million commuting miles and prevent 720,000 pounds of pollutants from entering the air by taking cars off the roads. Telework also is an important part of emergency preparedness efforts, officials said in the news release. It can provide continuity of operations in government and the...

 

By | January 12, 2006; 01:46 PM ET | Email a Comment

Wolf Set to Speak At Meeting On Gangs

From today's Fairfax Extra: The Fairfax League of Women Voters will discuss the problem of gangs on Jan. 21 in Chantilly, with U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) as the featured speaker. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/11/AR2006011100867_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/11/AR2006011100867.html','A portion of Wilson Boulevard in the Falls Church area would be named Saigon Boulevard under a proposal made by the county Board of Supervisors to the Virginia Department of Transportation.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); Wolf will talk about legislation he has sponsored to address the gang problem in Northern Virginia. The 10:30 a.m. meeting will be at the International Country Club, 13200 Lee Jackson Hwy. Registration is required; call 703-404-0498 by Saturday. Attendance is free, but a luncheon scheduled to follow is $25. For more information, call 703-658-9150 or go to http://www.lwv-fairfax.org and click on "What's New."...

 

By | January 12, 2006; 12:50 PM ET | Email a Comment

Board Agrees on $6 Million For Huntington Garage

From today's Fairfax Extra: The county Board of Supervisors has approved spending up to $6 million to keep construction going on the expansion of the 1,400-space parking garage at the Huntington Metro station. Metro agreed with a developer to build a mixed-use project on the surface lot on the south side of the station. The developer, Stout and Teague, agreed to replace the 924 spaces with a parking garage. Metro later said it would add about 500 spaces to handle future growth at Huntington. The cost of the addition was $25.2 million but has grown to $31.2 million. The supervisors were asked to plug the $6 million gap. The money will come from parking fees collected at county Metro stations and from the transit agency's infrastructure fund....

 

By | January 12, 2006; 12:44 PM ET | Email a Comment

Pulte Faces Possible Fines If It Can't Cut Car Use at MetroWest

Under the proposed plan, Pulte Homes the project developer would have to prove a reduction of  47 percent of residential car trips and 25 percent of business car trips or face the penalties. Today's Metro section has the story. ...

 

By | January 11, 2006; 10:44 AM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Proposes Mobile Health Clinics For Homeless

The Board of Supervisors Chairman has directed County Executive Anthony H. Griffin to come up with a plan to address the health care concerns of the county's homeless population, which is expected to increase this year. An article with the details of the proposal in in today's Metro section....

 

By | January 10, 2006; 11:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church Names Communications Director

The following press release was released today by the City of Falls Church: City Manager Appoints Communications Director FALLS CHURCH, VA. -  City Manager Dan McKeever has announced the promotion and appointment of Nicole Gobbo as Communications Director for the City of Falls Church. As Communications Director, Gobbo will oversee the City's Office of Communications.  Her responsibilities will include serving as media spokesperson for the City and managing City publications, publicity, and Web content among other outreach initiatives.  Gobbo joined the City in May 2004 as Communications Specialist and served as Acting Director of Communications September through December 2005....

 

By | January 9, 2006; 01:53 PM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Picks Education Secretary

Details on the selection of Thomas R. Morris to head the state's education department were released today by the Gov.-elect's office: Governor-Elect Tim Kaine Appoints Secretary of Education Richmond - Governor-elect Tim Kaine today announced that Dr. Thomas R. Morris will serve as Secretary of Education in his cabinet. Morris has served as President of Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia, since 1992.  In addition to his responsibilities as President, Morris continued to teach courses in political science and served as a member of the Appalachian College Association Executive Committee. Prior to being named President of Emory & Henry, Morris spent over two decades teaching political science at the University of Richmond, where he served as chair of the Faculty Council and was honored as a University Distinguished Educator....

 

By | January 6, 2006; 12:38 PM ET | Email a Comment

Va. Lawmakers Agree Transportation Is Top Priority...Now What?

State legislators agree that solving Virginia's transportation problems is job No.1. How to fix them is another story....

 

By | January 6, 2006; 12:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Keeps Pierce Homer; Fairfax's Hanley Had Been Candidate

The Governor-elect's news release: Governor-Elect Tim Kaine Announces Transportation Leadership Team Richmond - Governor-elect Tim Kaine today announced that Pierce R. Homer will serve as Secretary of Transportation and Ralph Davis and Scott Kasprowicz will serve as Deputy Secretaries of Transportation. Former Fairfax Board Chairman Katherine "Kate" Hanley had been considered for the top job....

 

By | January 5, 2006; 03:25 PM ET | Email a Comment

And We'll Have Fun, Fun, Fun 'Til the Legislative Session Begins

This just in from the Governor-elect's office:Governor-Elect Tim Kaine Announces That Tickets to the Inaugural Concert and Inaugural Ball Are Available for the General Public to Purchase Richmond - Governor-elect Tim Kaine announced today that tickets to the Inaugural Concert featuring the Beach Boys on Friday, January 13th and the Inaugural Balls on Saturday, January 14th are now available to the general public for purchase.  The Inaugural Committee also announced that a heated tent, with large-screen TVs and a live feed of the swearing in ceremony, will be available to help accommodate more people, who want to attend the unique and historic Inauguration....

 

By | January 5, 2006; 01:28 PM ET | Email a Comment

Former BOS Chairman Weighs In on County Rail to Dulles Funding

The text of a letter to the Fairfax Extra from Jack Herrity follows: Fairfax County, with little public notice and without public hearings, has just made a future budget commitment of approximately $50 million of the known cost overruns on the proposed Metro extension to Dulles International Airport and has done so with no cap on the amount of the ultimate commitment to which the county is now exposed....

