Fairfax County police received multiple reports of robberies and larcenies in the McLean District this week.
According to the Fairfax County Police Department’s weekly recap, two men shoplifted merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue (2051 International Dr.) at Tysons Galleria around 4:04 p.m. on Jan. 10. When leaving, they threatened to assault a store employee.
Then, at 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 14, a man and a woman took two carts of merchandise without paying from Safeway on 6244 Old Dominion Dr. in McLean. They reportedly assaulted two employees while leaving the grocery store.
No injuries were reported in either incident.
The FCPD also confirmed today that it received two separate reports of larceny on Jan. 13 from people whose vehicles were robbed at Clemyjontri Park in McLean around 5 p.m. that day. In both cases, the vehicle windows were broken, and personal items were taken.
“We would like to remind our community members to hide valuables that must be left in a vehicle, even if you are stepping away for just a few minutes,” FCPD Sgt. Tara Gerhard said.
Fairfax County police suggest placing purses, laptop bags, and larger items in the trunk of the vehicle and hiding loose change, phones, or other small valuable items “that could make your vehicle an easy target for a criminal.”
Photo by Michelle Goldchain
Drivers on eastbound Route 7 in the McLean area should prepare for a lane shift and other traffic changes starting on Tuesday (Jan. 19), the Virginia Department of Transportation announced yesterday (Wednesday).
The eastbound lane on Leesburg Pike between Lewinsville Road and Jarrett Valley Drive will be shifted north toward the median, and direct access between Route 7 and two side streets — Laurel Hill Road and Old Ash Grove — will be temporarily closed.
Until late 2021, drivers to and from Laurel Hill Road, Old Ash Grove, and Glenridge Court will instead need to use the service road between Old Ash Grove and McLean Bible Church (8925 Leesburg Pike) to get to and from Route 7.
The intersection of Laurel Hill Road and the service road will be converted into a three-way stop intersection for the duration of the closure.
“All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible,” VDOT said.
The lane shift and side street access cut-offs are necessitated by VDOT’s Route 7 corridor improvement project, which is widening the highway from four to six lanes, adding shared-use paths, and making intersection improvements on the seven-mile stretch of road between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.
The changes will “increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow, and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians,” according to the project website.
The project carries a total estimated cost of $313.9 million, and construction is not expected to be finished until July 31, 2024.
While construction is ongoing, the speed limit on Route 7 has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.
“Please use caution and be alert to work zone signs, potential flagger or police direction, and watch for traffic shifts,” VDOT says. “Slow-moving vehicles and equipment may be entering or exiting the road.”
The McLean Citizens Association will continue discussing the possibility of turning McLean into a city for the foreseeable future.
The MCA board of directors approved the creation of a new community governance committee on Jan. 6 that has been tasked with studying the potential benefits and issues that would arise if McLean became independent of Fairfax County.
Chaired by William Henneberg, the ad hoc committee has been given a five-year charter that will last through December 2025, though it could be disbanded sooner if its work is finished before then.
“We’ve got a lot of investigation to do to identify issues, benefits and costs, etc.,” MCA President Rob Jackson said in an email to Tysons Reporter. “We have no preconceived notion that becoming a city or some other governmental entity is the best course. We are a ways from drawing any conclusions.”
Jackson initially proposed calling the committee a “City of McLean committee,” but the board agreed the adopted name would better reflect the open-endedness of the committee’s mission, helping avoid confusion.
“We have a lot of different things to investigate, first of all, but also a lot of other choices, including town status within Fairfax County or increased use of the sanitary district or a new county. There’s any number of things,” MCA corresponding secretary Paul Kohlenberger said.
Jackson introduced the idea of forming a committee to look at whether McLean should become a city during the board’s Dec. 2 meeting, but the question has been raised multiple times in the past.
According to Jackson, MCA previously explored issues related to McLean’s governmental structure in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’70s.
As Fairfax County’s population has surpassed 1.1 million people, community members in McLean have wondered whether a smaller form of government would give residents greater control and be more responsive to hyper-local concerns, such as infrastructure maintenance, zoning, and schools.
A moratorium on the creation of new cities in the Code of Virginia will expire on July 1, 2024.
While MCA has informally discussed the idea of turning McLean into a city with other local community groups in the past, the community governance committee will only explore the question internally for now.
“We would, of course, be open to communications with other community organizations that are also interested in investigating which form of government best serves our community,” Jackson said.
Photo via McLean Citizens Association/Facebook
McLean Community Center Executive Director George Sachs officially announced yesterday (Thursday) that he will retire on May 7 after more than a decade in the position.
MCC started advertising for the executive director job in December, signaling that Sachs would step down.
Though he has been preparing to retire since enrolling in the county’s deferred retirement option program three years ago, Sachs is still coming to terms with the prospect of leaving MCC.
“Really, I don’t want to leave,” Sachs admitted. “It’s just that I’ve come to a realization in my life. I turn 70 years old, and looking back and looking forward to what I want to do, I’m ready…to move forward.”
