Newsletter

Morning Notes

I-495 South Lane Closures Tonight — “Weather permitting, the three left lanes of the southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway Outer Loop) general purpose lanes will be closed over the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267) for bridge work…The three left lanes of the southbound I-495 general purpose lanes are scheduled to be closed between 11 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20.” [VDOT]

Falls Church Civil Rights Icon Gets Historical Marker — “An unveiling ceremony will convene this Saturday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. for a state historical marker that highlights the career of Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson, known as the ‘Father of Black Basketball’…The dedication will be held at the marker’s location alongside Henderson’s former residence at 307 South Maple Ave, Falls Church.” [Virginia Department of Historic Resources]

Fatal Drug Overdoses to Surpass Last Year — “Preliminary numbers show the number of overdose deaths in Fairfax County in 2021 are on pace to exceed 2020 numbers, according to data from the Office of the Medical Examiner. Data provided to Patch shows there were 56 overdose deaths reported to the county in the first two quarters of 2021. Of these, 52 (93 percent) were related to fentanyl.” [Patch]

D.C. Area Gets $19.3 Billion from Federal Infrastructure Bill — “So far, no jurisdiction has highlighted which major road projects they’d like to tackle, but bets could be on the replacement of the American Legion Bridge, the Maryland toll lane project if it gets approved, and improvements to I-81 in western Virginia.” [DCist]

Virginia Tribes Get Say in Development Projects — “Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Thursday signed an order requiring state agencies to consult with Virginia Indian tribes before making decisions that impact land, waterways and other natural sites important to Indigenous peoples.” [The Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

County Proposes Expanding Tax Relief Program — “Today, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a public hearing on Dec. 7 to consider expanding the real estate tax relief program for seniors and people with disabilities…The expanded program would allow people with higher incomes and net worth to qualify, add a new 75% tax relief bracket and offer an option to defer tax payments.” [Fairfax County Government]

Man Sentenced in Falls Church Woman’s Drug-Related Death — “A former medical student from Ontario, Canada, was sentenced on Tuesday to one year in prison for distributing MDA — a psychedelic drug similar to MDMA, or “molly” — that resulted in the fatal overdose of a 21-year-old Falls Church woman in 2019, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.” [Patch]

MCA Takes Position on Tree Presevation Proposal — “McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board members on Nov. 3 commended the Fairfax County Tree Commission for crafting proposals to preserve the county’s tree canopy, but did not agree with all of the group’s recommendations…MCA’s resolution expressed concerns about the proposals regarding property setbacks and taller buildings.” [Sun Gazette]

Lewinsville Park Eyed for Pickleball Facilities — The Fairfax County Park Authority will present options to improve the park’s six existing tennis courts and introduce pickleball with a virtual public meeting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1. The potential project aims to address growing demand for pickleball facilities in the greater McLean area. [FCPA]

Local Veterans’ Job Fair Is Big Draw — “One week before Veterans Day, representatives of 66 companies interviewed job-seekers at the first annual Veteran and Military Career Fair on Nov. 4, 2021…Geared toward assisting veterans, active-duty service members transitioning out of the military, and military spouses, the hybrid event was attended by 250 job-seekers at the museum, and 259 virtually attendees located around the world.” [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

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Morning Notes

Reduced Metro Service Will Continue to Nov. 15 — Metrorail riders can expect reduced service and extended wait times at least until Nov. 15, WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said yesterday (Thursday). The transit agency is still developing a plan to bring back its 7000-series cars, which make up almost 60% of its fleet and have been sidelined since investigators found safety issues in the wake of the Oct. 12 Blue Line derailment. [The Washington Post]

VDOT Finishes Beltway Bridge Work Early — The Virginia Department of Transportation has canceled lane closures on I-495 South over the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons that had been scheduled for this weekend (Oct. 29-Nov. 1). VDOT says the joint bridge work that prompted the overnight closures was finished early, rendering them unnecessary for the last of the three planned weekends. [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

FCPS Pushes Back Start Date for Student COVID-19 Testing — Previously expected to roll out in phases starting with student-athletes on Nov. 1, FCPS says it will now begin COVID-19 screening testing for all students on Nov. 15, citing the need to give the school system and its contractors “time to ensure all components, including the portals are up and running and staff are fully trained.” [FCPS]