 

By | January 5, 2006; 12:23 PM ET | Email a Comment

Study To Explore Upgrades To 3 County Police Stations

From today's Fairfax Extra: The Fairfax engineering office of PSA-Dewberry has been selected to conduct feasibility studies for improvements at three district police stations, in Reston, McLean and Fair Oaks. The studies will explore current and future space needs and opportunities for renovation and/or expansion to improve staff efficiency, security and community outreach services at the stations, according to a news release....

 

By | January 5, 2006; 11:07 AM ET | Email a Comment

Judge: Virginia's DWI Law Constitutional

The saga of the state's embattled DWI law took another turn yesterday when a Fairfax County judge ruled that the law is constitutional, but that juries and judges cannot presume guilt simply because a defendant's blood alcohol level was measured above the legal limit.    Another judge had begun dismissing DWI cases last year, because he believed the Virginia law had unfairly shifted the burden of proof to the defendant. A detailed article is in today's Metro section....

 

By | January 5, 2006; 10:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Little Consensus at Kaine Transportation Forums

A front page story in this morning's Washington Post reports on Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine's pre-inaugural efforts to hear Virginians' ideas for solving the state's transportation problems. While there has been much discussion at the forum's Kaine has been sponsoring, including one last night in Fairfax County, there has been little agreement. The text of Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly's statement at last night's forum is here: Download Statement.doc...

 

By | January 4, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Legislative Delegation To Hear Public Comments Saturday

The state delegates and senators who represent Fairfax County in the General Assembly will hold a hearing on the upcoming legislative session at 9 a.m. Jan. 7 at the Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway. The public is invited to attend and comment. Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) is among those expected to deliver remarks to the state legislators. People who want to sign up in advance to speak at the hearing should contact the Fairfax County Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors at 703-324-3151, TTY 711, by noon on Friday. Speakers also may sign up at the hearing....

 

By | January 3, 2006; 01:28 PM ET | Email a Comment

Selling Fairfax County in India

An article in this morning's Business section provides an inside look at how the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is trying to sell the county as place for international businesses to locate offices. The article focuses on Prasad Tagat, who is a contractor working for the county in Bangalore, India....

 

By | December 30, 2005; 09:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Names Cabinet Members

The Governor-elect's office has released the following statement:"Governor-Elect Tim Kaine Appoints Secretary of Administration, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Richmond - Governor-elect Tim Kaine today announced that Delegate Viola Baskerville will serve as Secretary of Administration, Daniel LeBlanc will serve as Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Robert Bloxom will serve as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry....

 

By | December 29, 2005; 10:49 AM ET | Email a Comment

County To Report On High Risk Dams

With the devastation wrought by hurricane Katrina on the U.S. gulf coast still fresh in people's mind, county officials want to know just how many homes are at risk from dam failures here. The story is in today's Fairfax Extra. The list of the county's high-hazard dams is here: Download Dams.doc...

 

By | December 29, 2005; 10:30 AM ET | Email a Comment

Growth in Students Slowing, Signaling More Boundary Changes

Given the keen interest by blog readers in boundary changes, take a look at Post schools reporter Maria Glod's latest piece. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/25/AR2005122500723.html...

 

By Steve Fehr | December 26, 2005; 10:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Says Density Near Transit Key To Easing Congestion

The Chairman's remarks to local business leaders are reported here....

 

By | December 22, 2005; 03:28 PM ET | Email a Comment

Warner Wants Wider I-66

In his final budget plan Gov. Mark R. Warner is asking for funds to widen part of westbound I-66 inside the Capital Beltway and to buy additional rail cars for the Virginia Railway Express, the Washington Post Metro section reported on Friday....

 

By | December 19, 2005; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors' Legislative Committee Adds Meetings

From today's Fairfax Extra: The county Board of Supervisors' legislative committee has added two dates to its meeting schedule for next year. The committee will meet at the Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy., at 4 p.m. on Jan. 20 and 27, Feb. 3, 10 (a new date), 17 and 24, and March 3 and 24 (a new date). The meetings are open to the public. The committee, led by Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D), meets throughout the General Assembly session to monitor issues that could have an impact on Fairfax County. For more information, call 703-324-3187....

 

By | December 15, 2005; 03:07 PM ET | Email a Comment

What Does The Future Hold For Transportation In NoVa?

Michael D. Shear's Virginia Notebook column today looks at what might come of three separate transportation plans being advanced by Virginia pols....

 

By | December 15, 2005; 03:01 PM ET | Email a Comment

Top Officials In Falls Church Won't Seek Reelection

Neither Mayor Daniel E. Gardner nor vice mayor Martha R. Meserve plan to run for reelection next year. The Fairfax Extra reports that both officials have cited personal reasons for their decisions....

 

By | December 15, 2005; 02:55 PM ET | Email a Comment

Libraries: Don't Drop Kids Here On Snow Days

The county library system is asking parents to make alternative plans for child care during snowy weather when schools are closed. Dropping off children at libraries is not an option, library officials say. "Unfortunately, some parents have left small children alone at the library on snow days," library director Edwin S. Clay III said in a statement. "This is inappropriate, because librarians are not child-care providers." According to the county Department of Family Services' child supervision guidelines, "Children who are 7 years old or younger should not be left alone for any period of time." var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/14/AR2005121400892_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/14/AR2005121400892.html','Fairfax Water will hold a hearing at 6:30 p.m. tonight to discuss a proposed 5-cent increase in the water rate beginning April 1.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() );...

