Stories for January 2017

Stories for January 2017


Tuesday, January 31

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Victims of Tribe-For-Rent Scam to Get $15 Million Payout in Settlement Agreement

15,000 Virginia victims get $6 million worth of predatory loans absolved, $9 million in cash awards.

The commercial features images of teepees and a tribal drumbeat. The company billed itself as having ties to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. But Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says that was nothing more than a fraud, a scheme he calls rent-a-tribe.

Submit Photos to Pet Gazette

The Pet Gazette, a twice-yearly special edition, will publish the last week of February, and photos and stories of your pets with you and your family should be submitted by Feb. 15.

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Chief Withholding Name of Officer in Herndon Fatal Shooting

Officer files temporary restraining order for Roessler to not release name.

Fairfax County chief of police Edwin Roessler has yet to release the name of the 16-year veteran officer who fatally shot Mohammad Azim Doudzai, 32, at his Herndon-area home on Jan. 16 this year. On Feb. 7, FCPD said the unnamed officer has filed a temporary restraining order to keep the name from being released.

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

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To Move Or Not To Move: Local family moves mother into newly opened Kensington Falls Church.

One of the most heart-wrenching decisions that Denise Schossler, her two siblings and her 95-year-old mother had to make was whether or not to move her into an assisted living facility, leaving the home where she’s lived since 1954.

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So Much Happening, Don’t Blink

Demonstrations at Dulles in reaction to travel ban; fast moving General Assembly lacks transparency; other key issues.

As this date approaches, the General Assembly has a serious transparency issue, as it continues to kill most proposed legislation with unrecorded voice votes in subcommittee, with no accountability or record of how members voted.

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Arrest Made in Shooting at Police Car in Great Falls

Suspect first apprehended in Herndon for waiving a gun.

Just before midnight on Jan. 22, several shots were fired at a marked police cruiser from another vehicle in the Great Falls area, Fairfax County police said.

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Fairfax: Board Approves 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Program

Five-year plan includes three new elementary schools and one new high school.

This year, Fairfax County Public Schools experienced one of the smallest annual enrollment increases in nearly a decade: 1,368 students, compared to the average of 2,400 since the 2008-09 school year, bringing the total to 187,202.

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Anti-Immigration Ban Rallies Held at Dulles

Demonstrators, volunteer attorneys and elected officials welcome travelers, extend help detainees.

Demonstrations sprang up at airports around the United States over the weekend, following an Executive Order by President Donald Trump that blocks travelers from seven largely Muslim countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — in the interests of more significant vetting and preventing would-be terrorists from entering the country.

Friday, January 27

Commentary: Bills Moving Forward in Virginia General Assembly


The General Assembly Session is in full gear and legislation has begun to move through the process as we start to take action on 3,000 bills.

Register for Fort Hunt Little League

Baseball season is almost here and Fort Hunt Little League (FHLL) spring baseball registration is open.

Commentary: Life and Death of Bills

The legislature has already heard about half of the bills I patroned this session, and I have a few wins and defeats.

Thursday, January 26

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Celebrating George's 285th Birthday

George Washington birthday festivities.

Just the Beginning

Message of the Women’s March on Washington.

Uphold One's Oath

Oath of allegiance.

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Joining in the March

Members of the League of Women Voters - Fairfax Area participated in the Women's March in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Kitchen Fire Damages Center

Fire damages Huntington Community Center.

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Reshaping the Region

Commercial, residential and historic projects are changing the landscape.

The Richmond Highway corridor is the sight of many upgrades.

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Residents Meet with Legislators in Richmond

With the Virginia General Assembly underway, many individuals and groups are traveling to the capital of the Commonwealth to lobby lawmakers.

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Bipartisan Agreement Forged in House Panel on Reducing Suspended Driver’s Licenses

Republicans work with Cabinet officials to craft changes to let more people keep drivers licenses.

After Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe called on lawmakers to find a way to restore driver's licenses to people charged with crimes that had nothing to do with driving, Republicans responded. Now both sides are crafting a compromise that could end up being a hallmark of the 2017 session.

Wednesday, January 25

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Inauguration Day Duty

Local officers provide security for inaugural events.

More than 100 officers from Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria reported for duty during the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 20 to help provide security during Inauguration Day activities in Washington, D.C.

Nominations Sought for Scholar-Athlete Honors

The National Capital Region Chapter of the National Football Foundation is accepting nominations for their 2017 Scholar-Athlete banquet.

