Input Sought on Renaming Supervisor Districts — Fairfax County’s Redistricting Advisory Committee is seeking input from residents, businesses, and more on whether the county should rename Lee, Mason, Mount Vernon, Springfield, and Sully districts. The committee will make recommendations on March 1. [Fairfax County Government]
FCPS Test-to-Stay Program Begins — Fairfax County Public Schools launched test-to-stay programs at seven schools yesterday (Monday). Part of a statewide pilot, the program allows unvaccinated students identified as close contacts of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 to keep attending school in person if they take a rapid test every morning for five consecutive days, test negative, and are asymptomatic. [WTOP]
White House Replica in McLean Sold — A 12,000 square-foot replica of the White House located at 1111 Towlston Road sold for $2.438 million in January. The six-bedroom house includes an attempted recreation of the Oval Office and was built in 1995 by a Vietnam refugee who wanted to pay homage to the U.S. [D.C. UrbanTurf]
Former Dranesville District Supervisor Remembered — “Former Dranesville District Supervisor Rufus Phillips III (D), who had served in the U.S. Army and later with the Central Intelligence Agency, died Dec. 29, 2021, at age 92 from complications of pneumonia. A longtime McLean resident, Phillips was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1971 and served until 1975, said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) at the board’s Jan. 25 meeting.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Metro Leader to Step Down — “After more than six years leading the D.C. region’s transit agency…Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld is retiring. Wiedefeld, 66, will leave his position in six months, Metro Board Chairman Paul C. Smedberg announced in an unexpected statement Tuesday afternoon.” [DCist]
Fairfax County Records First Pedestrian Death of 2022 — Police are investigating a crash that occurred just before midnight on Jan. 8 on Lee Highway at Forum Drive in Fairfax. Joel Gonzalez, 22, of Fairfax was hit by a sedan driving east on Lee Highway and later died from his injuries in a hospital. [FCPD]
Falls Church Supports Voting Rights Bill on MLK Day — “U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Don Beyer joined Edwin Henderson II, founder of the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, on Monday to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. with nearly 100 other people at the Tinner Hill Civil Rights Monument in Falls Church.” [Patch]
Website to Order Free At-Home Covid Tests Launches — A federal website where people can order up to four rapid COVID-19 test kits per household is now up and running. The tests will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service and are expected to take seven to 12 days to ship. [NBC News]
Providence District Supervisor Has New Daughter — “Jeffrey and I were thrilled to welcome our new daughter Sivan Esther Friedman into the world on Monday, January 17, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Our little peanut is a little early, (perfect balance, her mother is always late) and weighs in at 4 lbs. 14 oz., but everyone is healthy, and we couldn’t be more over the moon.” [Dalia Palchik]
Local Hybrid Plane Startup Gets Funding Boost — “Lockheed Martin Ventures has invested in Electra.aero Inc., a Falls Church-based hybrid-electric aircraft designer and builder that specializes in a growing air taxi market…The funding will support Electra’s plans to start flight testing its hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing aircraft (eSTOL) this year, according to a press release.” [Washington Business Journal]
Fairfax County Police Bust International Burglary Ring — “The pattern was quickly becoming familiar to Fairfax County police: an expensive home; Asian or Middle Eastern residents; a rear door or window smashed; and jewelry and luxury goods taken but expensive electronics left untouched.” [The Washington Post]
I-66 Lane Closures in Vienna Start Tomorrow — I-66 East will be reduced to a single travel lane approaching Cedar Lane in Vienna during overnight hours, starting at 10:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday). Lasting until 5 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 20), the closures will allow workers to install bridge beams for a new access ramp to the future I-66 Express Lanes. [VDOT]
FCPS Turns to College Students for Substitute Teachers — Fairfax County Public Schools has opened substitute teaching positions to college students in a response to high vacancy rates. The school system’s substitute teacher fill rate is typically about 80%, but it has hovered around 70% during the pandemic, dropping to 55-60% during the current COVID-19 surge. [WTOP]
Original Fairfax County Chief Fire Marshal Dies — “It is with great sadness that the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department announce the passing of retired Fire Administrator, and first Chief Fire Marshal, Willis H. “Bill” Burton, Jr. Chief Burton passed away peacefully of natural causes, surrounded by family, on Sunday, January 9 at the age of 91.” [FCFRD]
Electoral Board Gets New Member — “Christopher P. Henzel was recently appointed and sworn in by the Fairfax Circuit Court as a member of the Fairfax County Electoral Board for a three-year term. He replaces Steve Hunt, whose term ended after serving eight years on the board.” [Fairfax County Government]
McLean Central Park Revision Meeting Set — “The public is invited to attend an information meeting on the McLean Central Park Development Concept plan on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held online so that members of the public can participate safely and conveniently from their homes.” [FCPA]
Fairfax County police are investigating a crash that killed a pedestrian on Route 123 approaching Tysons Corner Center last night (Thursday).