 

By | December 15, 2005; 02:37 PM ET | Email a Comment

Park Authority Board Sets 2006 Meeting Dates

From today's Fairfax Extra: The county Park Authority board has announced its meeting schedule for next year. The 12-member board is scheduled to meet Jan. 11 and 25, Feb. 8 and 22, March 8 and 22, April 12 and 26, May 10 and 24, June 14 and 28, July 12 and 26, Sept. 13 and 27, Oct. 11 and 25, Nov. 2 (committee only) and 8 and Dec. 6 (committee only) and 13. The board sets policy and establishes priorities for the park agency....

 

By | December 15, 2005; 02:35 PM ET | Email a Comment

Proposed Water Hike Is Topic of Hearing

From today's Fairfax Extra: Fairfax Water will hold a hearing at 6:30 p.m. tonight to discuss a proposed 5-cent increase in the water rate beginning April 1. The utility, which serves 1.3 million customers in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, is proposing several revisions to its schedule of rates, fees and charges. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/14/AR2005121400892_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/14/AR2005121400892.html','Fairfax Water will hold a hearing at 6:30 p.m. tonight to discuss a proposed 5-cent increase in the water rate beginning April 1.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); The water usage, or commodity, charge would go from $1.45 to $1.50 for each 1,000 gallons. This would mean an increase of $1.20 a quarter, or $4.80 a year, on an average water bill....

 

By | December 15, 2005; 02:31 PM ET | Email a Comment

Proposed Hunter Mill Development Could Be Dead

According to Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) the proposed revisions to the county's master plan to allow high density development near Hunter Mill Road in Vienna are so unpopular that the county board will almost certainly reject the changes....

 

By | December 15, 2005; 10:29 AM ET | Email a Comment

Kaine Advances Plan to Empower Local Governments To Curb Growth

The Gov.-elect's statement that he would seek legislation to allow local governments more power to control development has angered the state's home-building lobby. The story is in today's Metro section....

 

By | December 14, 2005; 12:00 PM ET | Email a Comment

Property Taxes Likely To Rise Next Year Despite Cooling Housing Market

Faced with a cooling real estate market, Fairfax County is among the local jurisdictions that is trying to dedvelop a budget plan for decreased tax revenue at a time when spending increases have been steady. The article was in yesterday's Metro section....

 

By | December 12, 2005; 02:49 PM ET | Email a Comment

Coats for Needy Available At Supervisor's Office

From today's Fairfax Extra: The annual winter coat closet in the Hunter Mill area is open for children and adults in need. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/07/AR2005120701430_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/07/AR2005120701430.html','The Board of Supervisors has approved design plans for a four-story parking garage at the Burke Centre station served by Virginia Railway Express.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); The closet, co-sponsored by Reston Interfaith and Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), distributed more than 500 coats and jackets last year. The coat closet is in Hudgins's office at the North County Government Center, 12000 Bowman Towne Dr. in Reston. Donations of new or gently used coats and jackets are needed and can be dropped off at the office from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Boxes are available for after-hours and weekend donations. Volunteers are needed to help clients select coats, and to greet donors and sort...

 

By | December 10, 2005; 11:14 AM ET | Email a Comment

Note From the Editor

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) did NOT post a blog item today about the planned changes on Route 7 (Leesburg Pike). The post has been deleted. If you happened to read it, the post was a failed attempt at humor. Please respect the integrity of the blog and refrain from posting bogus items. Thank you. Steve Fehr The Washington Post...

 

By Steve Fehr | December 8, 2005; 05:51 PM ET | Email a Comment

Moran To Discuss Illegal Dog and Cat Fur Trade on Larry King Live

Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) is scheduled to appear on CNN's Larry King Live at 9 p.m. Saturday along with actor Alec Baldwin, animal rights activist Heather Mills McCartney and Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to discuss the illegal trade on items from Asia that have been decorated with dog and cat fur....

 

By | December 8, 2005; 01:27 PM ET | Email a Comment

Why Lorton Residents Oppose Prison's Historic Status

Update 12/8: Steven P. Adragna, president of the Crosspointe homeowners association added his explanation in this week's Voices of Fairfax column Originally posted 10/27:The president of the Laurel Hill Civic Association explained in a guest opinion column in this week's Fairfax Extra why  his group opposed the nomination of the former Lorton prison property to the National Register of Historic Places....

 

By | December 8, 2005; 01:10 PM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Want Bike Policy Update to Encourage Cycling

Proposals such as creating a countywide biking map and creating new bike lanes on roads are to be considered. Read the details in today's Fairfax Extra. Also related, park officials have announced improvements to county trails....

 

By | December 8, 2005; 12:57 PM ET | Email a Comment

Connolly Favors Expansion Of Artificial-Turf Program

From Thursday's Fairfax Extra: Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) is asking county park officials to consider using money from bond sales to help finance additional artificial-turf fields throughout Fairfax. The county recently launched a program that allows Fairfax sports organizations to apply for matching funds of up to $483,000 to develop artificial-turf fields. At least one field will be built as part of the program this year. However, Connolly said at Monday's board meeting, if the staff can find ways to leverage other existing county resources, additional fields could be built. Connolly asked that county officials report back to the board with a plan to make park bond funds available for the installation of more artificial-turf fields....

