The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – As school lets out, summer rolls in, graduations are celebrated, and Father’s Day approaches, I wish my Board Corner could be a positive compilation of opportunities across Mason District and Fairfax County. Sadly, based on several deadly recent incidents, I am compelled to share some thoughts, with the hope that future incidents, injuries, and deaths can be avoided.
On Friday, May 20, 2022, a group of Fairfax County and VDOT employees, a landscaping contractor, and county residents gathered to review maintenance projects in the Annandale’s downtown revitalization area. It was a beautiful sunny spring morning, and the group walked through a small parking lot and onto the sidewalk, when an out-of-control vehicle ran off the roadway and plowed into four people and a fence before coming to a stop. Two county employees and a landscaping employee were injured severely, and the fourth victim, longtime Annandale resident and revitalization volunteer, Eileen Garnett, suffered life-threatening injuries and died a few days later. The police investigation revealed that the car’s driver had spilled food or drink in her vehicle and was attempting to clean it up while she was driving, resulting in loss of control and a deadly accident.
A day and a half later, a young woman on her way home from work was properly in the crosswalk on Little River Turnpike and Oasis Drive when she was hit by an SUV that left the scene. Her injuries are life-threatening. The driver later returned to the scene and was arrested for felony hit-and-run. It appears that the driver was exiting I-395 at highway speeds when he hit the victim.
Two nights after that, a vehicle turning left into Skyline Plaza in Bailey’s Crossroads was “T-boned” by another vehicle heading through the signal. The passenger in the turning vehicle was killed; the driver injured, and the driver and passenger of the other vehicle exited their car and tried to escape, but were caught by police.
Sad, tragic, and avoidable. The average passenger vehicle weighs between 2000 and 6000 pounds, effectively a tank to pedestrians and cyclists. When you get behind the wheel, you are driving a machine that can inflict tremendous damage on others, especially when distracted and not paying attention to where you are and what you are doing. Speeding, running red traffic signals, passing vehicles on the right (yes, it’s happened to me, too), not stopping for right turn on red are common violations that, most times, do not result in property damage or injury, perhaps just a few choice words from other drivers. But this week’s crashes remind us that driving, and walking, can be deadly.
When Eileen and others left their homes, they fully expected to return safely to their families and pets. It’s beyond tragic that they did not, and a reminder to slow down, be aware of where you are and what you are doing, and stay off your devices (that’s a state law) when driving. No life is worth a spilled drink.
- Following consideration by the Planning Commission, recommended changes to the county’s Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process regarding proposed land use changes to the Comprehensive Plan for individual sites, will be considered by the Board of Supervisors (BOS) Land Use Policy Committee on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. in the Board Auditorium, Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. The meeting may be viewed live on Channel 16 and online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cableconsumer/channel-16/stream. Live audio of the meeting may be accessed at 703-324-5300. The SSPA process currently operates on a four-year cycle divided every two years between the North and South County Supervisor Districts. Based on public comments and county staff analysis, a series of changes is being proposed, which include creating a countywide, two-year cycle, shortening the submission and screening period timelines, adapting community engagement to suit the needs of the study areas, and enhancing the criteria for submissions. Pending the outcome of the committee meeting, BOS action about the recommended changes is anticipated to occur on Tuesday, June 28. Recordings of recent SSPA Retrospective Open House discussions and a white paper containing the recommendations are available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/plan-amendments/sspa.
- Fairfax County Park Authority has begun construction of the Boyd A. and Charlotte M. Hogge Park, located at 3139 Glen Carlyn Road in Falls Church. Grading is in progress with construction of the parking lot anticipated to begin this month by the contractor, Bright Construction Group. Installation of a picnic shelter and playground equipment are anticipated late summer. The $2 million project, funded by voter-approved park bonds, includes an open play area, community gardens, multi-sport courts, play area, trail, and parking. Active construction is anticipated to be completed by early 2023. For more information, contact the Public Information Office via Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call 703-324-8662.