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Mental Illness Takes Center Stage in Richmond

Death of Fairfax County inmate among recent controversies prompting action.

The death of a woman who struggled with mental illness at the Fairfax County jail is among the many recent controversies in Virginia correctional facilities, a reform effort that spans from changing how deaths behind bars are investigated to how law-enforcement officers interact with suspects who suffer from mental illness.

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

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Police Car Takes Fire while in Pursuit in Great Falls

Suspect first apprehended in Herndon for waving a gun.

Just before midnight on Jan. 22, several shots were fired at a marked police cruiser from another vehicle in the Great Falls area, Fairfax County police said.

Tuesday, January 24

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Party-Line Vote Protects Child Labor at Tobacco Farms in Virginia

Republican-led House panel kills effort to craft new protections for kids in unrecorded vote.

In an unrecorded party-line vote, House Republicans killed a bill that would have cracked down on child labor at tobacco farms in Virginia.

Commentary: What’s a Couple Thousand Bills, Anyway?

Jan. 11 marked the beginning of the 2017 General Assembly 46-day “short” session.

Monday, January 23

Editorial: America in Black & White

Growing up in America in the 1950s and 1960s, many children watched television only in black and white. Some children believed that the world beyond where they could see was only black and white, devoid of color even though their homes, their neighborhoods, their schools, their crayon boxes were filled with colors.

Letter to the Editor: Protesting Vote Suppression

I am fed up with gerrymandering and other tactics politicians use to stack the votes in their favor!

Letter to the Editor: Stopping Gerrymandering in Virginia

As the new legislative year begins in Richmond, I hope more voters will join the effort to stop gerrymandering in Virginia.

Opinion: Counting on Our Reps in Congress

Sound the call to action; resist changes that are against the values and beliefs of most Virginia voters.

While most voters in the United States did not vote for Donald Trump for president, it was all the more so here in Northern Virginia.

Nominations Sought for Scholar-Athlete Honors

The National Capital Region Chapter of the National Football Foundation is accepting nominations for their 2017 Scholar-Athlete banquet.

Friday, January 20

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Mentor of The Month in Alexandria

Reaching for Excellence

The Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria (CCNA) created the "Reach and Rise for Excellence" (RARE) after-school mentoring and tutoring program for Hammond Middle School students.

Commentary: Growing the State's Economy

Last week, the 2017 Virginia General Assembly session began with a call from Governor McAuliffe for us to work across partisan divides in order to help nurture the New Virginia Economy and make the Commonwealth a place that we all want to live in.

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Editorial Cartoon

Letter to the Editor: Encourage More Comment in Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck has scheduled a meeting on Jan. 26 at Walt Whitman Middle School from 7-9 p.m. to provide an update on the proposal to re-develop 4.38 acres of the 11 acre Bock Farm at the corner of Parkers Lane and Hinson Farm Road.

Commentary: Initiatives in the Legislature

Several of my bills are moving quickly in the General Assembly’s “short,” 45-day.

Commentary: On Krizek’s Agenda

The 2017 General Assembly is underway. This year is a “short session” and runs only 45 days, from Jan. 11 to Feb. 25.

Planning Affirms Murraygate Village in Mount Vernon

Five more units to stay.

Fairfax County’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority requested five more units for planned Murraygate Village, garden style apartments immediately west of the Mount Vernon Crossroads shopping center in the Hybla Valley area near Richmond Highway.

Thursday, January 19

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Fairfax County: Public hearing on yard waste bags follows premature administrative change

North Springfield resident Asher Grady has his leaf collecting down to a science. And with the mature trees around his quarter-acre lot, he needs to. Each fall, he said, he goes through between 60 and 80 bags of leaves, spending between eight and 12 hours to rake and bag them.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: December, 2016

In December, 2016, 95 homes sold between $1,695,000-$115,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: December, 2016

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Walt Whitman Principal Roger Vanderhye Dies

Previously spent 12 years as principal at Spring Hill Elementary in McLean.

Walt Whitman Middle School principal Roger Vanderhye, 60, died last week following complications from a recent surgery.

Wednesday, January 18

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Senate Panel Kills Effort to Allow Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Supporters say they’ll continue to press the issue, citing concerns over safety.

Undocumented immigrants in Virginia will not be getting a driver’s license anytime soon, although advocates for the idea say they will keep pressing lawmakers on the issue.