The victim has been identified as 74-year-old Annandale resident Filadelfo Ramos Marquez, who was crossing Route 123 — also known as Chain Bridge Road — from west to east just south of Tysons Boulevard when the crash occurred around 9 p.m.
Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives have determined that the driver of a 2010 Toyota Camry was traveling south on Chain Bridge Road and hit Ramos Marquez, who was not crossing the roadway at a crosswalk, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
“Ramos Marquez was transported to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” the FCPD said in a report released this afternoon (Friday). “Preliminarily, speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash.”
Ramos Marquez is the 14th pedestrian killed in a vehicle crash in Fairfax County saw in 2021, which matched the total pedestrian fatalities from 2020.
His death came just one day after a bicyclist was killed on Route 123 at the Ingleside Avenue intersection in McLean.
Photo via Google Maps
The bicyclist who died in a vehicle crash on Route 123 in McLean yesterday (Wednesday) has been identified as Matthew Jaeger, 33, of McLean.
In a report released today (Thursday), Fairfax County police say Jaeger was riding his bicycle east on Ingleside Avenue. When he entered the intersection with Route 123, also known as Dolley Madison Boulevard, the driver of a 2014 BMW 328xi hit him.
Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives believe the driver was going south on Dolley Madison at the time of the accident, which occurred just after 2 p.m.
Jaeger was transported to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. As previously reported, the BMW driver stayed at the scene of the crash.
“Preliminarily, speed and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the crash,” the Fairfax County Police Department says. “The investigation remains active and details of the investigation will be presented to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review.”
Fairfax County has now seen three bicyclists die in vehicle crashes this year.
Police are seeking additional information about the crash, asking people to contact detectives at 703-280-0543 or submit anonymous tips through Crime Solvers, which can be reached by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS.
Photo via Pietro De Grandi/Unsplash
Nguyet Ly, of Falls Church, was walking east in the westbound travel lane of Leesburg Pike near the shoulder when a 2018 Subaru Impreza making a right turn out of a business struck her in the roadway, according to FCPD.
It happened in Bailey’s Crossroads in the 5900 block of Route 7 where there’s no sidewalk, police said.
She was taken to the hospital, where she later died.
The investigation is active and police are providing details to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review.
Police put out the following request for information:
Anyone with information about this crash is asked to contact our Crash Reconstruction Unit at 703-280-0543. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone -1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text – Type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411, and by web – Click HERE. Download our Mobile tip411 App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to contact you.
Ly is the 13th pedestrian to be killed in a vehicle crash in Fairfax County this year.
Vice President Praises Local Candle Maker — 11-year-old entrepreneur Alejandro got a boost from Vice President Kamala Harris when she visited the stall that his company Smell of Love Candles had at the Downtown Holiday Market in D.C. last weekend. Based in Fairfax County, the company crafts and delivers soy candles, and it now offers the ones bought by Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff as a package. [WUSA9]
COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Available to Students — Fairfax County Public Schools students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with a COVID-positive person can now get diagnostic testing at six drive-through sites around the county. Appointments aren’t needed, but a parent or guardian must provide consent and their children’s information through the school system’s online portal. [FCPS]
County Recommends Getting COVID-19 Booster — “The Fairfax County Health Department joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in strengthening their recommendation on booster doses for individuals who are 18 years and older. Everyone aged 18 and older should get a booster shot either six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or two months after their initial J&J vaccine.” [FCHD]
Four People Killed in Thanksgiving Weekend Traffic Crashes — “Four people died in traffic crashes in Virginia over the Thanksgiving weekend, the smallest number of traffic fatalities during the holiday weekend in the past 10 years, according to preliminary data released by the Virginia State Police. The fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Albemarle, Chesterfield, Fairfax and Spotsylvania.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Collects Record Taxes — “Fairfax County collected more than $4 billion in total taxes in fiscal 2021 for the first time ever, a staggering figure made possible not by rising tax rates, but soaring property assessments. Of the $4.05 billion collected in the fiscal year that ended June 30, $3.02 billion, or roughly 75%, came from real property tax levies, according to the county’s recently released Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.” [Washington Business Journal]
County Leaders Consider Staff Pay Increases — “Fairfax County supervisors and School Board members next year hope to give county and school employees large pay raises to make up for ones lost last year to the pandemic. But supervisors added quickly they did not want homeowners to feel the full brunt of skyrocketing property assessments.” [Sun Gazette]
No criminal activity is suspected in the death of a forklift operator at the Home Depot in Merrifield, the Fairfax County Police Department says.
According to the FCPD, detectives have determined that Paul Gato, 43, of Woodbridge was using the forklift to unload supplies from a delivery truck when the machine fell on its side, trapping him.
“The driver of the delivery truck heard the loud crash, noticed the deceased under the forklift and immediately summoned emergency medical services and police,” police said this afternoon in a news release.
The investigation remains active, and detectives are working with the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program, which enforces work-related safety and health laws and regulations.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death, police say.
