Archive for the ‘Fairfax County’ Category

4-H Fair and Farm Show in Fairfax

Thanks, Fairfax County, for
this disturbing picture.

Neat stuff going on in Fairfax this Saturday and Sunday from the Fairfax County web site:

Find old-fashioned country fun at Frying Pan Farm Park with games, rides and exhibits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Watch the Fairfax County 4-H exhibitors prepare their project animals for the show. See antique equipment in fields and the barn. Get involved by trying your hand at milking a cow or goat, shelling corn or other farm chores. The fair is free for all. For information, call 703-437-9101.

Just remember – if you are milking anything, be sure it’s an animal with more than one udder. Otherwise it’s not milking; it’s a hand job. Seriously, get on out this weekend, cross the river into VA and get all Eddie Albert in Fairfax County.

Fighting Homelessness in Fairfax County

Every time I look at the Fairfax County web page, I see a link titled “Ending Homelessness.” I never looked at it until now, figuring it was another community essentially saying that “someone needs to do something.” I have heard this before – a mix of vague instruction and diffusion of responsibility. It makes me cringe to hear folks say that, knowing full well that they aren’t going to do anything.

So today I clicked on the link and found that Fairfax County actually has a plan. The last place I lived, Crap City, MA, had a plan as well – to make the city less attractive to homeless people so they would go somewhere else. That was both a bullshit strategy and an ineffective one.

Here is Fairfax County’s strategic plan to fight homelessness (PDF). It lays out the scope of the problem, a way of dealing with it and seems somewhat realistic. People have actually put thought into this, not just hot air.

Something that impressed me about Fairfax’s plan is that there is a section for what you can do to fight homelessness. It isn’t much, but it’s something. I think we should all spend some time working directly with or otherwise supporting homeless or low-income people to help them better their lives. There are plenty of opportunities – food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, education programs and more. Having worked with homeless folks and at-risk youth for more than two years, I can tell you it’s an incredible and very humbling experience.

What do you currently do or plan to do in this effort? Can you commit to helping others even a few hours per week?

July ExtravaCATza! At Fairfax County Animal Shelter

Connie 14-10-06_2138

Come to the ExtravaCATza! event.

This is the prime time to adopt a cat or kitten and to help you with that, the Fairfax County Animal Shelter is open four Sundays in July with kitties galore who need new homes. As a bonus, “The first 100 cats adopted in the month of July will receive a free spay or neuter, a potential savings of between $70 and $100.”

It’s already well into the month, so they may have adopted out the 100th cat already, but a discount castration is something you’d want to stand in line for, if you have to.

Be sure to check out the Shelter’s online animal viewing station as well. The pictures aren’t the highest quality but they are cute nonetheless. Fall in love with your new feline companion before even leaving the door. The one thing that could make this process even better is if they had home delivery and could swing by Akbar and Jeff‘s Castration Hut on the way.

Go check it out and give a little creature a new home and the warmth of your love.

Get on your bikes and ride! Vol. 1 – W&OD


As we enter our first spring like week of the year I am starting a series of profiles of area bike trails. I begin with my personal favorite, the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Park trail. In 2005 I rode the length of the trail from west to east in one afternoon.

An early example of the “rail-to-trail” phenomenon, W&OD was simply known as the “bike trail” to me and my friends when I was growing up. Now forty-five miles long, the flat, straight trail starts in Arlington, near Shirlington, and extends all the way past Leesburg to Purcellville. In actuality, the trail is part of W&OD Regional Park, which is the old railroad and current Virginia Power right-of-way (hence the high tension power lines), giving it dimensions of about 45 miles by 100 feet. Those 100 feet provide a buffer of nature through the most populated region of the commonwealth. Much of the Arlington portion traverses Four Mile Run Park while it parallels the windier Four Mile Run trail. Think of W&OD as I-95 to Four Mile’s US 1 and you get the idea of how the two trails exist together.

Tom Davis now supports a Tysons metro tunnel

Today’s Post reports that U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11th district) is now supporting building a tunnel for Metro’s new Dulles corridor line through Tyson’s Corner.

“I just want to assure you I’d like to see this below ground,” Davis told the crowd of 400. “Imagine what the construction is going to be like when they’re constructing this thing aboveground. It takes forever to get there now. Putting this thing underground saves a lot of that.”

Previously, Davis along with Frank Wolfe (R-10th district) openly supported an elevated line:I

n July, the Virginia Republican co-wrote a forceful letter warning Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) that switching to an underground route in Tysons could jeopardize federal funding for the 23-mile line. The warnings, repeated in later meetings, persuaded Kaine to reject a tunnel in September.

