Braddock District Community Corner

Registration still Open for Neighborhood College

Phase two of the Community Engagement Initiative began earlier this week with the first of two Neighborhood Colleges. The Neighborhood College is ideal for those who want to make a difference but aren’t sure where to start. Graduates use this program to learn about county government, help their neighbors, become involved in local issues, take on leadership roles in their communities and volunteer.

The first Braddock Neighborhood College began Monday, March 1 and will run for five consecutive Monday nights, as well as Saturday March 20, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. The second Neighborhood College will begin Wednesday, March 24 and will run for 6 consecutive Wednesday nights in Braddock Hall. On Saturday, April 20th an all day workshop will be held.

Braddock residents interested in participating in the Neighborhood Colleges can still register and should contact my office at 703-425-9300 for further information. Students: •Learn about local government; meet elected officials and leaders, •Learn what makes Braddock unique and meet community-based organizations, •See how to build partnerships and consensus, •Learn effective participation and leadership skills, including engaging diverse communities
Individuals must be able to attend and participate in scheduled classes (held once a week, evenings, for six weeks) and activities.

Supervisor Cook in the Community

Many of this month’s events were cancelled or rescheduled for later dates due to the “Storm of the Century”. Supervisor Cook did, however, travel around the affected neighborhoods during the peak of the snow removal process, and will be discussing what he saw at an upcoming “Snow Summit” on March 16th in the Board Auditorium beginning at 3:30 p.m.

On February 3rd, the Supervisor co-sponsored a meeting of the Braddock-Fairfax-GMU forum at Fairfax City Hall. The topic of discussion was the area around Braddock Road and George Mason University.

On February 16th, Supervisor Cook participated in the Braddock District Council’s Annual Education Forum.

On February 17th, Supervisor Cook sponsored a meeting of his Wakefield-NVCC Community forum. Dana Kaufman, Director, Government Affairs and Community Relations at NVCC and Delegate Vivian Watts also participated. This meeting addressed issues of parking and transit near the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

On February 18th, Supervisor Cook held a Constituent Day at the Woods Community Center in Burke. Concerned citizens showed up and talked with him in an informal setting about the issues that concern them and their community.

On February 22nd, Supervisor Cook attended the Lake Braddock Secondary School PTSA meeting. He, along with Braddock School Board Representative, Tessie Wilson, addressed many questions concerning the County and School Budgets.

On February 27th, Supervisor Cook took part in a celebration ceremony honoring Black History Month held at the David R. Pinn Center in Fairfax. The theme of this year’s celebration was “Celebrate the Dream: The Changing Face of Leadership”.

On March 1st, Supervisor Cook kicked off the first of his Neighborhood College programs which are being held on consecutive Mondays at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Annandale. More about this ongoing series is included in this month’s Beacon.

On March 3rd, the Supervisor attended a meeting of the West Springfield Civic Association. Supervisor Cook listened and addressed many of their questions regarding county government.

FCPS Recovering From Snow Induced Closures, Discussing Ways to Make up for Lost Instructional Time

Can Spring be far off? I certainly hope not! As we all struggle to recover from the once in a lifetime snowstorm that crippled our area in early February, the school system has and continues to recover as well.

I would first like to thank each and every resident who shoveled their sidewalks, driveways and bus stops in order to allow Fairfax County Public Schools to reopen as soon as possible. And a special thank you goes out to those individuals who also showed up at individual schools to help dig them out. The job was overwhelming, and your help was and is very much appreciated!

Both the Board of Supervisors and the School Board will have “de-brief” sessions on lessons learned from this event. Our hope is that we are not faced with a similar situation again anytime soon, but there is important information we can document about what we did well, and where we all need to improve for the next natural event – even if it is not snow.

During the February snow storm, Fairfax County Public Schools were forced to close for a total of 7 days. Coupled with the 3 days we missed just before the winter holiday, we have missed a total of 10 days this school year. By the time you read this newsletter, the Board will have voted on how to make up these days. But no matter what decision we make, all of our students have lost valuable instructional time, and none of our possible options to recover that time will be the same as the original days. I know our teachers will do all they can to make up for the missed time.

