The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – For a "short" month, November has a number of significant dates to keep in mind. First, daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 3. This is the time of "fall back" or set your clocks back one hour, and get that extra hour of sleep you missed in the spring. Since many of our household electronic appliances have timekeeping capacity, re-setting the time may take a little while. Don't forget to re-set your vehicle clock, too.
Tuesday, November 5, is Election Day in Fairfax County. If you are a registered voter (I certainly hope you are!), you can vote at your regular polling place from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. The ballot is long this year — General Assembly seats, Board of Supervisors, School Board, Commonwealth's Attorney, Sheriff, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District directors, and a school bond referendum. Be sure to turn your ballot over so you don't miss a single vote.
Veterans Day is Monday, November 11. My grandfather, father, husband, and brother served in wartime and peacetime in various decades, so I especially am grateful for the opportunity that Veterans Day offers to remember the sacrifices of the many veterans still among us, and those who have passed on. In Mason District, the American Legion Post 1776 will hold a brief Veterans Day memorial at the cannon in downtown Annandale (Columbia Pike at Maple Place) at 11 a.m.
November wraps up with Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 28, a uniquely American holiday that brings families and friends together for feasting and football. In our community, however, some families are not as fortunate, and need extra assistance. If you can, please seek out an area food bank, or the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA), or other non-profit organization, and donate food or money to help others have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Civic engagement, service to our country, Thanksgiving blessings — November provides it all, here in Mason District and across Fairfax County and the Commonwealth. Vote, remember, and celebrate (and set your clocks back, too)!
Land Use News – Land use items of interest this month include:
Zoning Ordinance Modernization (zMOD) Project – zMOD, is Fairfax County's first major initiative to restructure the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance since 1978, by creating new categories, and modernizing the list of currently allowable land uses. Updates to the Zoning Ordinance will make it more readable, understandable, would streamline processes associated with land use and development, and assist the county with implementing its strategic plan to grow and diversify its economy. Information about zMOD is available at the Department of Planning and Development's website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/zmod, or by contacting the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314; TTY 711, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Wilson Boulevard over Arlington Boulevard Bridge Construction Ends in November – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is completing final structural work on the Wilson Boulevard over Arlington Boulevard Bridge. Weather permitting, an overnight lane closure on the Wilson Boulevard bridge deck is scheduled for Monday, November 4 to overlay the bridge with asphalt. The bridge will be closed to traffic from eastbound Arlington Boulevard, and east and westbound Leesburg Pike during paving. Additional work to complete includes installation of an anti-scale pedestrian fence; and painting of the beams on the external side of the structural steel at both ends of the bridge. Barring any unforeseen delays, project completion is anticipated for November 30, 2019. For more information, visit the VDOT website at www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/wilson_over_50.asp.
The new I-395 Express Lanes are open for use in November. The eight-mile extension of the I-95 Express Lanes, from near Edsall Road in Fairfax County to the Washington D.C. line, converts the current HOV lanes on I-395 to Express Lanes, with a third lane to add capacity, and will be dynamically tolled reversible lanes - including the ramps near South Eads Street. To learn more about the 395 Express Lanes opening, visit www.expresslanes.com, or call the Express Lanes customer service team at 855-495-9777. The 395 Express Lanes Project is a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Transurban. The project includes an annual transit payment that will be used to support multimodal and transit improvements benefitting the I-395 and I-95 Corridor.
Pedestrian Improvements Underway on Columbia Pike at Lincolnia Road – Construction is in progress for a signalized pedestrian crossing on the south side of Columbia Pike at Lincolnia Road. The median island on Lincolnia Road will be trimmed back to accommodate a high visibility crosswalk (block style) and ADA ramps, which will connect to existing sidewalks on Lincolnia Road. The new south side crosswalk and the existing east side crosswalk on Columbia Pike will have Accessible Pedestrian Signals with tactile directional arrow on pushbutton and audible signal indication during the flashing "DON'T WALK" and a percussive tone during the "WALK." The project is anticipated to be complete this winter.