 

By | December 8, 2005; 11:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Parking Garage Design Approved for Burke VRE Station

From today's Fairfax Extra: The Board of Supervisors has approved design plans for a four-story parking garage at the Burke Centre station served by Virginia Railway Express. The $28.8 million garage will have 1,293 spaces and 233 street-level spaces nearby. There will also be an area for buses adjacent to the station, plus sidewalks, elevators, stairs, bicycle racks, a covered walkway from the garage to the train platform, lighting, landscaping and a rain garden. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/07/AR2005120701430_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/07/AR2005120701430.html','The Board of Supervisors has approved design plans for a four-story parking garage at the Burke Centre station served by Virginia Railway Express.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); The county, which owns the Burke station, is expected to advertise for construction bids in June....

 

By | December 8, 2005; 10:57 AM ET | Email a Comment

VDOT Advances Toll Road Privatization Plans

From today's Metro section: The Virginia Department of Transportation yesterday moved forward four proposals to privatize the Dulles Toll Road. State officials advanced proposals put forth by Macquarie Infrastructure Group, Autostrade, John Laing and IIG; Cintra USA Corp.; Franklin L. Haney Co.; and Transurban and Goldman Sachs. The agency determined that a fifth proposal, by Virginia Mobility Associates, did not merit further review. The next step is for the state to name a panel of transportation experts to review the four proposals and recommend one or more for final consideration. The panel will be named in the next two months, and its review could take as long as a year. VDOT said each of the groups would pay about $1 billion to operate, maintain and collect tolls on the Dulles Toll Road for 50 years. The groups also propose making improvements to the road, its entry and exit ramps and...

 

By | December 8, 2005; 10:31 AM ET | Email a Comment

Economic Development Authority Sells Fairfax in Mexico

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority has sent officials to Mexico for the first time ever this week to try to entice Mexican companies to consider Fairfax County as the best site for expansion into the U.S. The authority officials are taking part in U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce meetings in Mexico City....

 

By | December 6, 2005; 03:56 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax County Wants Criminal Penalties For Overcrowded Houses

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has asked the General Assembly for authority to fine landlords who allow more than four unrelated people to live together under one roof. The story is in today's Metro section....

 

By | December 6, 2005; 10:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

Belle View Homeowners Off the Hook for FEMA Paybacks

From Saturday's Washington Post: Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said Friday that the agency would no longer try to recover flood damage assistance given out to some Fairfax County homeowners whose residences were damaged during Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) said in a statement that FEMA had agreed to cease efforts to recoup money from Belle View condominium residents who were not insured beyond what was provided under the condo association's policy. For those who had already complied with FEMA's earlier order to return the assistance, a process is being formulated to give the money back, according to the statement. The 900-unit condominium complex, just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway south of Alexandria, sustained nearly $6 million in damages from the hurricane. FEMA paid about $140,000 to 147 homeowners....

 

By | December 5, 2005; 11:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Connector Luring Hispanic Riders

A new campaign from the county transportation department is the broadest effort thus far by the agency to inform and attract Hispanic riders to the county's public bus system. The story was in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By | December 2, 2005; 03:29 AM ET | Email a Comment

Hunter Mill Task Force Meetings Scheduled For Next Two Wednesdays

The following news brief was in today's Fairfax Extra: The Hunter Mill Road task force is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Dec. 14 in Reston to discuss the planning process and present tabulations of current development potential in the surrounding area....

 

By | December 1, 2005; 03:37 PM ET | Email a Comment

Lawyers Road Park Hearing Set

The following news brief was in today's Fairfax Extra: The county Park Authority is planning to hold a public hearing Dec. 15 at Flint Hill Elementary School to present a proposal for changes at Lawyers Road Park in Vienna. Park staff will outline plans for the 13.7-acre park, which is on the west side of Lawyers Road and about a mile south of Hunter Mill Road....

 

By | December 1, 2005; 03:34 AM ET | Email a Comment

New Route Through Fort Belvoir Gains Funding

The following news brief appeared in yesterday's Fairfax Extra: Congress has approved an additional $5 million for the design and construction of a replacement for Woodlawn Road through Fort Belvoir. The money was included in two spending bills that contain funds for other projects in the Fairfax area as well. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/23/AR2005112300805_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/23/AR2005112300805.html','Congress has approved an additional $5 million for the design and construction of a replacement for Woodlawn Road through Fort Belvoir.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); County and state officials are planning to replace Woodlawn Road, which the Army closed for security reasons along with a segment of Beulah Road after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The closing has led to traffic delays in southern Fairfax....

 

By | November 26, 2005; 10:30 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisor Kauffman Sends Letter To Davis On Vienna Metro Land Sale

Metro Board Chairman and Fairfax Supervisor T. Dana Kauffman's (D-Lee) letter to Rep. Thomas M. Davis (R-Va.) on Metro's decision to sell land near the Vienna Metro station to Pulte homes was published in the Fairfax Extra's "Voices of Fairfax" guest column this week....

 

By | November 25, 2005; 11:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

Plans Proceed To Widen I-66

Plans to widen parts of Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway are proceeding according to an article published yesterday in the Fairfax Extra. ...

 

By | November 25, 2005; 11:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

New Emergency Communications Center Under Construction

The Fairfax Extra reported this week on the groundbreaking for the county's West Ox Complex which will house a new police and fire communications center....

 

By | November 25, 2005; 10:57 AM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Eye Limits On Nutley Street Parking

The county Board of Supervisors is asking the Virginia Department of Transportation to help Fairfax establish parking restrictions on Nutley Street between Arlington Boulevard and Lee Highway. Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence) asked the board to consider the restrictions in response to complaints from residents about commercial vehicles, such as trash and construction trucks, that have been parking along the east side of Nutley near the Pan Am Shopping Center. Smyth said the trucks were obstructing visibility. Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) said he has observed trash trucks parked along that stretch with trash in the truck, which he said is illegal....

