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Friday, August 1, 2014

Environmental group outraged by award honoring beltway construction co.

The beltway project dumped sediment into Accotink Creek. [Photo by Friends of Accotink Creek]
Every year, the Fairfax County Park Foundation bestows Eakin Philanthropy Awards to individuals and organizations that have made a significant contribution to the community.

The announcement that one of the recipients of this year’s awards is Transurban-Fluor has met with disbelief, if not total outrage, by the local environmental community. Transurban-Fluor, the company in charge of the beltway and I-95 express lanes construction, has handed out some grant funds for community projects, but it’s also caused a huge amount of environmental damage to local waterways that is costing taxpayers millions of dollars to clean up.

Neighborhood get-togethers planned for National Night Out

Firefighters talk about their work at a 2013 National Night Out event on Hirst Street in Annandale.
On Tuesday, Aug. 5, neighborhoods across the Mason District – and throughout the nation – will be holding evening gatherings for National Night Out, an anticrime initiative aimed at promoting productive relationships between communities and local police departments.

Last year, dozens of Fairfax County civic associations and HOAs organized cookouts, ice cream socials, and block parties with the goal of strengthening neighborhood spirit and shining a light on crime prevention and safety issues. Representatives of the Fairfax County Police Department, Fire Department, and Sheriff’s Office will take part in many of these events.

One community pool helps another

Parklawn Pool [Photo by Daren Shumate]

Two years after the derecho, when the area was hit by widespread storm damage and power outages, the Parklawn Recreation Club was able to stay open with a generator and invited members of the closed Dowden Terrace Pool to use their facilities for swim team practice.

When the Parklawn Pool’s pump failed July 31, Dowden Terrace returned the favor, opening its pool to Parklawn members, including swim team kids practicing for the All-Stars meet on Aug. 2, reports Daren Shumate of Parklawn. He says the pump should be fixed today.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sewage incident in Falls Church area

Greenway Downs Park, with the creek in the background. [Google Maps]

Residents have been warned to stay out of a small creek that runs along Custis Parkway in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County following a break in a sewer line.

According to Mansker, someone who lives across the street from the creek noticed a substance getting into the creek that smelled like sewage and contacted the county, says Bob Mansker, president of the Greenway Downs Citizens Association

Police arrest man for gas station robberies

Fairfax County police have arrested a man in connection with two recent gas station robberies in Mason District and are investigating whether he is involved in two other similar incidents in the vicinity. Michael Emmanuel Joyner, 51, was charged with two counts of robbery and one count of “unauthorized use of a vehicle,” a police spokesperson confirmed.

The arrest, first reported by NBC Channel 4 News, involves robberies of the Braddock Road Convenience store at the Xtra gas station on Braddock Road and Hillcrest Place in Lincolnia and the Discount Zone Gas Station on Columbia Pike and Lincolnia Road earlier this month. In both incidents, the suspect threatened the cashier with a knife and there was a scuffle but there were no serious injuries.

Rotary club's raffle for classic car supports local charities

The 1966 candy apple-red Mustang GT convertible pictured here could be yours. The Rotary Club of Bailey’s Crossroads is raffling off the car to raise money for its community service projects.

Raffle tickets can be purchased online for $25 apiece or five for $100. You can also buy tickets at various locations around the area where the car will be on display, including the Burke Centre Festival, Sept. 6-7;  National Harbor Place on Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Fairfax Corners on Saturdays 5-10 p.m.

The drawing takes place Sept. 14 at a car show at Occoquan Regional Park.You don’t need to be present to win.

The Rotary Club will use the proceeds from the raffle to aid the long list of charities it supports, including the Mason Police District Citizens Advisory Committee, the JEB Stuart High School and Glasgow Middle School Interact clubs, Thanksgiving dinners for needy families, Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter, college scholarships for Stuart graduates, holiday gifts for the elderly, Bethany House, Wounded Warrior Project, the Culmore Cleanup, and much more.

The Bailey’s Crossroads Rotary Club has been raffling off a Mustang for the past 28 years. “We discovered this is our niche,” says club President Harry Henderson. “People are interested in classic cars, and Mustangs have a certain panache. Also, there are a limited number of them out on the road. We have a committee that scours the earth to find them.”

Cars that are raffled are completely restored and are in excellent condition. “We want to make sure they’re drivable, not just show cars,” Henderson says.

The club usually pays about $25,000-35,000 for a car, repairs, and restoration and nets about $60,000-75,000 from the raffle.

Many of the people who buy tickets see the Mustang at various events and say their dad or older brother had one. “There’s a lot of nostalgia associated with it,” Henderson says, and kids are fascinated with some of the features in old cars, like the roll-up window handles. They always ask what those things are for.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Supervisors approve expansion of shelter for women abuse victims

An illustration of the expansion project.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed July 29 to allow Bethany House of Northern Virginia to expand a shelter for women victims of domestic abuse in the Barcroft Hills neighborhood.

The expansion plan has generated controversy in recent weeks, as some neighbors who oppose it put up signs on their front lawns identifying the address of the shelter, while Bethany House has tried to keep its location confidential to protect the residents.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back-to-school tax holiday this weekend

School doesn’t start until Sept. 2, but if you want to take advantage of Virginia’s back-to-school tax holiday, you’ve got to start shopping this weekend.

Shoppers won’t be charged sales tax for eligible clothing and school supplies purchased on Friday, Aug. 1, through Sunday, Aug. 3. To qualify for the tax break, articles of clothing and footwear must be priced at $100 or less and school supply items must be $20 or less.

Examples of school supply items that qualify for the tax break include art and music supplies, reference books, lunch boxes, notebooks, and calculators. Eligible clothing includes uniforms, gym clothes, lab coats, and coveralls but not sporting equipment.

Public support needed for humane deer management program

The Deer Spay program in action. [Photo by Tom Jackman]

If you live around the City of Fairfax, you might be surprised to see deer with “bling.” The deer wearing ear tags were part of a groundbreaking sterilization effort undertaken last winter called Deer Spay.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fairfax County supervisors to consider proposal to expand women's shelter

A yard sign broadcasts the resident's opposition to a shelter for abuse victims.

A proposal to expand a shelter for victims of domestic abuse in the Barcroft Hills neighborhood has generated some opposition among the immediate neighbors, although others who live near the 1950s-era house support the project.

Bethany House of Northern Virginia is requesting approval to expand a congregate living facility it already operates by adding a second story, allowing the shelter to serve another two or three more women. At most, the 1,356-square foot addition would have living space for up to 15 residents and one full-time staff member. The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended approval last week, and the proposal is on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda for July 29.