The 2019-2020 Hypothermia Prevention Program "No Turn Away Overflow" Begins November 15, 2019 – Fairfax County's Hypothermia Prevention Program is an integral part of the county's programs to prevent and end homelessness, and expands shelter capacity for individuals experiencing homelessness in two main ways – overflow space at three existing shelters that serve single adults, and auxiliary off-site programs that are hosted largely in partnership with various faith communities throughout the county. The shelters serving single adults activate a "no-turn-away" (NTA) policy by providing overflow space, which also is implemented in non-winter months during extreme temperature and weather conditions. Individuals staying in an NTA Overflow shelter or the off-site program can engage in case management services, including assistance with basic needs, housing, employment, benefits, behavioral, or physical health.
Families with children who need shelter must contact Coordinated Services Planning (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/neighborhood-community-services/coordinated-services-planning) at 703-222-0880, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to gain access. After business hours, families with children in need of shelter should go directly to the nearest family shelter. Phone numbers and addresses for year-round shelters are available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/emergency-shelters. If you see someone at risk, call 911. Information about Fairfax County's Hypothermia Program is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/hypothermia-prevention-program, or call 703-324-9492. For general questions about the Hypothermia Prevention Program, contact Abby Dunner in the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Spring Gardens Features: The Story of Pie – Just in time for the holidays, learn about the history of pie on Sunday, November 24, 2019, from 1 - 3 p.m. at Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria. Pie is an American tradition and its history dates back for thousands of years and adapted to every culture. Treat visiting friends and family members to the entertaining story of pie and enjoy some pie at a traditional English afternoon tea. Reservations are required. For more information and to make reservations, call 703-941-7987. Information about this and other events at Green Spring Gardens Park is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/green-spring/events, or by calling 703-642-5173; TTY 711.
Save the Date: Gardeners' Holiday Open House – On Sunday, December 8, 2019, from 12 - 4 p.m., Green Spring Gardens Park and the Friends of Green Spring (FROGS) invite gardeners of all ages to a festive day of activities. Enjoy fresh holiday treats and decorations, music, holiday breads and ornaments for sale, and free refreshments. Children can enjoy a puppet show at 1 or 3 p.m. (advance registration recommended). Admission to the Open House is free. Green Spring Gardens Park is located at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria. For more information, call Green Spring Gardens Park at 703-642-5173, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring.
Save the Date for Mason District's Holiday Town Gathering – Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross invites you to Mason District's Holiday Town Gathering on Thursday, December 12, 2019, from 7 - 9 p.m. at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Refreshments and entertainment will be provided at this annual holiday event.
Watercolor and Acrylic Paintings Featured at Mason District Governmental Center – The works of artist David B. Goldstein are on display at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. A native of New York, who now resides in Lake Barcroft, Goldstein's artwork has been exhibited in Hong Kong, Rome, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. His style of painting strives to conjure a more objective and universal how "it" feels to be standing in front of a subject, and expresses a feeling that flows from a place or event. An editor at North Light Publishing once described Goldstein's artwork as "planned spontaneity." The artwork is on display in the lobby beginning November 1 through December 31, 2019.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – On occasion, our recollection may fail us. What was that jazz ensemble we heard at the park? It's on the tip of my tongue! Where did I put my car keys? Now, imagine if you, or someone close to you, is becoming increasingly forgetful, disoriented, and confused. These may be signs of a serious problem that may be starting to develop. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are two different and serious conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. Some causes of dementia can be managed, while Alzheimer's disease is irreversible. Knowing the difference is important, though both illnesses lead to crucial decisions about treatment, finances, estate planning, and so much more. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging's initiative, Dementia Friendly America, aims to increase dementia awareness across multiple sectors of the community and offers increased support to caregivers. Fairfax County is one of 35 Dementia Friendly Communities in the country. The November edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Christi Clark, executive director for Insight Memory Care Center, and Jessica Peters, administrator of assisted living at Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads. 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 on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mason.
The Quick 411 – I heard the Fairfax County Public Library is preparing to launch a new catalog. Is there information available about the planned changes to the system? Yes. The Fairfax County Public Library will launch a new and improved system on Wednesday, November 13, 2019. The new library catalog will provide:
Friendlier, smarter searching;
Direct download of e-Books and e-Audiobooks from OverDrive, RBDigital, etc.;
Optional user-created logon (instead of library card number);
User-curated lists for favorite authors, genres and titles;
Auto-renewals of physical materials; and
Text notification (in addition to e-mail notification).
For more information, including FAQS, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/new-library-catalog.