 

By | November 25, 2005; 10:49 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Announces Next Hunter Mill Task Force Meetings

The Fairfax County Office Of Public Affairs has released a statement with the schedule for the next round of meetings for the Hunter Mill Road Area Special Study Task Force. A 7 p.m., Nov. 30 meeting will be held at Lake Anne Elementary School, 11510 North Shore Drive, Reston.     Another meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Lake Anne Elementary and a third at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at  South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Drive, Reston....

 

By | November 25, 2005; 09:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

Congress Approves Another $30 Million For Rail To Dulles

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Fairfax) issued this press release today: DULLES RAIL PROJECT RECEIVES ANOTHER $30 MILLION IN FY 2006 TRANSPORTATION APPROPRIATIONS CONFERENCE REPORT        Washington, D.C. - The conference report for the annual transportation spending bill approved by the House today includes another $30 million to help bring Metrorail to Dulles airport, according to the region's three members of Congress.        This latest installment brings the total federal share to date to more than $210 million.  The federal government is responsible for 50 percent of the funding while the state and local governments will make up the remaining 50 percent.        Senate approval is expected later today.  Conference reports cannot be amended....

 

By | November 18, 2005; 01:40 PM ET | Email a Comment

Metro Approves MetroWest Land Sale To Pulte

Metro's board of directors has approved a sale of a parcel of land near the Vienna Metro station to Pulte Homes. The land lies between the station and land Pulte owns for its planned MetroWest mini-city development. Pulte officials described the land as an essential additional parcel if MetroWest is to be a true transit-oriented development. The full story was in this morning's Metro section....

 

By | November 18, 2005; 09:36 AM ET | Email a Comment

Taxi Surcharge Extension To Be Considered

The county Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing Nov. 21 on extending the emergency surcharge on taxicab rides and possibly increasing the rate from $1 to $1.50 a ride. Supervisors recently approved the $1-a-ride surcharge to offset the high cost of gasoline over the past few months. The surcharge is set to expire Nov. 21 -- the day the board will decide, after the hearing, whether to continue it and possibly increase it. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102600893_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102600893.html','The county Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing Nov. 21 on extending the emergency surcharge on taxicab rides and possibly increasing the rate from $1 to $1.50 a ride.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() );...

 

By | November 18, 2005; 05:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

Va. Supreme Court Rejects County on Lewinsville Park

The Supreme Court of Virginia has refused a request from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to reconsider its decision that in effect bars Marymount University's soccer and lacrosse teams from playing at Lewinsville Park in McLean...

 

By Steve Fehr | November 15, 2005; 01:55 PM ET | Email a Comment

Have You Changed Your Tax Decal?

The Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs has issued a reminder that all vehicles should be displaying their current, green 2006 tax decals as of tomorrow: "Police and sheriff departments from Alexandria City, Fairfax City, Falls Church City, Manassas City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, the town of Herndon and the town of Middleburg participate in a regional effort to enforce the display of decals. Decals should be placed next to the state safety inspection sticker, and the prior year's tax decal should be removed. Motorcycle decals should be affixed to the bike's fork next to the state safety inspection sticker."...

 

By | November 14, 2005; 09:42 AM ET | Email a Comment

Meeting On Field Lighting Nov. 17

The county Park Authority is planning to hold a public meeting Nov. 17 at W.T. Woodson High School to present the results of a consultant's report on athletic-field lighting in Fairfax County. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/02/AR2005110201167_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/02/AR2005110201167.html','The Fairfax County Department of Community and Recreation Services has launched a matching funds program to encourage county sports organizations to develop synthetic-turf athletic fields in the county.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() ); The report, and public reaction to it, will be used to develop specifications and guidelines for athletic-field lighting. It will also be used to address concerns of park neighbors, create cheaper lighting systems and identify the latest technology to reduce glare and spill from lighting systems....

 

By | November 13, 2005; 05:08 AM ET | Email a Comment

County To Hold Meetings On Funding For Synthetic-Turf Fields

The Fairfax County Department of Community and Recreation Services has launched a matching funds program to encourage county sports organizations to develop synthetic-turf athletic fields in the county. The department will provide up to $483,000 toward the cost of installing synthetic turf on a rectangular field. var technorati = new Technorati() ; technorati.setProperty('url','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/02/AR2005110201167_Technorati.html') ; technorati.article = new item('in brief','http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/02/AR2005110201167.html','The Fairfax County Department of Community and Recreation Services has launched a matching funds program to encourage county sports organizations to develop synthetic-turf athletic fields in the county.','') ; document.write( technorati.getDisplaySidebar() );...

 

By | November 13, 2005; 05:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Revisions To Lee District Park Under Consideration

The county Park Authority has scheduled a hearing Nov. 15 in the Alexandria area on a proposal to revise the master plan for Lee District Park. The proposed revisions include adding a family recreation area, lighting three existing fields, redesigning the field space and increasing parking....

 

By | November 13, 2005; 04:21 AM ET | Email a Comment

Bill Would Allow Challenges To Fairfax Judge's DWI Stand

Focus on Fairfax has posted about Judge Ian M. O'Flaherty and his opinion that language in the Virginia statute regarding the prosecution of DWI cases makes the law unconstitutional. Now, in response to the Fairfax judge's policy of dismissing the DWI cases in front of him, the Virginia State Crime Commission is proposing legislation that would allow the cases to move from the General District Court, where O'Flaherty presides, to Circuit Court where their constitutionality could be appealed by prosecutors. Read about the proposed legislation in today's Metro section....