Vienna PD Reports Successful Drug Take Back Day — “On October 23, 2021, the Town of Vienna Police Department, in conjunction with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.), participated in the 21st National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative. As a result, the Town of Vienna Police Department collected and safely disposed of 205 pounds of expired or no longer needed medications from area citizens.” [Vienna Police]

What to Know About Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccinations — Approximately 97,000 children in the Fairfax Health District could become eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in early November. A CDC advisory committee will determine whether to authorize the vaccine for children 5-11 years old on Tuesday (Nov. 2) after an FDA advisory panel recommended allowing doses at a third of the amount used for older individuals. [Fairfax County Health Department]

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Morning Notes

Family of Man Killed in I-495 Crash Starts GoFundMe — “The family of a 24-year-old Washington, D.C., man who died last week in a crash on the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County is holding an online fundraiser to help pay for his funeral expenses. The man, Elson Turcios, died in an early morning crash last Thursday on I-495, according to the Virginia State Police.” [Patch]

Metro Works to Bring More Railcars into Service — Metro is still working to bring back some older trains as crowding and long wait times continue to plague the transit system two weeks after a railcar derailed in Arlington. Officials said they ran 31 trains yesterday (Monday) and hope to improve service next week, though a timeline for the return of the 7000-series cars removed for inspections is still unclear. [DCist]

County Reports Strong Turnout for Sunday Voting — “We had a huge turnout for #earlyvoting this weekend. More than 9,000 people voted on Sat (10/23). On the first ever Sunday (10/24) for early voting, 4,656 people cast ballots! This is the last week to #voteearly” [Fairfax County Office of Elections/Twitter]

Annual Coat Drive Helps Fairfax County Residents and Beyond — “Firefighters, police officers and others in Fairfax County, Virginia, teamed up Monday to bag up 3,000 new winter jackets so they can get them onto the backs and shoulders of kids who need them…Most of the coats went to Fairfax County residents, and in many cases, along the Route 1 corridor. But some were going to places like Prince William County, the city of Alexandria and even into Prince George’s County, Maryland.” [WTOP]

Police Collect Unused Prescription Drugs — Fairfax County police collected 1,406 pounds of unused and expired over-the-counter and prescription medication on Saturday (Oct. 23) as part of the 21st Annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The McLean District Station received 220 pounds, behind West Springfield and Reston Hospital Center. [FCPD]

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Morning Notes

Wiehle Metro Station to Close This Weekend — “Head Up! This weekend, WMATA is closing the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station for integration of Phase 2 of the Silver Line with the existing Silver Line. During the planned closure, free Metrobus shuttles will go between Wiehle-Reston East & Spring Hill Metrorail Stations” [Fairfax Connector/Twitter]

FCPS Enrollment Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels — “Fairfax County Public Schools officials reported a total of 178,595 students in classes on Sept. 30…That figure is down from 179,741 recorded in June when the 2020-21 school year ended, and is well down from the 189,010 students counted in class at the start of the 2019-20 school year.” [Sun Gazette]

A Going-Out Guide to Tysons — “This kind of place-making from scratch has become common in the Washington area…but it’s interesting to see it happening in Tysons, once defined as an ‘Edge City’ because, while it was technically located in Washington’s suburbs, large crowds commuted into Tysons in the morning, and left again at night. Now, there might just be more reasons to stay.” [The Washington Post]

How to Celebrate Another COVID Halloween — “While trick-or-treaters under 12 aren’t eligible for vaccine yet, this fun tradition can be done safely if families keep activities outdoors, wear a cloth or surgical mask (don’t rely on a costume mask to protect you), avoid crowded doorsteps, and wash hands before eating candy.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Local Health Startup Has Big Plans — “Kinometrix Inc., a Fairfax County startup whose software help hospitals prevent patient falls, is making some big changes and kicking off a funding round to expand nationally. The company, originally part of Inova Health System’s accelerator until that program shut down in late 2019, is shooting to raise at least $3 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

Drug Take Back Day Is Tomorrow — The Fairfax County Police Department will collected unused and expired prescription drugs tomorrow (Saturday) for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which comes twice a year. Collection sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the county’s police district stations, including in McLean, and Reston Hospital Center. [Patch]

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Vienna police car (via Vienna Police Department/Facebook)

Two unusual hit-and-run crashes were among the most notable incidents of the past week for police officers in the Town of Vienna.

In its list of highlights for the week of Aug. 27 to Sept. 2, the Vienna Police Department says its officers responded to two separate hit-and-run incidents last Thursday (Aug. 26), though injuries have not been reported in either one.