For Sachs, serving as MCC’s chief administrative officer was the culmination of a nearly five-decade career that began in 1974 when he got his first full-time job working at Fairfax County’s recreation department.
Sachs went on to work at the Fairfax County Park Authority for five years, a tenure that included opening the county’s first RECenter at Wakefield Park. The facility is now known as the Audrey Moore RECenter.
Sachs first joined MCC as its deputy director in 1991 after managing the recreation and sports facilities at George Mason University for nearly 10 years. He spent four years with MCC before moving to South Carolina, where he owned and operated his own chain of health and fitness centers.
However, after the Great Recession hit in 2008, Sachs says he struggled to compete as a small business owner. He decided to return to Fairfax County in 2009, when MCC hired him again, this time to manage the Old Firehouse Teen Center.
Appointed as MCC’s executive director in 2010, Sachs shepherded MCC through an extensive $8 million overhaul of its Ingleside Avenue center, a five-year process that involved relocating staff to four different sites around McLean and culminated with a reopening in 2018.
“It gave more space and openness to the center,” Sachs said of the renovation. “…It’s just more inviting for people to come in. When you come in the center now, you can actually see that there’s activity in the center.” Read More
Vienna Police Move into New Temporary Home — With construction on a new station set to begin soon, the Vienna Police Department relocated to the former Faith Baptist Church at 301 Center Street on Jan. 7. Operations and responses haven’t been affected by the move, but the department is taking non-emergency calls at 703-255-6366. [Vienna Happenings]
Mosaic District to Add Dutch Snack Outlet — Poffy will serve traditional Dutch mini pancakes called poffertjes that are often prepared by street vendors. Owner Lilian Wanandy-Perez hopes to open the store in May or June, depending on the permitting process. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Golf Training Center Opens in Tysons — “GOLFTEC Tysons Corner, a golf instruction and club fitting center, has opened in Tysons. Located at 1430 Spring Hill Road, Suite 102, McLean, the 2,500 -square-foot facility offers golf lessons for a variety of individual needs.” [Patch]
Tysons IT Company Receives Acquisition Proposal — DXC Technology confirmed on Jan. 7 that it received an unsolicited, preliminary and non-binding proposal from Atos SE to acquire all DXC shares. The company’s board of directors will be evaluating the proposal. [Business Wire]
Home Sales in McLean Were Up in 2020 — “Year over year, there has been marginal improvement in the number of home sales with a total count of 1,249 in 2020 compared to 1,219 in 2019. Compared to one decade ago in 2010, there is significantly better news as sales are up 39 percent over that time frame.” [Connection Newspapers]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Chesterbrook Woods, a tree-lined neighborhood nestled in southeastern McLean, raised $6,000 for charity with a holiday lights event that residents organized on Dec. 19 in lieu of their usual caroling tradition.
Organizers say the donated funds will be given to the Share of McLean food pantry and the nonprofit Get Us PPE, which delivers free personal protective equipment to frontline workers and underserved communities. $200 will also go to the McLean Volunteer Fire Department.
The idea for “Light Up Chesterbrook Woods” came from a place of both grief and celebration, according to resident Carla Post, who says she started thinking about potential substitutes for the traditional neighborhood caroling festivities in November.
“I started thinking about…how so many lives had been lost and how so many traditional holiday mainstays would not happen this year,” Post said. “I started wondering what we could do to come together as a community in joy and remembrance.”
Post reached out to her fellow caroling organizers — Kara Stoll, Lori Boerner, and Amanda Majkowski — about doing an illumination event instead, and they “were unanimously supportive.”
Though they had only a few weeks to stage the event, the four women got such an enthusiastic response to “Light Up Chesterbrook Woods” that it ultimately spilled over into other nearby neighborhoods.
More than 260 households participated in the event, which involved the distribution of 8,000 luminaria – votive candles in paper bags – that residents used to decorate their yards, walkways, and driveways.
Many neighbors assisted by donating paper bags or helping deliver the luminaria kits to different houses. Other households contributed by providing outdoor entertainment during the event, from caroling and a trombone concert to a screening of the movie “Home Alone” and a performance by professional musicians Lynn Veronneau and Ken Avis from the jazz band Veronneau.
Boerner used Google Maps to create a route for residents to find the participating houses so they could admire the lights either by foot or from a vehicle.
Organizers say “Light Up Chesterbrook” was a clear success, and they have gotten requests to turn it into an annual event.
“It was such a beautiful evening all around,” Chesterbrook resident Patty Freeman said. “The weather was perfect for strolling thru [sic] the ‘hood to see all the lights, listen to wonderful music, and view the scenes on the movie screens. We truly have a special neighborhood.”
Photo by Michelle Joss
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on 10 proposed changes to its Fairfax Connector bus service, including alterations to several routes in the Tysons area.
