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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Missing black cat in Annandale

Tom, a 9-year-old neutered male cat, has been missing since 7 a.m. Feb. 28 from Kenwood Drive in Annandale. That’s in the neighborhood near Braddock and Ravensworth roads.

He is timid but enjoys the sound of a shaking bag of food. He has his claws and a distinctive overbite and is not wearing the blue collar shown in the photo.

If you find him, call April, 610-223-6179.

Annandale High School students show they care at Just World Festival

Annandale High School students involved in organizations aimed at making the world a better place showcased a variety of  initiatives promoting environmental activism, social justice, and cultural understanding at the 10th annual Just Word Festival Feb. 27. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Men arrested for breaking into cars in Broyhill Park

Stolen items [FCPD]
Officers from the Mason Police District charged two men Feb. 25 with larceny in the Westlawn community, the Fairfax County Police Department reports.

Officers on the midnight shift responded to a call for service from a resident who saw people rummaging through his van in the 7600 block of Camp Alger Avenue at about 2:54 a.m.

Officers questioned the men and linked them to at least 10 vehicle larceny cases in the area. Numerous items were stolen, ranging from a laptop computer to loose change, knives, cigarettes, and Chuck-E-Cheese game tokens.

Mason Republicans planning 'firehouse primary'

A couple of local Republicans have talked about the possibility of running against Mason Supervisor Penny Gross this year, says Curtis Anderson, Mason District chair on the Fairfax County Republican Committee. No one has come forward but if there are more than one candidate, the committee will hold a “firehouse primary” to select a candidate.

The details haven’t been set yet but it probably take place in a high school on a Saturday in late April or early May. Any registered voter who shows up would be allowed to vote, but they would have to sign an oath stating they would support the winner of the primary.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Homeowner charges HOA is failing to address safety issues

Ashton Commons.

When Shirley Thompson bought her home in the Ashton Commons community two years ago, she had no idea what she was in for. She discovered numerous property code violations, lax enforcement by the homeowners’ association (HOA), and safety hazards.

When the HOA manager refused to fix the problems, she took her complaints to various county agencies, state officials, and most recently, to an attorney. So far, none of her problems have been resolved.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cat perishes in Falls Church fire

FCFRD photo
A single-family home at 3040 Holmes Run Road in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County was totally destroyed in a fire on Feb. 24, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reports. 

A cat perished in the fire and one resident who was home at the time escaped unharmed.

When firefighters arrived at approximately 11 a.m., they encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear deck and roof of the two-story home. The home contained an overwhelming amount of household items and other combustibles making it challenging for firefighters to extinguish the deep-seated fire. It took more than an hour to bring the fire under control.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The two people who had lived there declined assistance from the Red Cross.

Free tax help available

Need help with your taxes? Eligible taxpayers are encouraged to take advantage of free tax preparation assistance in the Annandale/Mason area.

Volunteers from the AARP Tax-Aide program will be stationed at the Mason District Government Center (6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale) through April 15 to help taxpayers on a walk-in basis. The program is free for people with low or moderate income and is targeted to those age 60 and over.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Community celebration shines spotlight on Annandale restaurants

“The Taste of Annandale,” a major community event showcasing local restaurants – and much more – is scheduled for Saturday, June 13, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., in downtown Annandale.

This multicultural celebration, organized by Mason District residents and stakeholders, is designed to spotlight the Annandale business district, engage young people, and build community spirit though music, food, and interactive fun for the whole family.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fund established to help Pinecrest family displaced by fire

Fairfax County firefighters put out a fire in the Pinecrest community. [DeAnn Jelinek]
A fund has been set up to help the Susuico family, whose house at 6518 Medinah Lane in the Pinecrest was destroyed in a fire on the afternoon of Feb. 17.  The fire, caused by faulty electrical strip, resulted in damage estimated at $212,000.

Tony Paduano, a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain, established a fund at the Pinecrest branch of the Wells Fargo Bank to help the family get through this difficult time. The inside of the house has been gutted and they don’t expect to be able to move back in until May.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter preppers

As I traveled to the Giant to watch people pile carts with milk and toilet paper, making me wonder what they drink and apply when it’s not snowing, I felt that I was witnessing doomsday preparations. As though with the fall of a few flakes we all would be plunged into a frozen stasis where the only tools of survival would be liquid vitamin D and a fresher bum.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Robbery at knifepoint in Culmore

Four men were robbed in front of an apartment on the 6000 block of Knollwood Drive in the Culmore area at about 11:11 p.m. on Feb. 13, the Fairfax County Police Department reports. They were approached by three men. The suspects produced a knife, demanded property, took cash and items, and fled on foot. There were no injuries.

Gross supports community school concept

Ernie Wells looks at maps of proposed Seven Corners redevelopment concepts at a community meeting at Bailey's Elementary School.
Mason Supervisor Penny Gross told the audience at a community meeting on Seven Corners redevelopment Feb. 19 that she supports the concept of a community school and that the Willston Center is a possible a location.