Tessie Wilson, School Board Braddock District

Board of Supervisors Approve Parking District on Tapestry Drive

In a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors approved a special residential permit parking district (RPPD) for the 4800 block of Tapestry Drive. Over the last several years, as the enrollment of George Mason University increased, so too, did the number of students parking in the surrounding neighborhoods. Supervisor Cook listened to the needs of the residents in the area, and with their support, asked for the creation of a special district for a specified stretch of Tapestry Drive.

The approval of the RPPD means that block is reserved only for residents of the Kings Park West Townhouses and residents of the Kingsberry Townhouses, who have an appropriate parking decal. Restricted parking hours will be 7 A.M. to 8 P.M. Monday through Friday and 7 A.M. to 1 P.M. on Saturdays.

The parking district in front of the single family homes on Tapestry, while just adjacent to the newly created district, has a different designation, and the permit to park in one area will not allow parking in the other. Parking decals may be requested by going online to Residents should also be receiving notification by mail from the county.

VDOT to Focus on Pothole Repair in March

This winter’s repeated historic blasts of snow, ice and rain coupled with colder-than-average temperatures have resulted in a proliferation of potholes on Virginia’s roads. Following the Governor’s directive, VDOT will make pothole repair its top priority between March 1 and March 31. The agency will use state crews and contractors to conduct a pothole blitz aimed at quickly identifying and repairing roadway hazards, but VDOT is also asking for citizen’s help to identify potholes as they form to speed repairs. To report a pothole, citizens should visit or call VDOT’s Highway Helpline at 800-367-7623 (ROAD).

Potholes form when moisture seeps into pavement, freezes, expands and thaws. This cycle weakens the pavement. The weight of traffic loosens the pavement, and over time the pavement begins to crumble. A winter of heavy snow or rain and several freeze-thaw cycles may result in a bumper crop of potholes in the spring. Crews have been working throughout the winter to patch the worst potholes, but pavement repair efforts have been hindered by repeated snowstorms and the frequent freeze-thaw cycle that is creating potholes faster than crews can repair them.

Patching operations are prioritized by pothole severity and location, with some severe potholes on high traffic roads being filled within 24 hours, and most potholes on higher traffic roads being repaired within four days. Some areas and types of pavements may require more extensive repairs. In these cases, crews will make temporary repairs immediately and will schedule more extensive reconstruction work at a later date.

VDOT has budgeted $45.8 million for asphalt and concrete patching for fiscal year 2010 (which runs from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010). Despite budget challenges, VDOT has not cut back on pothole repair because it is considered a safety program.

Looking Back At Fairfax: Confederate Spy Marries Union Major

On March 10, 1864, Miss Antonia Ford, a woman who had been arrested in 1863 for spying on behalf of the Confederacy, married Joseph Willard, co-owner of the famous Washington Hotel of the same name. Shortly before the marriage, Willard had resigned as a major from the Union Army and Ford, a resident of Fairfax County, had been released from jail. Miss Ford was suspected of assisting Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby.

On March 9, 1863, in perhaps the most daring and successful raid of the Civil War, Mosby made his way upstairs in the middle of the night into the Gunnell House in Fairfax where Union Army Brigadier General Edwin Stoughton had his headquarters. The house still stands and is now owned by the Truro Church. Stoughton, who had a few drinks that night, was fast asleep. Mosby rudely awoke the young sleeping general with a smack to his backsides and announced to Stoughton that he was being taken prisoner. Mosby and a handful of his Rangers then left the Union camp with Stoughton and approximately thirty-two soldiers and fifty-eight horses. President Lincoln was furious when he heard the news the next day, mainly because of the horses. “I can make a brigadier general in five minutes,” Lincoln proclaimed, “but the horses cost $125 each!”

Shortly before her marriage, Miss Ford wrote in a letter to Willard: “It seems I was literally thrown in your way by a power above us—call it destiny; I think that a prettier word than fate.” When later asked why a pro-Confederate like herself would marry a former Union officer, Mrs. Antonia Ford Willard answered, “I knew I could not revenge myself on the whole nation, but felt very capable of tormenting one Yankee to death, so I took the major.”

Many years later one man cited the importance of Fairfax in the war: “For years and years after the war was over you have no idea of the number of ex-Union soldiers who came out on the trolley to visit Fairfax and the site of their earlier war experiences. Fairfax was the hub of all troop movements…Fairfax was the route they all used.”

This feature is brought to you by: Paul N. Herbert, President of the Historical Society of Fairfax County and the author of “God Knows All Your Names.”

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