Results from the autopsy are not yet available, the medical examiner’s office told Tysons Reporter.
Photo via Google Maps
The Merrifield-based Fairfax Symphony Orchestra has launched a new fundraising outreach in tribute to one of its leaders, James McKeever, who died on Oct. 30 at age 75.
The McKeever Legacy Fund will support the symphony itself and expand its existing education programs that work with local students.
“The Fund will support Jim’s vision to further the FSO’s high-level artistry and expand its innovative education programs, while strengthening the symphony’s role as an invaluable cultural resource and artistic ambassador for our region,” the orchestra said in a statement. “Contributions will help carry Jim’s legacy forward in support of the music, artists, and arts education initiatives he so enjoyed.”
Programs supported by the new fund will include:
- FSO Link Up, a partnership with Carnegie Hall that uses music to teach math, literacy, and other skills to students at Title 1 schools in Fairfax County and the D.C. region
- Fairfax County All-Stars Young Artist mentorship program serving high school student musicians
- Fairfax Symphony Diversity Fellowship program serving underrepresented college-age students
McKeever was a prominent figure in Fairfax County’s arts scene, with a stint as chair of the Arts for Fairfax County (now known as ArtsFairfax) and, most recently, as chair of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend,” FSO Executive Director Jonathan Kerr said in a statement. “We are forever grateful for Jim’s leadership and support of the FSO…His unwavering commitment and dedication to excellence in the arts and music education helped the FSO expand its programs to better serve our community.”
Kerr praised McKeever for helping the FSO navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, which he calls “one of the most challenging times in the organization’s 64-year history.”
McKeever grew up in New Jersey, served in the Army during the Vietnam War era, and worked in the construction industry as president and CEO of McKeever Services Corp., which assisted with permit processing in the D.C. region.
His obituary highlights his love for the arts and leadership in the county and Commonwealth:
His love for music was influential throughout his life. His high school choir had the opportunity of touring in Europe. In college he performed as a folk singer and was a long-time member of the Sanctuary Choir at Providence Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia.
In addition, Jim served as the Chairman of the Arts for Fairfax County, Commissioner of the Arts for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chairman of the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap, and Chairman of the Board for the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. He was also a member for Fairfax Lions Club. At Providence Presbyterian Church, he spearheaded the project to design, fund and install a new Lively Fulcher Pipe Organ for the Sanctuary Choir. He was ordained as an Elder and taught Sunday School for many years.
FSO Vice Chair Jose Figueroa, who is taking over as the orchestra’s new chair, says McKeever’s impact lasted from his time as a board member in the mid-1980s through his return in 2014. He was elected chair in 2016.
“The Fairfax Symphony family lost a great leader with the passing of Jim McKeever,” Figueroa said in a statement. “We will continue to strive for excellence, creativity, and energy in our future performances…I invite everyone to help celebrate Jim McKeever’s life.”
The FSO says its upcoming concert of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — scheduled for May 14 at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts — will be dedicated to McKeever.
A beloved 65-year-old security professional killed this week in a crash on Georgetown Pike will be honored with a candlelight vigil in McLean, along with funeral services at the D.C. school where he worked and in his hometown state of Texas.
The family-led candlelight vigil will be held tomorrow (Nov. 20) at 5 p.m. at Langley High School, honoring Fairfax resident Andre Newman, the son of Ray Charles saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman.
Newman was driving east on Georgetown Pike on Saturday (Nov. 13) when he collided with a Range Rover attempting to turn left near Langley High School, police reported. He was taken to the hospital, where he died on Sunday (Nov. 14).
“Andre Newman always seemed to have the light on his side,” said an obituary shared by his daughter. “Born the son of the world renowned Jazz legend, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Andre knew the weight and gravity of cultivating your personal talents, exhibiting a great work ethic, community servitude and investing into family unity.”
Newman was born in Dallas on May 16, 1956 and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. He moved to the D.C. region to pursue a graduate education at American University, going on to serve as a partial owner of the now-defunct firm Aimats Security Agency.
Starting in August 2002, he worked as a security supervisor at Sidwell Friends, the D.C.-based private school attended by several presidents’ children, from Richard Nixon’s daughters, Julie and Tricia, to Sasha and Malia Obama.
Head of School Bryan Garman praised Newman as a “lifelong learner” who “lived with kindness” in a letter to the Sidwell Friends community.
“A former supervisor of the night shift, he more recently took on mid-day responsibilities, including dismissal,” Garman wrote. “He especially took pride in his meticulous documentation of security incidents and his keen investigative skills.”
Sidwell Friends will have a service at 10 a.m. on Nov. 28. Newman’s Dallas funeral service will be Dec. 5.
He is survived by his wife, Shirleen Newman; his children, Esther Newman, Arianna Newman, and Andre Newman II; and his brothers, Terry, Cadino, and Benji.
Photo via Robert Towell/Flickr