Local residents and school officials have been calling for a school at the Willston site for the past few years, and there’s also been some discussion about a community school there that also includes various health and social services.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Trapnell's advice to next Mason supervisor: Listen to the community


Tina Trapnell, the former Mason District supervisor who served before Penny Gross was first elected in 1995, has some advice for the next supervisor: “Listen to the community and respect your constituents.”

Trapnell hopes this election season won’t be as negative as past campaigns. “Elections should be about issues, not personal attacks on opponents,” Trapnell says. “You can’t afford to anger your constituents or be condescending.”

Under the current leadership of Mason District, Trapnell finds a “disconnect between the board and citizens” and “a perceived lack of transparency.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Three fires in Annandale/Mason area

Fire damage at a house on Murdock Road.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units put out three fires in the broader Annandale/Mason area within the past four days.

A fire at a townhouse at 6518 Medinah Lane in the Pinecrest neighborhood on the afternoon of Feb. 17 was brought under control in approximately 20 minutes. No one was at home when the fire broke out. Three adults have been displaced, and three dogs perished in the fire. The residents declined assistance from the Red Cross.

2015 real estate assessment up 5.5 percent in Annandale

Annandale has the highest average increase in assessments.
Fairfax County real estate assessments for 2015 rose an average of 3.39 percent for residential properties, the Department of Tax Administration announced Feb. 17.

Assessments for properties in Annandale (zip code 22003) rose an average of 5.45 percent – which is more than any other zip code area in the county. The median assessment for residential properties in Annandale is $435,438 for 2015 – up from $412,942 last year.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Contact information for help after the snowstorm

Bob Kovacs is clearing his driveway in Columbia Pines. [Mary Ellen Dawley]
Got a weather-related problem following the snowstorm? Here is some useful contact information:

VDOT road assistance: 703-383-8368,

Hypothermia prevention: If you see an unsheltered person who may be at risk of hypothermia, call the police non-emergency number, 703-691-2131.

For power outages, contact  Dominion Power: 888-667-3000, To sign up to receive text messages from Dominion, text DOM to 898366 from any mobile device.

Pizza party at Magill's will benefit Child Development Center

The public is invited to enjoy pizza and karaoke at a fundraiser for the ACCA Child Development Center at Magills Pizza and Buffet restaurant on Feb. 27, 4-8 p.m. Magills is at 7201 Little River Turnpike, Annandale.

A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Child Development Center, a full-day childcare and preschool program on Columbia Pike, Annandale, for children ages 3 months to 5 years old. The center is run by the Annandale Christian Community for Action and relies heavily on volunteers and donations.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Penny Gross will run for a sixth term on the Board of Supervisors

Penny Gross, who’s represented the Mason District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors since 1996, announced her candidacy for a sixth term Feb. 15.

Speaking at her annual Champagne & Chocolates fundraiser, Gross said, “Commitment and experience and integrity are the watchwords for me,” and will run again because, “I want to continue to serve the community and continue to bring leadership and a commonsense approach” to Mason District and the BoS.

Boardwalk renovations at Luria Park to start in a few weeks

Holmes Run near Luria Park.
The Fairfax County Park Authority plans to begin construction within the next month of the second phase of the boardwalk renovation project at Luria Park and Holmes Run Stream Valley Park near the Holmes Run Acres neighborhood.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Coach CJ Celebration Feb. 28 supports scholarships for student athletes

All local residents are invited to a Coach CJ Celebration to support a scholarship program in memory of  Clayton Joyner, the former swimming coach for Falls Church High School and the Holmes Run Pool. Joyner died last April at age 29.

The party is Saturday, Feb. 28, 7-11 p.m., at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department social hall, 7128 Columbia Pike. There will be a DJ, dancing, hors d'oeuvres, desserts, coffee, beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages.

Worship Watch crime prevention program targets faith community

The Fairfax County Police Department is launching a program aimed at preventing crime at houses of worship by encouraging congregants to be more vigilant.

Worship Watch is modeled after Neighborhood Watch, a crime-prevention program that encourages residents to be observant of their surroundings and report suspicious activity.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Planning Commission approves Bailey's Crossroads shopping center

An illustration of the Shops at Bailey's Crossroads, as seen from Leesburg Pike.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted Feb. 12 to recommend approval of a shopping center in Bailey’s Crossroads. The project would include a drive-through stand-alone CVS and several restaurants or shops on Leesburg Pike between Washington Drive and Charles Street. A Board of Supervisors hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Feb. 17.

Happy Valentines Day!

The Annandale Blogger wishes a fun-filled, love-filled Valentines Day to all our readers! The photos here are from the valentine-making party last Sunday at the Artisans United Craft Gallery at the Packard Center in Annandale. [Photos by Karen Bowes.]