Virginia “may very well be rolling the dice on the future of this project,” warned the letter from Davis and Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.). “Simply put, we are concerned about the long-term viability of the project with any decision that could delay it.”

Wolfe, whose district may include portions of the tunnel (if it does not, it comes within a few yards of the project) is holding firm. Jim Moran (D, 3rd district) is as well.

“I’m here not to be a cheerleader, not to tell you what you want to hear. I’m going to tell you what I think you need to know,” Moran said. “I’m sorry I’m not the kind of politician you’d prefer to have standing here. . . . The worst thing we can do right now is promise something we can’t deliver.”

Davis is denying he has changed his mind to protect himself and his wife, state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax), from political fallout.

Gov. still says no to Tyson’s tunnel

Today’s Post reports that Gov. Tim Kaine (D) does not plan on changing his mind on Metro through Tysons, despite increased advocacy for a tunnel. Last fall, the governor announced that he supported an elevated line through Tyson’s Corner since it was the surest way to get the line built in a timely fashion.

Last week hopes for a tunnel seemingly got a boost when it was reported that final plans are not due until May 2008, buying time for an underground solution to be developed.

Snowfall totals

Two snowfall totals:

Pentagon City — 1″
Tyson’s Corner — 2″

How much did you get?

Hope for a Tysons tunnel

It turns out that there is more time to submit plans for Metro through Tysons Corner than previously thought. According to today’s Post final plans are not due to the Federal Transit Administration until May 2008, giving 15 months for boosters of a tunnel through Tysons to make their case.

The more and more I think about it, the more it makes sense to build the line underground through Tysons. It may only cost pennies (or more likely, nickles or dimes) on the dollar more and in the long run the reduced mantienance may make up the difference. Plus, it improves the chances of Tysons turning into more than just a series of corporate campuses and malls.

hey gmu – see if you get an donation from me now

Speaking of basketball at George Mason University – this year’s homecoming promises to be different from those in recent years – and no I’m not talking about the crappy poker-themed slogan "Green ‘n Gold Never Fold" (gag).

Back in the late 90’s if you were interested in tailgating before the homecoming game (or really any basketball game for that matter) you did it with your friends in the dorms. Sometime after the new millennium, school sponsors figured out it would be really great for our spirit-starved school to start hosting a block party in the parking lot outside the Patriot Center. Ever since then, the homecoming game has been a time when students and alumni could all get together and enjoy an a tailgating experience that once seemed reserved for folks that went to the state’s other public colleges/universities.

After many years of successful homecomings, the administration has decided they want to change things up. The word on the street is Mason has adopted a policy to ban all alcohol at this year’s Homecoming tailgate UNLESS they are purchased through the on-site vendor – and apparently you must also stay inside the confines of the beer garden they provide. Leave it my alma matter to take something that was once enjoyable (remember Mason Day before there was a fence and full cavity searches?) and turn it into a
shadow of its former self.

Mason’s policy essentially eliminates the kind of traditional tailgating that you would normally find at another college. I’m not saying the University should allow underage drinking. However, there are other ways to prevent it – like the police patrols they’ve had in the past. This approach just seems like another cheap tactic by the administration to make money off of what should be an enjoyable and spirited event – not commercial.

If you are an Alumnus, please take the time to read and sign this online petition. If you know someone who is an Alumnus, please forward them the link to this petition.

Another endorsement for the Tysons Tunnel

With state approval for elevated Metrorail track through Tyson’s Corner looming, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously endorsed running the new line through a tunnel (The Post) instead. Previously, Gov. Kaine and Reps. Davis and Wolfe have indicated that they do not believe funding for a tunnel can be found and support the elevated rail as a means to get the project done.

While I do not believe that the contemporary aesthetics (what aesthetics, right?) of Tyson’s will be greatly harmed by Mero tracks overhead, I cannot help but think that down the line there will be a collective “what were we thinking?!” if the line is elevated. Ultimately, building the tunnel will probably amount to pennies or maybe nickles on the dollar more in the end. If wish there had been this outcry years ago though.

Based on what I read in Zach Schrag’s The Great Society Subway (MBDC Q&A) I would actually put the odds of the Tyson’s portion being tunneled over 50%. Community opposition has shaped and reshaped Metro countless times, so there is hope for those who want the tunnel.


Tysons Tunnel: Too little, too late?
Gov: No Tysons Metro tunnel

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