Second Leadership Institute Held, Creating More Engaged Communities

The Braddock District Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) continued on February 26 with a half-day Leadership Institute at the Kings Park Library. The program attracted more than 30 participants from the Braddock District and the County.

This year’s Leadership Institute is the second of what could become an annual event for the Braddock District. Last year, the first Leadership Institute was hosted in the Burke Centre Conservancy and participants experienced a day of learning County issues and techniques to run a community organization. The Institute is part of the broader Community Engagement Initiative that seeks to strengthen neighborhoods through leadership training and the promotion of community projects and activities that either solve community issues or more strongly connect neighbors with one another. Supervisor Cook kicked off the day by suggesting that in a free society, we citizens are responsible both for the benefits and challenges of the community around us, and we need to take ownership of our neighborhoods.

This year’s program included presentations from David McKernan and Sandy Chisholm who discussed Emergency Management, Lieutenants Archie Pollard and Kathy Murray who spoke about Public Safety, and William Marr Esq, who presented on the topic of Fiduciary Responsibilities. The keynote address from Martin Harris focused on working the assets within your community. The day closed out with a very helpful introduction to conflict management with Julia Morelli from George Mason University and Megan Johnston from the Northern Virginia Mediation Services. Please contact the office if your community organization is interested in hosting them.

Supervisor Cook thanks all the participants for investing a Saturday in their community. He would also especially like to thank Karla Bruce, Janet Hubbell, and Evan Braff from the County’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services for their hard work in putting together the program. Additionally, Supervisor Cook thanks Virginia Dominion Power for sponsoring the program’s luncheon.

Supervisor Cook in the Community

On February 3rd, Supervisor Cook took part in a Vietnamese-American Community Ceremony as part of their Lunar New Year’s Celebration. The event took place at the Eden Center in Falls Church and was a wonderful way to kick off the Vietnamese Year of the Cat.

On February 7th, Supervisor Cook attended the Kings Park West Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at Robinson Secondary School before heading over to Terra Centre Elementary School to host a community meeting on the issues of roadway safety on the Burke Centre Parkway.

On February 9th, Supervisor Cook hosted the Braddock District Council Meeting at the Kings Park Library.

On February 11th, Supervisor Cook attended the Black History Month Celebration at the Fairfax County Government Center.

On February 12th, Supervisor Cook joined the Chinese community in their Lunar New Year’s Celebration at Luther Jackson Middle School in Falls Church. This Year the Chinese celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

On February 13th, Supervisor Cook took part in the Burke Community Blood Drive at the Woods Community Center. The drive was sponsored by the Friends of Sadie, a young girl in the Burke area who has been fighting cancer. Supervisor Cook did his part by rolling up his sleeve and donating a pint of blood. Later on the 13th, Supervisor Cook appeared live on the Café’ Latino radio show which broadcasts on the web at

On February 15th, Supervisor Cook attended another Chinese New Year event, this time a luncheon at Little River Glen Senior Center. Authentic traditional cuisine was prepared and served.

On February 17th, Supervisor Cook attended the Kings Park Civic Association Community Meeting which was held at Kings Park Elementary School.

On February 23rd, Supervisor Cook hosted a community meeting about the future plans for University Mall.

On February 24th, Supervisor Cook, along with many others, attended an open house for the retirement of Kathy Ichter who served as the Director of Fairfax County Department of Transportation. She will be truly missed, but as she and her husband Larry are Braddock residents, we’ll likely be seeing them in the future.

February 26th was a busy Saturday for Supervisor Cook. First, he took part in the 2nd Leadership Institute here at the Kings Park Library. More about this can be found on page 5 in this Beacon. After that, he went to an open house to celebrate the 80th birthday of long-time North Springfield Civic Association President, Norma Heck. Later that evening, Supervisor Cook stopped by the Burke Athletic Club’s Annual Gala which was held at the Springfield Country Club.

Tax Relief Opportunities for Seniors and Disabled Veterans

Fairfax County provides tax relief to citizens who are 65 or older, or permanently and totally disabled, and meet the income and asset eligibility requirements. Returning applicants must file between January 1 and April 1.  However, applications for 2010 are still being accepted based on hardship and for first-time filers through December 31, 2011. For eligibility requirements and to get more information click here:           

The Department of Tax Administration (DTA) is hosting a series of free tax relief workshops in March at several locations throughout the County. Staff from DTA will be on site to assist residents with filling out the application form, as well as answering questions. Supervisor Cook will be hosting two such workshop on March 23 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Kings Park Library.

To make an appointment (not required), contact Lindsey Smith in the Braddock District office. If you cannot attend this workshop other dates are available countywide, or you can call for information 703-222-8234, TTY 703-222-7594.

  Tax Relief for Disabled Veterans

Last November, Fairfax County voters approved a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution to provide real estate tax relief for 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. The enabling legislation to implement this amendment to the Virginia Constitution had been working its way through the General Assembly and the bills in question:  HB1645 (O’Bannon) and SB1073 (Puller), have now passed.  The County will post information online as soon as it is available from the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the application/certification process.

If you have questions about the new legislation for tax relief for disabled veterans send an email to Please include your name, phone number, address, and email so that they may contact you.

Pink Carts and Helping Hearts

Fairfax County is announcing a new program, Pink Carts and Helping Hearts, that will provide recycling service to non-profit organizations in the County, raising awareness of and funding for breast cancer and other cancer support programs and research.

The Solid Waste Management Program has pink rolling carts that will be offered to non-profit organizations for use at their fundraising events. County staff will deliver the pink carts to the event and return to collect the cart after the event. In this fashion, the Solid Waste Management Program can provide real support to non-profits while raising awareness about recycling. Call Kate Vasquez or Pamela Gratton at 703-324-5230 for details.

Braddock Neighborhood News: a Look at Youth Sports

For this month’s edition of BNN, Supervisor Cook invited Marcia Pape and Tonya McCreary, the Braddock District appointees to the Fairfax County Athletics Council, to speak about youth sports in our community.

With the wealth of organized sports leagues and activities we are fortunate to have available in Fairfax County, it is important to remember that these private youth leagues could not exist without the support of engaged citizen volunteers. For those looking for a way to contribute to their communities, youth sports leagues also offer an excellent way in which to help strengthen our neighborhoods and develop community bonds as well as assist in promoting the health and safety of kids.

Our neighborhoods are both stronger and safer because neighbors get to know each other through involvement in youth sports. And, through youth sports, many kids in our community develop an appreciation for health and fitness that can have lasting benefits throughout their lives.

To learn more about how to become involved, you can tune in to BNN at 5 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays or 7 p.m. on Wednesdays this month on Channel 16. You can also watch this month’s edition online at

Next Deadline for Capital Beltway Community Grant Program Upcoming

Launched in 2009, the Capital Beltway Community Grant Program is aimed at supporting organizations that serve communities adjacent to and most affected by the construction of the HOT Lanes. To date, over 30 nonprofit organizations in Fairfax County have been supported with funding from this program. Grants are still being awarded quarterly, and the next application deadline is March 31. You can find grant applications online at and there are also applications available in the Braddock Office. 

The goals of the grant program are consistent with the overarching objectives of the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes Project and include:

  • Promoting Safety
  • Enhancing or protecting the environment
  • Supporting the amenity, economic development or well-being of communities.

Previous grant recipients have focused on a number of objectives, including: enhancing the safety of neighborhoods and bicyclists and improving quality of life through cultural events, early childhood education and care, and promoting sustainable living.


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