Tuesday, January 17

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Online Virginia Lottery Sales? Don't Bet On It

House panel rejects bill that would allow for sale of lottery tickets over the internet.

A coalition of convenience store owners and religious conservatives worked to till an effort from the Virginia Lottery to allow for online gambling, thwarting an effort aimed at increasing sales among millennial gamblers. The bill, introduced by Del. Roxann Robinson (R-27), was defeated with an overwhelming vote by a House General Laws subcommittee Tuesday afternoon.

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Fabric Place Basement Alexandria Grand Opening


Fabric Place Basement Alexandria celebrates their Grand Opening Saturday, January 21.

Let Horses Play Piano, Too

Horse Riding Lessons Allowed

Great Falls resident Kim Karanik navigated a three-and-a-half-year obstacle course to make riding activities and equestrian lessons more accessible and available to county children.

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Lockard Channels Garza, Proposes $2.8 Billion FCPS Budget

FY2018 focuses on employee compensation and classroom resources.

Fairfax County Public Schools interim superintendent Steve Lockard is asking for $130.4 million more for the school system’s FY2018 operating budget than the previous year, a 4.9 percent increase, to a total of $2.8 billion.

Bicycle Advocacy Workshop in Springfield Feb. 4

Are you interested in making Fairfax County more bike-friendly?

Brewery Changes on Tap

Planning drafts zoning amendment.

There is increasing interest in Fairfax County in opening breweries for craft beer that might also serve beer and food.

Monday, January 16

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Senate Panel Approves Crackdown on Internet Lenders in Virginia

Bill would subject unregulated loans to rules that apply to consumer-finance loans.

The Wild West of online lending is about to become a little tamer. That’s because a state Senate panel narrowly approved a bill that would subject internet loans to the same restrictions that currently exist for consumer finance loans, a move that would cramp the anything-goes culture of online loans in Virginia.

Planning for Summer Camp

Local camp fairs help families navigate the maze of summer camp offerings.

In an effort to confront religious intolerance, a group of local middle school students will attend a camp aimed at bringing together children from different religions and giving them the chance to come together, make new friendships, visit houses of worship, learn about other traditions and practice dialogue to confront Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism.

Sunday, January 15

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Opioid Treatment Service Jan. 17

Addiction Help

As you are well aware, the heroin and opioid dependency problem is growing across the nation, the Commonwealth, and our community is not being spared. The CSB has adjusted resources to help meet this critical demand for people seeking treatment; a new program begins soon. We need your help spreading the word about it. The CSB is holding an open forum for anyone who is seeking help for a loved one or knows of someone who might need help.

Friday, January 13

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‘Elf, Jr.:’ A Story of Transformation at Aldersgate Church Community Theater

Family-friendly children's story is based on a movie and a Broadway show.

With a cast of 42 children, the Aldersgate Church Community Theater (ACCT) is staging "Elf, Jr.," based on the New Line Cinema hit, from Jan. 13 to Jan. 22.

Thursday, January 12

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Senators to Alexandria: Clean Up Your Act by 2020 or Lose State Funding

Lawmakers poo poo city efforts to flush raw sewage.

Members of the Virginia state Senate say they’re tired of hearing excuses about sewage from city officials in Alexandria, and they’re pushing ahead with a plan that one senator calls “the nuclear option.” This afternoon, the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill that sets a firm deadline for Alexandria to clean up its act — 2020. If city officials are unable to stop dumping more than 10 million gallons of raw sewage into the Potomac River every year, Alexandria would lose all state appropriations until the problem is fixed.

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Predatory Lenders Work Behind the Scenes to Avoid Regulation and Evade the Law

Campaign contributions and political connections used to sidestep crackdown.

Predatory Loans in the Crossfire: Lawmakers conflicted about how to handle high-interest loans.

Wednesday, January 11

A Son Recalls Frank Medico’s ‘Good Heart’

A Mount Vernon resident for more than 50 years, former representative to the Virginia House of Delegates Frank Medico died Dec. 30, 2016 at the age of 92.

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Cultural Exchange in Mount Vernon

The Mount Vernon Evening Lions Club was visited by Lion Lina Ngoma from the Lions Club of Emmasdale, Lusaka, Zambia.

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Remembering Frank Medico of Mount Vernon

Former delegate dies at 92.

Former GAO Auditor Frank Medico never ever forgot his original role in public service: guardian of the public treasury as a GAO auditor.