Early Voting by MAIL and IN-PERSON for June 21 Democratic Primary for the 8th Congressional District – In Fairfax County, there is a Democratic primary election for the U.S. House of Representatives, 8th Congressional District on June 21, 2022. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, 2022, and must be completed and returned by Election Day. To apply online for a Virginia absentee ballot and to verify whether you reside in the 8th Congressional District, visit the Virginia State Board of Elections website at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. Additional information about absentee voting is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/absentee and www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/. IN-PERSON early voting is in progress at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. Hour of operation are Weekdays, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Closed Memorial Day, May 30, 2022) and Saturday, June 11 and 18, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Early voting is available at five satellite locations, from June 11-18 (last week of voting), which include the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, and the Thomas Jefferson Library, 7415 Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church. Hours of operation at all satellite locations are Weekdays, 1-7 p.m. and Saturday, June 11 and 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For a complete list of in-person voting locations, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/early-voting. Information about casting a ballot in-person and acceptable forms of identification is available at www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/in-person-voting/. Questions? Contact the Office of Elections at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-222-0776, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. On Election Day, polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. There are no Republican primary elections for the U.S. House of Representatives in Fairfax County this year.
Farmers Market Returns to Mason District Park – Enjoy the Farmers Market at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale every Thursday morning, through November 3, 2022, from 8 a.m. until Noon. The Farmers Market offers produce raised by farmers on their farms, or items made from scratch for your summertime enjoyment. For a listing of vendors at Mason District Park this season, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/farmersmarkets/annandale. For a complete county-wide schedule, and other information about the Farmer’s Markets, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/farmersmarkets, or call the Community Horticulture Office at 703-642-0128; TTY 711. COVID-19 Guidelines at FCPA Farmers Markets: Customers are not required to wear a mask. Please be respectful of others and stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness.
FCPA Celebrates National Trails Day June 4, 2022 – National Trails Day is celebrated each year on the first Saturday in June, and the Fairfax County Park Authority is highlighting the day in several ways. This year, the Park Authority is featuring National Trails Day programs at its parks and events at its RECenters. Learn about the history of the trail system in Fairfax County and how you can enjoy more than 334 trails throughout our community. For information about scheduled activities and locations, visit the National Trails Day page at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/topics/trails-day.
VDOT Hosts Update Meetings for I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension Project (495 NEXT) – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in collaboration with Transurban and contractor Lane Construction, will host two project update meetings, one virtual and one in-person, on Monday, June 6 (in-person) and Tuesday, June 7, 2022 (virtual) that will include a presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session. The meetings will focus on:
- Upcoming construction activities, including a preliminary timeline;
- Expected construction impacts;
- Project design changes and enhancements;
- New interactive map showing latest construction, designs, and plans; and
- Coordination with the adjacent George Washington Memorial Parkway rehabilitation project and the New American Legion Bridge I-270 Traffic Relief Plan.
In-Person Meeting: Monday, June 6, 2022, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (presentation at 7 p.m.)
Langley High School Auditorium, 6520 Georgetown Pike, McLean, Virginia 22101.
Virtual Meeting: Tuesday, June 7, 2022, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (presentation at 6:30 p.m.)
Visit 495NEXT.org/public_meetings for details about how to join the meeting.
The 495 NEXT project will extend north by two-and-one-half miles, from the Dulles Corridor to the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchanges near the American Legion Bridge, and provide congestion relief, add travel choices, improve travel reliability, and enhance safety on a vital corridor in Northern Virginia and the region. The 495 NEXT project is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Transurban. For more information, visit www.495NEXT.org.
Annandale High School Offers Summer Sports Camps – Start an exciting summer season with a variety of Summer Sports Camps offered by Annandale High School, 4700 Medford Drive in Annandale, for rising second graders through rising ninth graders and led by Annandale High School coaches. Register online, or at https://forms.gle/zEY9RLmrXvrPsJZ76, for one or more camps: Boys Multi-Sport, Boys Basketball, Olympics, Girls Multi-Sport, and Girls Basketball. Some camps will be held at Holmes Middle School, 6525 Montrose Street in Alexandria. For more information, contact Director of Student Activities John Ellenberger at email@example.com.
Spotlight by Starlight at Mason District Park and Cultural Performances at Ossian Hall Park Return in June! – The Fairfax County Park Authority welcomes everyone to in-person performances at its parks this summer! The Spotlight by Starlight Summer Concerts series begins every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m., from Friday, June 17 – Saturday, August 20, 2022, at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale. A concert schedule is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances/spotlight-by-starlight. Children’s programs begin at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. Ossian Hall Park, 7900 Heritage Drive in Annandale, will feature cultural performances every Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m., beginning Saturday, June 18 – Saturday, August 20, 2022. For a complete 2022 Summer Entertainment Series schedule, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances. For rain cancellations, call 703-324-SHOW (7469) one hour prior to the performance. Questions? Contact the Park Authority by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-324-7469.
