The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – Hard to believe, but school is back in session, so extra care needs to be exercised by drivers in school zones and near bus stops in neighborhoods. It is not unusual for my office to receive calls from horrified parents who report drivers routinely passing stopped school buses. That infraction can cost you significant fines, and probably some embarrassment, if you are stopped by police. The delay is momentary; aren't our children's lives worth it?
A new school year also marks a return to civic and community activities after a hot and wet summer. Some county and district-wide events are included in this newsletter, but I encourage you to participate in your civic association, HOA, and school events this fall. It's a great way to get to know your neighbors!
Many Mason District residents enjoyed the free Spotlight by Starlight concerts at Mason District Park this summer. Only three of the 30 evening concerts got rained out during this wet summer, and more than 5000 people attended overall. The most popular show was Last Train Home, a local roots/rock band that welcomed more than 400 people. The Capitol Steps, traditionally the biggest attraction of the summer series, presented a complete show on a threatening weather night, which kept the attendance down to about 300. Nearly 1200 people attended the Saturday morning children's shows, and another 1250 enjoyed the Saturday night international cultural series at Ossian Hal Park. Plans already are underway for next summer's shows, and that schedule will be released in the spring.
There is information elsewhere in this newsletter about the November 5 election, voter registration deadlines, and absentee in-person voting. Although considered an "off off-year" election, this year's ballot will have more races and referenda than most. All of the General Assembly seats (Delegate and State Senate), Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and all magisterial Supervisor seats, School Board at-large and district seats, the Sheriff, Commonwealth's Attorney, Soil and Water Conservation District, and a school bond referendum question, will be on the ballot. All are four-year terms except Delegate, a two-year term. By my count, a Mason District voter can mark the ballot for 13 candidates! It's an important election, so please make sure you know your polling location, and if you've moved recently, update your registration.
Land Use News – Land use items of interest this month include:
- The Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter and Supportive Housing, located at 5914 Seminary Road in Bailey's Crossroads, is nearing completion. When completed and operational, this modern facility will feature:
- Fifty-two emergency shelter beds to serve single adults including four medical respite beds;
- Approximately 18 personal living quarters;
- Outdoor picnic and activity area;
- Surface parking, as required;
- 24-hour staffing, including guidance and counselling; and
- Hypothermia prevention program.
Information about the project is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/capital-projects/baileys-crossroads-community-shelter-and-supportive-housing. For information about the programs of the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/, or call 703-324-9492; TTY 711.
- With the concrete composite bridge deck and beams replaced, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) continues structural work on the Wilson Boulevard over Arlington Boulevard Bridge. From August to late November, single lane closures on Route 50/Arlington Boulevard and on Wilson Boulevard will be in effect to complete construction of sidewalks and bridge railings. Additional improvements include:
- Reconstructing the existing sidewalk leading to the bridge;
- New sidewalk along the opposite sides of the bridge;
- Upgrading the bridge railings and pedestrian fence (anti-scale);
- Improving curb and gutter on the southeastern approach to the bridge; and
- New concrete approach walls on all corners of the bridge.
Visit the VDOT website www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/wilson_over_50.asp for more
Applications for 2020 Conference Room Reservations Accepted September 1, 2019 – The Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, has conference rooms available for use by community groups based in Fairfax County. Applications for the 2020 calendar year will be accepted beginning Sunday, September 1, 2019. Reservation rules and forms are available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mason/mason-district-room-use-application-form. Completed forms may be submitted by e-mail at email@example.com or by fax at 703-354-8419. Reservations will be confirmed by e-mail when the application is processed.
Projects Proposed for Transportation Alternatives Funding – The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) urges Fairfax County residents to participate in a public meeting about several projects to be submitted for the Transportation Alternatives Set Aside Project (TAP) application process. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, Conference Room 2, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. FCDOT staff will present information about the program, followed by a question-and-answer session. Fairfax County projects included in the Transportation Alternatives Grant application include:
- Shrevewood Elementary (Safe Routes to School Program);
- Orange Hunt Elementary (School Safe Routes to School Program);
- Capital Bikeshare Expansion;
- Mason Neck Park Trail; and
- Columbia Pike Complete Streets.
Public comment is welcome at the meeting, or by completing an online form at the FCDOT website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transportation/contact/transportation_alternatives_prog. Comments must be received by October 4, 2019.
Shaping the Future of Fairfax County Together: Community Conversations Set – The Fairfax County Strategic Plan is at Phase 4: Community Engagement, and six community conversations are scheduled in September. In Mason District, a community conversation will be held on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Justice High School, 3301 Peace Valley Lane in Falls Church. Learn about the progress of the county's first-ever strategic plan, and the nine areas of focus identified by our community. Need assistance to attend? Arrangements for reasonable ADA accommodations, child care, transportation assistance, and interpretation services can be made by calling Angela Jones at 703-324-5302, TTY 711, or send an e-mail to Angela.Jones@fairfaxcounty.gov. For more information about the strategic plan, subscribe to e-mail updates, and to register for one of the six community conversations in September, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/strategicplan/.