Friday, February 13, 2015

Police search Pinecrest following attempted burglary

The Pincrest condominiums [Rob Snowhite]
Fairfax County police conducted a manhunt in the Pinecrest community this morning to search for a suspect in an attempted burglary at a condo in the 6600 block of Jupiter Hills Circle. The suspect got away, reports police spokesperson Shelley Broderick.

A resident reported seeing a police helicopter circling the neighborhood, K-9 units on the ground, and police cars at each entrance. The Pinecrest is located in Mason District between Little River Turnpike, Braddock Road, Old Columbia Pike, and the Pinecrest Golf Course.

I-95 widening will affect local traffic

Residents look at maps at the VDOT meeting.
The Annandale Blogger was unable to attend the VDOT community meeting on plans to widen I-395 and thanks a reader for submitting the following article.

Trade-offs seemed to be the theme at the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Feb. 10 public information meeting at Holmes Middle School on the planned widening of Interstate 395 southbound between the Duke Street and Edsall Road exits.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Eakin Park neighbors consider forming friends group

Park needs a refresh.
Residents of neighborhoods near Eakin Community Park would like to see improvements in the park, but with no money available from Fairfax County, they are considering forming a friends group to coordinate volunteer projects.

The park is in Fairfax, just outside Annandale, and encompasses a portion of Accotink Creek and the Cross County Trail.

Order mulch, support schools' graduating seniors

We’re still in the grips of winter, but it’s not too early to start thinking about spring and revitalizing your landscaping.

The PTSAs at both Falls Church High School and JEB Stuart High School are selling mulch, with the proceeds supporting each school’s Class of 2015 all-night graduation party.

Three cubic-foot bags of double-shredded hardwood mulch from Falls Church High School are $5.25 each if ordered by Feb. 21 and $5.50 after. The order deadline is March 16. You can order mulch online or print an order form and mail a check. Instructions are on the PTSA website.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Former Annandale High School athlete arrested for murder

Scott [Chaimpaign Co. Sherrif]
A former Annandale High School student, Reginald James Scott, 21, has been arrested for the murder of a college student in Chicago, the Annandale student newspaper, the A-Blast, reported Feb. 10.

Scott, a 2012 graduate, had been on the varsity basketball and cross country teams, the A-Blast states.

According to CBS Chicago, Scott and Daniel Gonzalez, 21, both enrolled at Parkland College, were accused of murdering Vicente Mundo, 20, a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The suspects reportedly intended to rob Mundo of marijuana and cash.

Pedestrians injured at Annandale bus stop

Three pedestrians were injured on Little River Turnpike in Annandale at about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 10. None of them sustained life-threatening injuries.

School board, county exploring options for using Willston site for a school

Panelists at the forum on schools included (from the left): School board chair Tamara Denerak Kaufax, Regional Assistant Superintendent Fabio Zuluaga, Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Platenberg, school board member Sandy Evans, and Superintendent Karen Garza.
Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza told local residents at a State of Our Schools Forum Feb. 10 she is optimistic that the school board and Board of Supervisors will be able to work together on using the Willston Center site in Seven Corners to address school capacity issues in the Mason District.

The forum, organized by the Mason District Council of Community Associations (MDC), drew a large of  150 parents and residents to Glasgow Middle School to discuss a wide range of school issues with elected leaders and FCPS officials.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Extensive vandalism at community garden plots in Annandale

Fencing destroyed at the Bo White Community Gardens.
There has been extensive vandalism at the Bo White Community Gardens in Pine Ridge Park in Annandale in recent days. One gardener reports that about 50 of the 160 garden plots were vandalized in two separate incidents – late on the night of Jan. 22 or in the early hours of Jan. 23, and again on Jan. 29 or 30.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Man arrested for indecent exposure

Fairfax County Police officers arrested a 32-year-old Falls Church man Feb. 8 in Munson Hill Park for indecent exposure and felony exposure toward a child under age 15.

Inova will develop medical research institute on ExxonMobil site

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announces Inova's deal to lease the ExxonMobil property. Looking on are Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova and Inova CEO Knox Singleton.
Inova Health Systems will take over the ExxonMobil headquarters building on Gallows Road across the street from Inova Fairfax Hospital to create a Center for Personalized Health. Inova hopes the new facility will help it become the world’s leading center for translational cancer research and patient care based on genomic science and individualized therapy.

Fire damages house in Sleepy Hollow Woods

The morning after a fire destroyed the kitchen in this house.

An accidental fire in the Sleepy Hollow Woods neighborhood Feb. 8 was caused by “an electrical anomaly in the hood exhaust system over the stove,” the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reports.

Fire units responded to the fire at 3811 Forest Grove Drive at approximately 8:50 p.m. after a neighbor called 911. They found smoke coming from the front and rear of the split-level home. Firefighters rescued two dogs, but two birds perished in the fire.

The two adults who rent the house were not home; they have been displaced and are receiving support from the Red Cross. The fire was contained to the kitchen. Damage is estimated at $90,000.