Commemorate Juneteenth with the Park Authority – The Fairfax County Park Authority is celebrating Juneteenth with programs at four of its parks on Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19, 2022. Two programs will be featured at Green Spring Gardens Park, located at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria:
- Saturday, June 18, 2022: Juneteenth Celebration in the Garden 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (5-Adult) Register Online
- Sunday, June 19, 2022: Juneteenth: Jane Austen and Slavery 1-3 p.m. (Adults), call 703-941-7987 to register for this historic program and tea.
For a complete list of Juneteenth activities visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/juneteenth. For a list of upcoming programs, activities, and events at Green Spring Gardens Park, visit call 703-642-5173, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/green-spring.
Reminder: Solarize Fairfax County is Underway Until June 30, 2022 – To help residents and businessowners reduce the cost and complexity of investing in solar energy, Fairfax County has its 2022 Solarize Campaign underway through June 30, 2022, and has bulk discounts on solar arrays available. Participate in a virtual Solarize information session on Tuesday, June 7 at 1 p.m. To sign up, visit https://solarizenova.org/events. Additional information about the 2022 Solarize Campaign is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/environment-energy-coordination/solarize-fairfax-county. Sign up for a free solar assessment of your property at https://solarizenova.org/solarize-fairfax-county.
Hot Car Death Prevention – With temperatures on the rise, the Fairfax County Police Department reminds everyone about one of the dangers of leaving a child unattended in a car. The temperature inside a vehicle rapidly can reach deadly levels. Here are a few safety tips to help prevent hot car deaths:
- Always check the vehicle’s back seat and make sure children are out of the car before locking it and walking away.
- Put your bag, cell phone, or purse in the back seat so you check it before leaving your car.
- Keep your car locked when parked to prevent a child from entering when no one is around.
- Store keys out of a child’s reach.
- Teach children cars are not safe places to play.
If you see a child locked in a hot car, immediately dial 911.
Mason District Station Hosts In-Person CAC Meeting – Join the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 7 p.m., and welcome the new Assistant Commander, Lt. Mohammed Oluwa. An officer from the FCPD’s new Auto Theft Unit will provide an update about current motor vehicle theft trends and prevention. CAC meetings are open to ALL residents in the Mason Police District. The Mason District Station is located at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Questions? Contact MPO Evan Dicker at email@example.com.
- Child Car Seat Safety Inspections – A NHTSA-certified Child Passenger Safety Technician can inspect your child’s car seat and ensure it is installed correctly on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the station, from 9 - 11:30 a.m.; no appointment is necessary. Child car seats are inspected on a first-come, first-served basis, with the last car seat inspections beginning at 11:30 a.m. For more information, call 703-256-8035, press zero for the front desk.
- Officers Co-Host “Stuff the Cruiser” Food Drive – Officers from the Mason District Station, in collaboration with the Bailey’s Crossroads Rotary Club, will co-host a “Stuff the Cruiser” Food Drive on Saturday, June 18, 2022, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the Giant Food grocery store, 7137 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Rotary Club members, the Fairfax County Public Safety Cadet Unit 505, and the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), also will accept food donations from generous shoppers. All food donations will be delivered to the ACCA Food Pantry, located at 7200 Columbia Pike in Annandale. For more information, contact MPO Evan Dicker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McLean District Station Hosts In-Person Community Engagement Meeting – The McLean District Station will host its first in-person meeting this summer on Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 7 p.m. The station is located at 1437 Balls Hill Road in McLean. Community Engagement Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month.
- Child Car Seat Safety Inspections – The McLean District Station hosts child safety seat inspections twice a month on a first-come, first-served basis. The next child safety seat inspections will be held on Saturday, June 18 and Saturday, June 25, 2022, from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. For more information, call the station at 703-556-7750.
Franconia District Station Community Engagement Meetings in 2022 – The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) welcomes Sgt. Travis Tate on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at 7 p.m., who will discuss the specialized work of the Search and Rescue Team. CAC meetings are open to all residents in the Franconia Police District. The Franconia District Station, located at 6121 Franconia Road in Alexandria, hosts in-person meetings the third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the station’s Community Room. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/district/franconia for information about upcoming community meetings, contact Community Outreach Officer PFC Cindy Osegueda by e-mail at Cindy.Osegueda@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call the station at 703-922-0889.