 

By | November 11, 2005; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Regional Meeting Planned Nov. 17 On Day Laborers

From a COG press release today:"Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) is organizing a summit for area elected officials on the issue of day laborers.  It will be the first time the issue is discussed at the regional level including leaders from Maryland, Virginia, and the District." The meeting will be held Nov. 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m....

 

By | November 10, 2005; 04:46 PM ET | Email a Comment

In The Event Of An Emergency

The cover story in today's Fairfax Extra lets County Executive Anthony H. Griffin explain how Fairfax is preparing for potential disasters....

 

By | November 10, 2005; 02:53 PM ET | Email a Comment

Lawmakers To Announce Federal Funding For Anti-Gang Programs Today

Update 11/11: The Post's Metro section published this article on the topic. Rep. Frank Wolf's (R-Fairfax) office today announced that a bipartisan group of local congressional leaders will hold a press conference today to announce new funding to combat gangs in Northern Virginia and Maryland. The conference will be held at 2 p.m.  at the U.S. Capitol....

 

By | November 10, 2005; 01:34 AM ET | Email a Comment

Calling All Restonians

For months now, there has been an ongoing debate in Reston about something called "the governing documents." Presumably these documents are the equivalent of the Constitution for one of the nation's largest planned communities. For the life of me, I live in Reston and I can't figure out what the heck they're talking about. What are leaders of the Reston Association proposing to change? What difference does it make to Reston residents? And most important, what impact does it have on homeowner fees (aka assessments)? Will the proposed changes mean higher or lower fees?...

 

By Steve Fehr | November 7, 2005; 05:51 PM ET | Email a Comment

Want To Work For The County?

The county government will sponsor a career fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 5 at the county Government Center in the Fair Oaks area. Potential job seekers can get information about working for Fairfax County, the types of jobs available, requirements for getting hired and benefits....

 

By | November 4, 2005; 05:27 AM ET | Email a Comment

Meet The New Elections Registrar

Jacquelynne Harris is the county's first nonpartisan elections supervisor. She was profiled in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By | November 3, 2005; 11:25 AM ET | Email a Comment

Frank Wolf: Slow Traffic on Route 7

The congressman's office today released a statement containing the text of a letter that Wolf sent to the Virginia secratary of transportation.....

 

By | November 1, 2005; 03:45 PM ET | Email a Comment

Recommendation on Proposals For Mixing Bowl HOT Lanes Expected Today

VDOT has issued a press release on the meeting of the advisory board overseeing the issue which will be held from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Nov. 1, in the Springfield Interchange Project Office, 6400 Commerce Street, Springfield. Update 11/2: The results of the meeting were reportded in a Metro section article this morning....

 

By | November 1, 2005; 11:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Election Day Reminder

The Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs has issued the followling reminder about voting in the Nov. 8 election: Getting Out to Vote on Nov. 8 - Not Nov. 1Fairfax County reminds residents that Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fairfax County's General Registrar's Office reports that some commercial calendar companies have incorrectly listed Nov. 1 as Election Day on their calendars.On the ballot are governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, and all members of the Virginia House of Delegates. A school bond referendum also is on the ballot.  For more information on Election Day, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb, call 703-222-0776, TTY 711, or e-mail voting@fairfaxcounty.gov.   ...

 

By | October 31, 2005; 10:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

Transportation Plan Meetings Run Throughout November

The county Department of Transportation will hold seven public meetings in November about proposed revisions to Fairfax's transportation plan. The changes would affect objectives and policies as well as the most recent travel forecasts. The transportation plan is part of the county's comprehensive plan. 100 or visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot ....

 

By | October 28, 2005; 11:59 AM ET | Email a Comment

Watershed Protection Meeting Tonight

Fairfax County will hold a workshop from 6:30 to 9:15 p.m. tonight at Longfellow Middle School in McLean for residents and businesses in the Middle Potomac watershed. Officials want the public to review and provide feedback on proposals to protect and restore the watershed. The Middle Potomac area includes Pimmit Run, Scotts Run, Turkey Run, Dead Run and Bull Neck Run. A watershed is the land area that drains into a particular body of water....

 

By | October 28, 2005; 11:55 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Judge Dismissing DWI Cases

An article from this morning's Post reports on Judge Ian M. O'Flaherty, who has made it a policy in his Fairfax courtroom to dismiss drunk driving cases where the defendant's blood alcohol level was found to be .08 or higher on a breath test. O'Flaherty has said that he believes that the Virginia law that applies to these cases is unconstitutional because the law says that such defendants should be presumed guilty. Update 10/28: Fairfax prosecuters have challenged the judge on this issue....

 

By | October 27, 2005; 10:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

Panel to Focus on Lewinsville Park Case

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing tomorrow night at 8:15 p.m. on proposed changes to the county's definition of what constitutes a public use of county-owned facilities....

 

By | October 26, 2005; 03:04 PM ET | Email a Comment

Govs, Mayor Meet in Annapolis

Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., (R) and D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) met today in Annapolis to review their shared progress and cooperation on priorities for the National Capital Region, including air quality, transportation, homeland security, the Chesapeake Bay, tourism, and nanotechnology....

 

By Steve Fehr | October 26, 2005; 02:20 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fisher On Hunter Mill Hearing

Metro columnist Marc Fisher wrote yesterday about the county's use of hired consultants to report citizen concerns at the recent meeting on the proposed Hunter Mill density changes....

