Story Ideas in Fairfax County Government
Fairfax County Office of Public
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
October 15, 2004
Story Ideas in Fairfax County Government
Through Future Features, the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs regularly informs the media about great story ideas in Fairfax County government. The information provided gives the background on a newsworthy story, as well as contact information to provide more information, interviews, etc. For additional questions about the Future Features service, contact the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935.
Ghostbusters or Librarians?
The Fairfax County Public Library's Virginia Room maintains a collection rich in regional history, genealogy, local and state government information and legal resources. While the experts in the Library's Virginia Room can help you find local information, they are occasionally called upon to help residents with more unusual research.
"We had a call recently from someone who claims to have seen a ghost in the house and wanted to know if any events had occurred in that property that would explain those events," said Virginia Room Historian Brian Conley. A few years ago, Virginia Room volunteers created the Historical Newspaper Index, which lists more than 200 years worth of Fairfax-related articles and ads, giving library staff an avenue to look at crimes and murders. In addition to the HNI, Virginia Room staff can help track down the history of a particular property through old tax records, deeds and wills. For information about the Virginia Room, call 703-293-6383, TTY 711, or visit the third floor of the Fairfax City Regional Library. To access the HNI, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library.
The Fairfax County Public Library also carries "The Ghosts of Virginia" by L.B. Taylor. This multi-volume book details spectral phenomenon throughout Virginia including several vignettes about Fairfax County sites. According to the author, tour guides and others at Gunston Hall, the historic home of patriot George Mason located in Mason Neck, have encountered otherworldly spirits haunting its corridors. "These brief encounters generally have been attributable to former Mason family members who have occupied the house at one time or another," according to Taylor. Gunston Hall is a 550-acre National Historic Landmark owned by the commonwealth of Virginia and administered by a board of regents. Public hours are 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and a variety of special events take place throughout the year. For more information about Gunston Hall, visit www.gunstonhall.org.
Election Officials Go Beyond the Call of Civic
On Election Day, more than 1.4 million Americans work at the polls. Serving as an election officer is a rewarding way to participate in your government and ensure a fair, well-organized voting process. The Electoral Board of Fairfax County recruits approximately 3,000 dependable, committed citizens to serve as election officers in 225 precincts for each general election. Election officers are required to arrive at the polling place at 5 a.m. on election day, remain until all tallies have been completed, set up voting equipment, prepare the polling place for voting, process voters by checking names on a list of registered voters, admit voters to voting machines, tally results, secure voting machines, and close the polling place.
Many of these Fairfax County residents serve above and beyond the call of duty. Regina Jordan of Vienna and Mary Reed of Falls Church each have served as election officers for over 40 years. When asked why she has served for so long, Reed said, "I've done it purely for enjoyment…I enjoy meeting the people in our neighborhood." In response to the same question, Jordan spoke excitedly of the "great chance to do a civic community service that is interesting and challenging."
Margaret Luca, secretary of the Electoral Board, tells of an election officer who hit his head, went to the hospital and returned to close the polls. Another resident became an election officer in memory of his mother who considered serving the county at the polls an important civic duty. Luca said, "We are so used to people working long hours, serving the public and doing so for the love of democracy, (these) are regular stories for us." For more information on election officers, please call the Fairfax County Electoral Board at 703-324-4735, TTY 703-324-1877, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb.
In cooperation with Fairfax County Public Schools
Office of Adult and Community Education, the League of Women Voters of
the Fairfax Area will again present "More Power to You," an
overview of local government. The last session, "Functions of the
Fairfax County School Board," will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 27.
Pre-registration and payment for the class is required. Call
703-227-2231, TTY 711.
Fairfax County's Electoral
Board and the General Registrar's Office remind you that Thursday, Oct.
28, is the deadline for receipt of absentee ballot applications for
voting by mail, and Saturday, Oct. 30, is the final day for in-person
absentee voting. Call 703-222-0776, TTY 711, for more information about
absentee voting in Fairfax County or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb/absentee.htm.