The earlier crash occurred around 7:25 a.m. when a drive struck a bicyclist at the intersection of Tapawingo Road and Nutley Street:

A driver reported she was traveling eastbound on Tapawingo Road, turning right onto Nutley Street with a green traffic signal. As she entered the intersection, she struck a bicyclist. The driver exited her vehicle and offered to call the police and make a report. The bicyclist refused to exchange information or call the police. Instead, the bicyclist demanded money from the resident as compensation for the accident. The bicyclist left the scene before police arrived.

Then, around 5:40 p.m. that day, a scrape that caused “minor damage” to two vehicles in the 800 block of Glyndon Street SE concluded with one driver facing an assault charge:

Vehicle-1 was traveling southbound on Glyndon Street. Vehicle-2 was traveling northbound. The two vehicles sideswiped each other as they passed causing minor damage. Driver-1 refused to exchange information and an argument ensued. Driver-1 left the scene and returned a short time later with a hammer and threatened Driver-2. Driver-1 fled the scene again before officers arrived.

Driver-1 was issued two summonses charging Hit & Run and Assault.

Police also arrested a woman from Maryland at 6:46 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 28) after she sped through a red light at the Maple Avenue and Park Street intersection and collided with another vehicle.

The woman went to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, but the responding officer arrested her when she was discharged after detecting signs of impairment and the odor of marijuana. While it’s now legal to possess small amounts of the drug in Virginia, driving while stoned remains illegal.

The woman was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and failure to obey a traffic signal.

In non-traffic-related incidents, Vienna police received a report of disorderly conduct at Chick-fil-A (538 Maple Avenue W) around 9:06 a.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 31):

Officers responded to the report of a disorderly man who was damaging property and chasing employees. They located the man in the parking garage where he was acting erratically and was not responding to the officers’ attempts to speak with him. The man was foaming at the mouth, appeared under the influence of an unknown narcotic, and showed signs of mental instability. The officers were able to subdue the man safely. Rescue personnel responded to the scene and transported the man to an area hospital for evaluation.

The police report says the case remains under investigation.

Photo via Vienna Police Department/Facebook

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Vaping has reversed years of incremental progress in Fairfax County Public Schools in the number of students who report being drug-free, according to a report from the school system.

“The slow improvement FCPS had shown over the last several years on the drug-free youth metric ended during SY 2019-20 due to increased numbers of students who reported vaping,” the report said.

Over the last couple of years, vaping has emerged as the drug of choice among students in schools across the United States. Experts and school leaders have labeled it an “epidemic,” and studies have found that it is easy to access, targeted toward teens, and highly addictive.

In FCPS, one-third of middle and high school students reported alcohol and drug usage for the 2019-20 school year. The drug-free metric FCPS uses has not moved too much in recent years, but the uptick in vaping led to a “dramatic dip” for the 2019-20 school year, when 11% of students reported that they vaped, but did not use other drugs or drink alcohol.

The rapid downward trend due to vaping “requires direct and swift action to counteract, especially given the negative health impacts that have been associated with vaping,” the report said. It concluded that more funding may be needed to address the root causes of vaping.

FCPS included vaping in its drug-free metric for the first time for the 2018-19 reporting year. At the time, the report said, vaping did not have much of an impact — students who reported vaping also reported drinking or using other drugs.

Last year, the 11% of students who vape moved the needle 2 percentage points. When vaping is added in, the percentage of students who are drug-free drops from 79% to about 77%.

During the 2020 school year, 11.2% of students reported vaping while not using alcohol or other drugs. Broken down by grade level, 9% of eighth-graders, slightly more than 12% of sophomores and 12.5% of seniors reported vaping only.

Vaping appears to have also led to an increase in drug-related suspensions. Through March 2020, the number of students with suspensions for drug and alcohol offenses was 448, an increase of 6 percentage points when compared to the 2018-19 school year — 424 offenses through March 2019.

The report found that Asian and Black students were more likely to be alcohol and drug-free than Hispanic or white students.

In its report, FCPS concluded that its current interventions may not be enough to lessen vaping and other kinds of drug and alcohol use among students overall. The report said it is unclear whether any of FCPS’s traditional interventions would have specifically impacted vaping rates.

For example, substance abuse specialists were “likely managing students with more serious drug abuse issues,” the report said. Further, the “enhanced access to middle school health lessons would likely have had only an indirect or low-level impact on vaping.”