 

By | October 24, 2005; 10:46 AM ET | Email a Comment

Public Transportation Barriers Forums Scheduled

The county government is planning to hold three forums in November to solicit comments about barriers on public transportation that prevent people with disabilities from riding buses, taxis and trains.Publicly -funded transportation systems in the county include the Fairfax Connector, Metro, MetroAccess, FASTRAN, Medicaid-subsidized funded transportation, taxi services and Seniors-On-the-Go.The forums will be: 7-9 p.m. Nov. 1 at the South County Government Center, 8350 Richmond Hwy. (Route 1) in the Alexandria area.Noon-2 p.m. Nov. 3, Department of Systems Management for Human Services Building, Region 3, 11484 Washington Plaza W., Reston.10 a.m.-noon Nov. 5, Virginia Tech's Northern Virginia Center, 7054 Haycock Rd., city of in Falls Church....

 

By | October 23, 2005; 03:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

Board OKs Historic Status for Former Lorton Prison

The county Board of Supervisors on Monday endorsed a plan to nominate the former Lorton prison site as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places and Virginia Landmarks Register. The nomination applies to a 552-acre area of the former D.C. Correctional Complex that the federal government transferred to the county and is being redeveloped. Some of the buildings would be preserved for historical reasons....

 

By Steve Fehr | October 20, 2005; 06:27 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Disaster Plan Unveiled

County Executive Anthony H. Griffin yesterday outlined the disaster plan that Fairfax officials would implement in the case of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Details are here....

 

By | October 18, 2005; 10:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Organized Opposition To Development In Fairfax

A front page article from this morning's Washington Post gives prominent play to the recent efforts of citizens to organize themselves to oppose what they view as unfair development practices in Fairfax County. See it here....

 

By | October 14, 2005; 09:54 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Executive To Brief Supervisors on Emergency Preparedness

From a county news release issued today: Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin will give a presentation on emergency preparedness to the Board of Supervisors during the morning session of the board's Monday, Oct. 17 meeting....

 

By Steve Fehr | October 13, 2005; 01:04 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fears of Possible Flu Outbreak Fuel Fight Plan

Increasing concerns over a possible world-wide epidemic of avian flu have Virginia health officials working to create a plan on how to handle the disease, according to an article in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By | October 13, 2005; 12:51 PM ET | Email a Comment

Contracts Granted To Groups Aiding Katrina Evacuees

Three local nonprofit organizations have been granted contracts worth $276,400 from Fairfax County to aid the estimated 1,500  evacuees from hurricane Katrina believed to be sheltering here. The Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By | October 13, 2005; 12:44 PM ET | Email a Comment

DuBois Aide Leaving for Arizona

Supervisor Joan DuBois (R-Dranesville) today announced in a news release that Linda Lammersen will be leaving the supervisor's staff in November and relocating to Arizona....

 

By Steve Fehr | October 7, 2005; 04:55 PM ET | Email a Comment

Hunter Mill Road Task Force Meets Tomorrow

The Hunter Mill Road area special task force will hold a public visioning workshop from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Madison High School in Vienna.Attendees will work in small groups led by volunteer facilitators. The workshop will result in a written document that will be submitted to the task force in November. The panel is trying to decide the future look and density of the area between Reston and Tysons Corner....

 

By | September 30, 2005; 04:26 AM ET | Email a Comment

Welcome to Fairfax County

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) said he wants signs welcoming people when they drive into Fairfax. "While our towns and several unincorporated areas have such signs welcoming people, there are currently no signs welcoming visitors to Fairfax County," Connolly told his colleagues at Monday's board meeting. At Connolly's request, the board asked the county Convention and Visitors Corp. to look into the possibility of installing "Welcome to Fairfax County" signs at key roadway entrances to the county....

 

By Steve Fehr | September 29, 2005; 01:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Water Chief's Pension To Be Doubled

Charlie Crowder, the retiring general manager of the Fairfax County Water Authority, will receive nearly twice the pension he had been entitled to before a Sept. 15 vote to raise it by the water authority's board. Read about it here....

 

By | September 28, 2005; 10:40 AM ET | Email a Comment

Cable Competition Comes To Fairfax County

The Board of Supervisors last night approved Verizon Communications Inc. as a licensed seller of cable television service. An article about the decision was in today's Business section....

 

By | September 27, 2005; 11:11 AM ET | Email a Comment

New Fairfax County Brand Name To Be 'fxva'

At the Board of Supervisor's meeting this morning, county tourism officials unveiled a new brand identity for the county in an effort to draw more visitors. The logo will be "fxva." The slogan will be "Fx marks the spot." There will also be a segway scooter at Tysons Corner Shopping Center acting as an information booth for the county. More information is here and here....

 

By Steve Fehr | September 26, 2005; 11:06 AM ET | Email a Comment

Local Red Cross Office To Set Up Hurricane Katrina Assistance Center in Seven Corners

The Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria offices of the American Red Cross will relocate on Monday to the Seven Corners area of Falls Church to jointly staff an assistance center for Hurricane Katrina victims....

 

By Steve Fehr | September 25, 2005; 05:12 AM ET | Email a Comment

Rep. Wolf Blasts Plan for Tax Breaks for Gambling Industry

Reacting to a story in today's Post www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/21/AR2005092102394.html that the gambling industry may receive special tax breaks after Hurricane Katrina, Rep. Frank R.Wolf (R-VA) today made the following remarks on the floor of the House:...

 

By Steve Fehr | September 22, 2005; 03:22 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax County Park Authority On Supreme Court Decision

The Fairfax County Park Authority today released the following statement with regard to Friday's Supreme Court of Virginia decision on Lewinsville Park: The Fairfax County Park Authority Board is disappointed with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Virginia in the Lewinsville Park case. It should be noted that the Supreme Court ruled against the Park Authority on technical grounds, and did not rule on the underlying merits of the case related to whether Lewinsville Park is a public use.Under the rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Park Authority has the right to request a rehearing from the Supreme Court. We intend to request a rehearing from the Supreme Court in order to rectify this matter. Therefore, the appeal process is still underway and there has not yet been a final ruling of the Supreme Court....