Jury Duty Questionnaires are in the Mail – This is not a scam. Approximately 58,000 Fairfax County or City of Fairfax residents will receive a jury questionnaire in the mail. Potential jurors are randomly selected from voter registration lists to represent a cross section of the community. The questionnaire is the beginning of a screening process to determine who is qualified to serve. Visit the Fairfax County NewsCenter at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/13119-2/ for information about the process. Information about the Fairfax Circuit Court is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/circuit/, or calling 703-691-7320; TTY 711.
Federal Assistance Available for Storm Damages Sustained July 6-8 – Residents and business owners affected by severe weather and flooding from July 6-8, 2019, may apply for federal disaster assistance through low-interest loans. Rates are as low as 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters, 4 percent for businesses of all sizes, and 2.75 percent for non-profit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. These loans cover replacement and repair of physical damages to your home or business, including fencing, decks, driveways, landscaping, insurance deductibles, and damaged personal items, including cars. If repairs are in progress, applications for loans will be accepted to cover out-of-pocket expenses by using receipts and photos to document claims. Businesses of all sizes, non-profits, homeowners, and renters must submit applications for physical damage loans by October 7, 2019. Small businesses and non-profit organizations also may apply for economic injury disaster loans for working capital through May 7, 2020. For more information, visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/, call 800-659-2955 (800-877-8399 for the deaf and hard of hearing), or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hurricane Season is Still in Effect this Fall – The Atlantic hurricane season is in effect, with its peak from now until late October, and ending on November 30, 2019. If you have not done so already, update emergency plans, refresh supplies for your family and pets, and be ready if a tropical storm affects our region. The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for coordinating preparedness, response, and recovery efforts for significant emergency events that may occur in our community. For information, and to be Ready Fairfax, visit the OEM website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergencymanagement/, or call 571-350-1000.
Final 2019 Document Shredding Event Set – The Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program will host the final 2019 Document Shredding event on Saturday, September 14, 2019, from 7 - 11 a.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. Vehicles must be in line no later than 11 a.m. Event concludes at 11 a.m. For additional information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/recycling-trash/document-shredding, or call 703-324-5230; TTY 711.
George Mason Regional Library Fall 2019 Semi-Annual Book Sale – Don't miss out on the George Mason Friends semi-annual book sale, featuring thousands of books, movies, music, e-games, and more, on Thursday, September 26, 3-9 p.m.; Friday, September 27, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Saturday, September 28, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; and Sunday, September 29 noon - 5 p.m. The book sale will be held at the George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. For more information, call 703-813-6616, or visit http://georgemasonfriends.blogspot.com/.
Thinking about Volunteering or Are Already a Volunteer? – Fairfax County invites you to the Venture into Volunteering Fair at the Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center in Chantilly on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Representatives from more than 90 organizations will be there to share information about a wide variety of volunteer opportunities in Northern Virginia. Attendees can help onsite that day by bringing shelf-stable food to donate to Food for Others, dental hygiene supplies for the Children's Project Mobile Dental Van, gently used hearing aids/eyeglasses for the Lions Club, or by donating blood to the American Red Cross. (Call 1-800-733-2767 to schedule blood donations.) It's all free and no registration is necessary. Door prizes throughout the event! Go to http://bit.ly/venturefair2019 for more information.
Save the Date: Taste of Annandale Celebrates Community – The fifth annual "Taste of Annandale" will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., along Tom Davis Drive, between Columbia Pike and John Marr Drive. This community event opens with a 5K Race at 9:30 a.m., departing from 4251 John Marr Drive in Annandale. Registration for "early bird" runners is available at https://runsignup.com/Race/VA/Annandale/AnnandaleTasteofAnnandale5k. Taste of Annandale features local international cuisines, live multicultural music and dance, and much more. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Taste of Annandale website at https://tasteofannandale.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tasteofannandale, or call Bob Kahane at 703-856-8773.