Photo via Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Oct. 20)

Wednesday (Oct. 21)

  • Sugar Skull Magnets Crafternoon (Online) — 3-3:30 p.m. — Join the Mary Riley Styles Public Library’s Facebook page to learn about Día de los Muertos while crafting sugar skull magnets using a Grab & Go Craft Kit that can be picked up at curbside, the website said. Grab & Go Kits can be picked up until tomorrow (Oct. 20) while supplies last. The craft video will remain available on the MRSPL Facebook page in the Crafternoon playlist.

Thursday (Oct. 22)

  • Preschool Story Time (Online) — 10:30-11 a.m. — Mary Riley Styles Public Library will go live with virtual songs, stories, and rhythms on its Facebook page.
  • Middle School Book Club (Online) — 4-5 p.m. — For children in grades 6-8. Discussing Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, the group will meet via Zoom. Email Laura Miller, lmiller[email protected], to request the Zoom link.

Friday (Oct. 23)

  • Virtual Family Fun Trivia Night — 7-9 p.m. — Gather the whole family around the computer or tablet and get ready for some socially distant trivia, according to the event website. The cost is $5 for resident families and $8 for non-resident families. To register, use this link.
  • Drive-Thru Drama (October 23-25), 6-8:15 p.m. — Drive-Thru Drama is a social-distance theatre format that brings people together for live theatre from the comfort of their own car, the website said.  Actors will perform one, cohesive story through short scenes across the McLean Community Center parking lot. Audience members will simply roll down their windows and drive the route from actor to actor. The entries will be timed in 15-minute increments.

Saturday (Oct. 24)

  • Falls Church Farmers Market — 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at City Hall Parking Lot (300 Park Avenue) — Enjoy fresh, local produce, meat, dairy, flowers & plants, honey, music, and so much more at the Falls Church Farmers Market, the website said.
  • Vienna Farmers Market — 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at Vienna Community Center Parking Lot (120 Cherry Street SE ) — Sponsored by the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna, the Vienna Farmers Market features approximately 30 vendors from across the region offering locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and homemade eats, the website said.
  • In-Person Early Voting — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at City Hall (300 Park Ave.) — Early voting is available to all registered voters, the website said. Voters must wear a mask and bring acceptable voter ID.
  • Prescription Drug Take-Back Day — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St.) — Drop off any expired, unused, or unwanted pills and patches free and anonymously with the Falls Church Police Department, the website said. Vape pens and eCigarettes are also accepted as long as the battery is removed. Liquids, needles and other sharp items will not be accepted.

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak/Unsplash

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Drug take-back boxes have been placed at all eight police stations in Fairfax County, including the McLean station.

The eight stations include Reston District StationSully District Station, Mount Vernon District Station, McLean District Station, Mason District StationFranconia District Station, West Springfield District Station and Fair Oaks District Station.

According to a statement from the Fairfax County Police Department, the boxes placed at each local station are geared to be a safe place to responsibly and conveniently drop off unused or unneeded medications.

The stations are accepting schedule II-V controlled and non-controlled prescription medication, prescription ointments, over-the-counter medications and medications for pets.

The stations are prohibiting needles, liquids of any kind, illegal drugs, non-prescription ointments and lotions, aerosol cans and inhalers, according to the statement.

The district stations are open to the public 24 hours each day, seven days each week. Those with questions can contact the Property and Evidence Section Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at 703-246-2786.

Photo via the Fairfax County Government website 

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

Maybe you had a cold once and decided not to take the medicine, maybe you skipped that advisory to “finish all of these meds”, whatever the reason — your medicine cabinet is full of old prescriptions you don’t need and don’t know what to do with.

Or maybe it’s just me? I have a bag I’ve been looking to dispose of for a while, so I found a list of places to take old prescriptions to safely dispose of them.

There are national “take-back” days and the Town of Vienna usually has theirs in October and April. The National Take Back Day for 2020 is Saturday, April 25.

If you’re looking for something other than that day, try one of these locations:

  • Spectrum Healthcare: 10580 Arrowhead Drive, Fairfax
  • CVS in Merrifield: 8124 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church (near the Five Guys and Elephant Jumps)
  • INOVA Emergency Room Pharmacy: 3300 Gallows Road, Falls Church (green metal box in the Pharmacy of the ER)
  • Fairfax County Policy Station in McLean: 1437 Balls Hill Road, McLean
  • Fairfax County Police Station in Fairfax: 12300 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Fairfax
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