- Child Car Seat Inspections – The Franconia District Station, offers child safety seat inspections twice a month on a first-come, first-served basis. The next child safety seat inspections will be held on Saturday, June 4 and Saturday, June 18, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Parents will learn how to install the seat properly. Questions? Call the station at 703-922-0889.
- “CRASE” Training – CRASE, or “Citizen Response to Active Shooter Events,” is one of several programs the Franconia Crime Prevention Office offers. CRASE works to educate and empower community members to increase survivability in the event of an active shooter/active attack event. Organization leaders interested in hosting or participating in a CRASE seminar, contact Crime Prevention Officer Sean Corcoran at 703-922-0889 or by e-mail at FCPDFranconiaCPO@fairfaxcounty.gov.
- Subscribe to Newsletter - The Franconia Community Report is an e-mail newsletter with information for Franconia District community members, and includes crime statistics, tips to stay safe, community events, crime prevention programs, and more! To subscribe visit https://form.jotform.com/FCPD/newsletter-registration-nextdoor.
West Springfield District Station Hosts Virtual CAC Meeting – The West Springfield District Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will host a virtual Community Engagement Meeting on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 7 p.m. The featured speaker is 2Lt. Anthony Stancampiano, who will discuss the "The South County Police Station." Join via Zoom, or by telephone. The meetings generally are held the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m., except for July and August. Participants also may sign up for the West Springfield CAC newsletter at email@example.com. Questions? Contact MPO Tony Capizzi at 703-277-2363. There will be Spanish language interpretation available for this meeting. Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or Telephone: USA 636-651-3141 or USA 877-402-9753 (US Toll Free); Conference code: 404496.
- Hidden in Plain Sight (HIPS) – HIPS, a community awareness program (adults only), educates parents and caregivers about current trends and signs of risky behavior in the teenage population. On Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at 6:30 p.m., learn about alcohol, tobacco, vape, narcotic use, and other risky behaviors. The training will be held at the West Springfield District Governmental Center Community Room, 6140 Rolling Road in Springfield. Register at www.eventbrite.com/e/hidden-in-plain-sight-tickets-348227807747 Questions? Contact MPO Tony Capizzi at 703-277-2363 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographic Art Featured at Mason District Governmental Center – Photographic art by Conner Cummings will be on display at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Cummings, an autistic and published artist, uses a camera as a way of communicating through still photography. Some of his work features nature scenes, life scenes, and animals. Cummings also has a Virginia law, Conner’s Law, named after him that requires parents to continue to provide financial support for their adult disabled children. The artwork will be on display in the Supervisor’s Office through June 30, 2022.
Mason E-Newsletter and Updates – To receive the monthly E-Newsletter and periodic updates about Fairfax County services and events in Mason District, send an e-mail to email@example.com to subscribe. If you wish to unsubscribe, send an e-mail, and include unsubscribe in the subject line to remove your e-mail address from the subscription list.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – Having a pet can be a wonderful experience that also requires planning, care, time, and dedication. Depending on a person’s lifestyle and the animal chosen, having a pet also can be a challenge. While some owners may consider their pets as family members, they still are animals with different needs and require constant attention. Fortunately, most owners love and care for their pets, but not all animals find their way to a loving home right away. In Fairfax County, the shelter accepts all companion animals who need care, regardless of health, age, temperament, or history. The Fairfax County Animal Shelter staff and volunteers take excellent care of their temporary guests, and work hard to find permanent homes for them. The June edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Reasa Currier, the new director of the Department of Animal Sheltering. Mason Matters! airs on Cable Channel 16 every Thursday at 7 p.m., and every Friday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m., and daily online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mason.
The Quick 411 – This summer, I am determined to reduce mosquitos in my yard. Can Fairfax County offer some tips? Yes. You can control mosquitos where you live by following a simple plan. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a teaspoon of water, so eliminating or treating standing water is key. Fairfax County’s “Your Field Guide to Battle Mosquitoes” offers suggestions about how to control and protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes. For more information, visit Your Field Guide to Battle Mosquitoes | News Center (fairfaxcounty.gov) (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/your-field-guide-battle-mosquitoes).
By requesting e-mails from Fairfax County, please know that your contact information is protected from release under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) unless you specifically tell us otherwise. Should you wish for your contact information to be released in response to a FOIA request for the same, then please email FOIA@fairfaxcounty.gov.