Annandale Pop-Up Park to Host Community Day in October – Save the date for the Community Day at the pop-up park at 7200 Columbia Pike on Saturday, October 5, 2019, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., to coincide with the Taste of Annandale. Stop by during the final event of the 2019 programming series and enjoy family friendly activities and games hosted by a variety of county agencies and community partners! Advance registration is encouraged at www.fcrevite.org/annandale/parkcivicspace.html. Need more information? Contact Laura Baker at Laura.Baker@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-324-9300. The 2019 Programming Series is presented by the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development Community Revitalization Section, and the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Is Your Voter Registration Current? – If you have had a change in name or address, or are unsure of your status, you may update your voter registration online at the Virginia Department of Elections website: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. You are eligible to register to vote if you are: a citizen of the United States; at least 18 years of age by the next general election; and a resident of Virginia. To vote in the November 5, 2019 General Election, you must be registered by the October 15 deadline. You can register online at the Virginia Department of Elections website or in-person at the Fairfax County Office of Elections. Office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and Thursday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Please note that office hours are extended for statutory deadlines. Additional information about voter registration is available at the Fairfax County Office of Elections website: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/voter-registration.
Note Absentee Voting Deadlines for the November 5, 2019 General Election – Mark your calendars with the deadlines for the upcoming General Election on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
- October 15: Voter Registration Deadline (In-Person/By Mail) 5 p.m.; Online: 11:59 p.m.
- October 29: Deadline to apply to receive an Absentee Ballot by mail, 5 p.m.
- November 2: Deadline for In-Person Absentee Voting, 5 p.m.
- November 5: Absentee Ballot return deadline, 7 p.m.
Farmer's Market Continues this Fall at Mason District Park – The Farmer's Market, hosted by the Fairfax County Park Authority countywide, continues this fall in Annandale every Thursday morning until November 7, 2019, from 8 a.m. until 12 noon at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike. For a complete county-wide schedule, and other information about the Farmer's Markets visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/farmersmarkets, or call 703-642-0128; TTY 711.
Election Officers Needed! – Fairfax County needs Election Officers for upcoming 2019 elections. Election Officers are needed at each of the 243 precincts to run the polls and assist voters. Interested individuals must be registered voters in Virginia and complete required training and forms. Individuals may choose to accept the $175 stipend for a full day or volunteer their time. Language Election Officers, who speak Korean or Vietnamese, are needed in certain areas of Fairfax County. Training (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/election-officers/election-officer-training) begins in September. Residency in Fairfax County is not required. To apply, complete and submit the online form at: www.vote4fairfax.com/apply. For more information, visit the Office of Elections website (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/election-officers/working) or call 703-324-4735; TTY 711.
Save the Date: All-You-Can-Eat Crab Legs and Spiced Shrimp Feast! – Join the Annandale and Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Firefighters for a seafood feast on Sunday, October 27, 2019, 2 - 5 p.m. at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department, 7128 Columbia Pike in Annandale. For more information, send an e-mail to email@example.com. The Annandale and Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Departments are non-profit 501c (3) organizations, all donations are tax deductible, and may be mailed to: AVFD, P.O. Box 806, Annandale, VA 22003; and to the Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 1159, Falls Church, VA 22041-3609.
Abstract Painting Featured at Mason District Governmental Center – The works of artist Georges Hayek will be on display at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. An American-French-Lebanese artist born in Beirut, Lebanon, Hayek's abstract style of painting gives form to sounds of melancholia and qualm that create roiling vortexes of colors and lines. When the paintings are finished, they become a focal point of different dimensions. The artwork will be on display in the lobby from September 5, through October 31, 2019.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – Opioids can provide helpful pain relief, but if misused, they can cause serious health problems, even death. Sadly, use and addiction to heroin and other opioids is on the rise, and deaths from their use are skyrocketing. Opioid overdose is a national epidemic, and Fairfax County is not immune, as we, too, are facing this growing public health emergency. Our April 2019 Mason Matters program focused on the causes of opioid addiction, their effects on individuals and communities, and what is being done to address this epidemic. Help is available, but what all does that entail? – and what is the process for a successful recovery? The September edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Detective Jeremy Hoffman with the Overdose Investigations Unit, Fairfax County Police Department, and Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, director of the Epidemiology and Population Health Division, Fairfax County Health Department. 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 – Is there a place where I can learn about how to properly dispose batteries and other household hazardous waste? Yes. From electronics to aerosols, what you put in the trash matters. Electronics often contain rechargeable batteries, specifically lithium-ion, and should never be thrown away. When damaged or exposed, such as breaking apart at a trash plant, these batteries pose a major fire hazard. In 2018, county residents dropped off more than 1,000 pounds of lithium batteries at two household hazardous waste collection sites (I-66 Transfer Station in Fairfax, and the I-95 Landfill Complex in Lorton). Please join the crowd and drop off these batteries. Residents also may recycle rechargeable batteries and cell phones at Supervisor Gross' office in the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Batteries labeled Alkaline can be disposed of in the regular trash, but follow these tips from our fire marshal: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/dont-spark-trash-fire-properly-dispose-batteries-household-hazardous-waste/.