Letter to the Editor: Highlighting Mount Vernon Safety Issue

The speed limit on Parkers Lane going past Walt Whitman Middle School is 35 miles per hour except when school zone signs with flashing lights signify, by activation of those lights, that the speed limit is reduced to 25 miles per hour when the school is opening and closing.

Focusing on Public Safety in Mount Vernon

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, the 2017 Session of the General Assembly Session will gavel in for a 45-day “short” session. I am looking forward to a very busy six weeks and would like to update you on my plans for session.

Driver Charged in Fatal Mount Vernon Pedestrian Crash

Crash Reconstruction detectives have placed charges in the Dec. 2 fatal crash that occurred in the area of Richmond Highway and Frye Road.

Mount Vernon Crime Report

The following incidents were reported by the Mount Vernon District Police Station.

The following incidents were reported by the Mount Vernon District Police Station.

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Partnering to Reduce Northern Virginia Congestion

Legislators tour past, present and future transportation projects.

The blessing of traffic, Martin Nohe said, is that “there’s lots of great transportation projects to choose from.”

In Session: Briefs

It doesn’t take much rain to trigger Alexandria’s 19th century sewage system to start dumping raw sewage into the Potomac River — about 0.03 inches, to be precise.

Tuesday, January 10

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New Year, New Order: Organizing an unruly linen closet

If retrieving an item from the top shelf of one’s linen closet sets off an avalanche of mismatched sheets and tattered towels, it might be time for a linen closet reorganization.

Commentary: Republican Repeal Plan Promises Health Care Chaos

Over the course of a normal week, my office receives thousands of letters, emails, phone calls, and tweets from Northern Virginians.

Editorial: About the Mount Vernon Gazette

Happy New Year. We need your help in 2017.

Monday, January 9

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Letter to the Editor: Fairfax County Should Be Supporting Recycling

Does Fairfax County actually care about recycling?

Letter to the Editor: Fragile Habitat in Mount Vernon area

The National Park service has contracted with seven tree-cutting companies to remove trees along the Parkway from above Spout Run to Mount Vernon through March of 2017.

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Fairfax Lawmakers’ Last Call for Input

More than 80 speak at General Assembly public hearing.

“We’re not letting teachers do their jobs,” was the plea from Jo Neuber of Vienna, Co-chair of the organization Class Size Counts.

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Organizing a Home Office

Design ideas for workspace order.

Whether located in a basement, spare bedroom or kitchen corner, one of the keys to creating a functional home office is organization.

Friday, January 6

Del. Krizek Seeks Mandatory Seatbelt Law

Del. Paul Krizek (D-44) has introduced a bill to require all occupants of a motor vehicle to utilize safety restraints.

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Tour de Mount Vernon

Supervisor Storck leads inaugural cross-district bike ride.

When Carlos Alfaro of the Woodlawn area of Mount Vernon showed up New Year’s Eve morning at the Belle Haven Marina parking lot with his road bike, he didn’t know what to expect.

Thursday, January 5

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Washington Nationals Mascot Delivers Meals on Wheels

Abe Lincoln, the Washington Nationals mascot helps out Meals on Wheels.

For Schools: New Year, New Superintendent

New Year, New Superintendent for FCPS

New School Superintendent

Police Release Video of Robbery Suspects

Robbery Video

Suspect in Shooting Arrested

Suspect in Shooting Arrested

Suspect in Stabbing Arrested

Stabbing arrest

Crime Report

The following incidents were reported by the Mount Vernon District Police Station.

Crime Report

Police Auditor, Civilian Review Panel to Become Reality in 2017

Body cameras, mental health part of public safety focus.

Police Auditor, Civilian Review Panel to Become Reality in 2017

Police Release Security Footage of Gomez Shooting

Law enforcement invites media to view and break-down sequence of events

Video Footage of Shooting

Wednesday, January 4

Women’s Legislative Roundtable Previews Upcoming 2017 Legislative Session

Women’s Legislative Roundtable Previews Upcoming 2017 Legislative Session

Legal Services of Northern Virginia Launches Initiative

Legal Services of Northern Virginia Launches Initiative

Keeping Resolutions

Realistic goals and specific plans among keys to success.

Keeping Resolutions

Legislators To Hold Public Hearing

Legislators To Hold Public Hearing

Tuesday, January 3

Editorial: Unsung Heroes of Fairfax County Police Reform

Personal involvement of Culosi, Beltrante key to success of police commission.

The call for reform and transparency in Fairfax County Police began long before the shooting death of John Geer in August 2013.