Transcript News to Use Podcast

Fairfax County Podcasts

Feb. 13, 2019

Good day, and welcome to the Fairfax County News to Use podcast. Coming up, learn about the county’s “Slow Down. You Live Here. We Live Here” campaign, jury duty scams, the county’s strategic plan survey and the 50+ survey, the importance of soil, Ask Your Library and National Donor Day. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at


Fairfax County’s “Slow Down: You Live Here. We Live Here” campaign aims to make people more alert about the dangers of neighborhood speeding. In past years, the county has allocated funds to address the speed issue from both educational and enforcement perspectives. Key among these is a neighborhood toolkit that includes yard signs with the campaign logo and a series of public service announcement videos for residents to show and share. The yard signs are available from the Office of Public Affairs. Email your request to, or stop by the Information Desk at the Government Center lobby, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax to pick some up. More information about the campaign, along with videos and resources, is also available online at; just search “slow down.”


Jury duty scam artists are calling around. Here’s how they work and what you should know. The scam: A caller identifies themselves as either a Sheriff's deputy or a local police officer. They inform you that you missed jury duty and that you now owe a fine of several hundred dollars. You are then threatened with arrest if you do not pay the fine. They may even ask you to obtain a Green Dot Money Pak Card and then call back in order to pay the fine. Please remember — this is a scam! Fairfax County courts, police or sheriff’s officers will never call you and ask you to give your bank account number, credit card number, Social Security number or any kind of money card. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office at 703 246-4111 or the police non-emergency line at 703-246-2131.


We’ve received a number of questions on the county’s social media channels about the ongoing strategic plan and 50+ community surveys. To help clarify, the strategic plan survey is available for anyone of any age to take! Visit to find the survey — more than 5,000 people have taken it so far, so make sure your voice is heard. You also can sign up for one of four community conversations (Feb. 25, Feb. 26, March 4 and March 6). Many of you may have received a postcard in the mail, too, with some of this information. The 50+ community survey is for a randomly selected group of people age 50+ who will receive a yellow postcard in the mail with instructions. If you’d like more information about the survey, then visit Results from the 50+ survey also will help inform the strategic plan. Please note, however, that the 50+ survey is not available for everyone to take. Thank in advance for your participation in one or both surveys!


The soil is an oft forgotten part of the ecosystem, but is extremely important, especially for trees. Components of soil are minerals (sand, silt and clay), air, water and carbon (organic matter). Healthy soils are also teeming with life, most of which is microscopic. In urban environments, soils are often heavily disturbed and degraded due to construction of roads, buildings and houses. When soils are disturbed, they lose many of their beneficial characteristics resulting in reduced water filtration and less hospitable environments for soil-borne organisms and plant roots to grow. Soils and their structure may take hundreds or even millions of years to form, so restoration after disturbance takes time and effort. The best strategy is to avoid disturbance, which is usually not realistic in urban environments. However, there are a few relatively easy options that can help to restore soil quality, including applying organic matter such as compost, leaf or wood mulch and manure to mineral soils; covering areas of bare soil; retaining existing plants and trees; and planting diverse native plants and trees. These strategies help to reduce erosion, conserve water, hold onto soil and increase drainage. Incorporating diverse plants and trees encourages a diverse community of soil microorganisms that is a vital part of soil health. Consider having a soil test to determine the pH, nutrient and organic matter content of your soil. Soil tests are available from the Virginia Cooperative Extension. You also can learn what kind of soil you have by using Fairfax County’s new soils viewer application, search “soils information” at For additional questions, contact the urban forester of the day at 703-324-1770, or by email at, or by contacting the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at 703-324-1460.


The library has launched a new online reference service called “Ask Your Library.” It’s easy to chat with library staff just click on the “Ask Your Library!” button on any page on the library’s website, Type your question in the chat screen. That’s it! Live chat is available Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to noon, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Staff invite questions on any subject including traditional reference questions, questions about your account, library services, programs or other topics.


Valentine’s Day comes around once a year, but it is also National Donor Day to remind us that lives can be saved year around through another simple act of love. The need for organ, eye and tissue donors never goes away. Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor — it’s easy to do and there’s no cost to donors or their families. Just say yes to donation at the DMV or go to to register online. You also can call 1-866-BE A DONOR for more information. That’s 1-866-232-3666. This Valentine’s Day, share the ultimate gift of love. Become a donor.


Finally, Fairfax County’s Weekly Agenda provides meeting agendas and information for the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals, plus county news. Find it in your inbox Thursday mornings by subscribing at


That’s all for this News to Use podcast. Thanks for listening. For more information about the topics in this podcast and for news updates, visit You also may call 703-FAIRFAX, that’s 703-324-7329, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or email News to Use is produced by the Fairfax County, Va., Government.