 

By | September 20, 2005; 01:49 PM ET | Email a Comment

Virginia Supreme Court Overturns Controversial Lewinsville Park Decision

The Supreme Court of Virginia today reversed a lower court decision that has allowed Fairfax County, through an arrangement with McLean Youth Soccer, to host Marymount University soccer and lacrosse games at  Lewinsville Park in McLean....

 

By | September 16, 2005; 04:43 PM ET | Email a Comment

Hearing Tomorrow On Plans For Future Of Great Falls National Park

A hearing on the draft management plan that addresses the future of  Great Falls National Park begins at 1p.m. tomorrow. Yesterday's Fairfax Extra had the story....

 

By | September 16, 2005; 10:16 AM ET | Email a Comment

Gov. Warner Names Panel to Study Base Closing Plan

Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) today appointed members- including several from Fairfax County- to serve on the Northern Virginia and Central Virginia working groups studying the Pentagon's plan to close or relocate military installations and offices. The news release has not been posted on the governor's website but here is the text:...

 

By Steve Fehr | September 15, 2005; 06:07 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Rescue Officials Among Hurricane Relief Team Members Deploying Today

Fairfax County Government released this statement today: Northern Virginia Deploys High-Level, Regional Hurricane Relief Team to New OrleansA 10-person team, representing five Northern Virginia jurisdictions, will deploy today to New Orleans as part of the region's coordinated response to the area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina....

 

By | September 13, 2005; 04:09 PM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church Spokeswoman Resigns

Falls Church city communications director Dionne C. Williams today announced her plans to pursue her doctorate in mass communications and media studies at Howard University's School of Communications. Her last day with the city is Monday....

 

By Steve Fehr | September 13, 2005; 02:17 PM ET | Email a Comment

Former County Spokesman Dies

Edmund L. Castillo, 80, a retired Navy captain who was one of the Navy's original public information officers and who was spokesman for Fairfax County for 13 years, died Aug. 24 of congestive heart failure at Sibley Memorial Hospital. Read Castillo's complete obituary here....

 

By | September 13, 2005; 01:53 PM ET | Email a Comment

Supervisors Approve Tax Relief for Elderly, Disabled

Fairfax County's  $46.6 million budget surplus will allow tax relief programs for the elderly and disabled to be broadened and will fund expansion of an after school program according to an article in this morning's Metro section. Or read the county's news release www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/2005/05231.htm....

 

By | September 13, 2005; 10:47 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Sets Goal of 200 Jobs, 100 Housing Units and 400 Students to Help Katrina Victims

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) announced at today's board meeting that the coalition of community, business and and religious groups www.fxfc.org has set these goals as a starting point. The group will attempt to create 200 jobs, provide 100 housing units and take in 200 schoolchildren in county schools. Here's the complete news release:...

 

By Steve Fehr | September 12, 2005; 01:32 PM ET | Email a Comment

Candidates For Governor To Debate Tomorrow

Tomorrow's debate in Fairfax between the candidates for Virginia governor, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Jerry W. Kilgore (R), is the only scheduled live televised face-off of the campaign planned in Northern Virginia, officials said. The event  begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton McLean in Tysons Corner. The county Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the debate....

 

By | September 12, 2005; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Government's Labor Day Schedule

Here is a link that shows how today's Labor Day holiday effects the Fairfax County Government....

 

By | September 5, 2005; 06:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Offers Free 'College' Classes

The fall South County Neighborhood College will begin Sept. 14 at the South County Government Center in the Alexandria section of Fairfax. The deadline for registration is Sept. 9. Through panel discussions, hands-on activities and field work, participants learn about how local government works. They also are taught about county services, the history and demographics of the area, community resources, cross-cultural dynamics and more....

 

By Steve Fehr | September 3, 2005; 07:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Group Files Lawsuit To Block Herndon Day Laborer Site

A conservative legal group, Judicial Watch, filed a suit on behalf of a group of Herndon residents to stop the town's plan to create an official site where day laborers can gather to wait for work, The Post reported today....

 

By | September 2, 2005; 10:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

Charge Tolls on Beltway, I-66, I-395, Says Former Gov. Baliles

Former governor Gerald A Baliles (D) has proposed a plan that would put tolls on the Capital Beltway, Interstate 66 and the Shirley Highway (Interstate 395) to generate income to help fund needed Virginia transportation projects. The story was inside today's Metro section....

 

By | September 1, 2005; 10:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Falls Church Police Union Issues Vote Of No Confidence In Chief

Police Chief Robert T. Murray has received a vote of no confidence from the union that represents the officers that patrol the city of Falls Church. According to an article in this morning's Metro section, the vote followed complaints from officers that the guns they had been issued were defective. The city government may put out a response today on this story....

 

By | August 31, 2005; 08:27 AM ET | Email a Comment

Federal Health Officials in Fairfax Today Touting Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage

Mike Leavitt, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Elaine L. Chao, the Secretary of Labor, will join Northern Virginia officials at 1:30 p.m. today at the Korean Central Presbyterian Church, 8526 Amanda Place, Vienna, to highlight community-based resources that will help educate and enroll seniors and disabled citizens in the Medicare prescription drug coverage that goes into effect Jan 1....

 

By | August 29, 2005; 08:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

 

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