Fairfax Connector announced on Dec. 18 that, in response to the opening of a new Cedar Lane Bridge over Interstate 66, it will enhance service to Routes 462 and 467, which link the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station with Tysons Corner.
In a news release issued yesterday (Tuesday), FCDOT provides more details on those impending changes, which are set to take effect on Jan. 4:
Route 462 — Dunn Loring-Navy Federal-Tysons: This route would continue to serve Old Courthouse Rd. and Gallows Rd. operating every 30 minutes, during rush hour, presently being served by Route 422. The route is now linked to Route 467.
Route 467 — Dunn Loring-Tysons: This change would add service to Old Courthouse Road and Gallows Road, add Sunday service and improve frequency, operating every 40 minutes, 7 days a week.
On top of those changes, Fairfax Connector is also exploring the possibility of adding five routes that would replace service previously provided by Metrobus.
Two of the proposed new routes would serve the Tysons area:
Route 703 — Pimmet Hills: This route would replace Metrobus 3T and provide service between the West Falls Church Metrorail and McLean Metrorail stations, operating Monday-Friday + Saturday
Route 715 — Chain Bridge Rd.: This route would replace Metrobus 15K on weekdays only. The first southbound trip starts at Langley and would eliminate a section of the current Metrobus 15K route between Rosslyn and Langley.
FCDOT will host a virtual community meeting on all of the suggested service changes on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. Registration for the WebEx event is now open.
Community members can also share their feedback by taking an online survey that is available in English and Spanish, emailing [email protected], calling 703-339-7200, or sending a letter addressed to FCDOT Planning at 4050 Legato Road #400 Fairfax, VA 22033-2895.
Public comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Jan. 22.
According to a presentation on the service changes, FCDOT plans to request that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approve its proposal in February. If approved, the changes would take effect in July 2021.
Photo via Fairfax Connector/Facebook
McLean House Fire Caused by Unattended Cooking — Fire investigators have determined that a condominium fire that occurred in the McLean area approximately 9:05 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 21) was caused by cooking left unattended in the kitchen. The blaze displaced three occupants and resulted in approximately $93,750 of damages. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Fairfax County Exceeds Face Mask Donation Goal — “In total, 77,010 cloth face coverings were donated and distributed this year. To provide free masks to the most vulnerable, including low-income families, the county put out a call in May for the community’s help to sew and donate 65,000 masks for children and adults.” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ends Use of Cash Bail — “Fairfax County’s top prosecutor formally announced Monday [Dec. 21] that his office would no longer seek cash bail, saying it exacerbates inequalities between the rich and poor in the criminal justice system.” [The Washington Post]
McLean Community Center Finds New Way to Celebrate Christmas — “The McLean Community Center on Dec. 12 held a special event to take the place of its traditional “Breakfast with Santa.” Youngsters ages 2 to 8 had the chance to take a photo with Saint Nick in a contact-less, outdoor environment. Santa was safe and secure in an inflatable snow globe.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Fairfax County will host Virginia’s first-ever Smart City Challenge next month.
Scheduled to kick off on Jan. 23, the challenge is a month-long virtual competition where teams of participants will develop and pitch potential solutions to challenges in health, transportation, housing, education, energy, infrastructure, public safety, and other facets of society.
Fairfax County has partnered with several public, private, and nonprofit groups to organize the contest, including Smart City Works, the McLean-based nonprofit Refraction, Virginia Tech, Girls in Tech DC, and the Universities at Shady Grove.
“The goal of the Challenge is to advance equitable and inclusive opportunities for all people to thrive in the greater Washington, D.C., region,” Smart City Works said in a Dec. 21 press release announcing the challenge.
While the challenge was designed with the D.C. area in mind, anyone, from college students to startups, can participate regardless of where they live. Organizers say they will put a particular focus on encouraging women and people of color to get involved.
Registration is currently open. There is an admission fee of $15 for students and $30 for everyone else “to help defray hosting and other expenses,” Smart City Works says on its website.
Conducted entirely online through Zoom, the challenge will give participants a month to form teams and use data, resources, and mentors made available by organizers to develop ideas for how technology or other forms of innovation can be used to make communities more equitable, livable, resilient, and sustainable.
Teams will present their projects to a panel of judges, who will evaluate the pitches based on innovation, regional impact, practicality, and equity and inclusivity. Winners will be awarded more than $350,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, along with an opportunity to implement pilot projects with Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, and other partner organizations.
Alongside the actual competition, the challenge will feature streamed and recorded discussions with government, nonprofit, and business leaders throughout the month. Anticipated speakers include Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Dominion Energy CEO Bob Blue, and Fairfax County Deputy County Executive Rachel Flynn.
“The Smart City Challenge is the perfect opportunity to tap bright minds to improve the lives of everyone in the Washington, D.C., area through technology, innovation, and problem-solving,” Refraction CEO Esther Lee said. “We are excited to bring together forward-thinking businesses, entrepreneurs, universities, government, and nonprofits to showcase collaboration and thought leadership.”
Fairfax County previously partnered with Smart City Works and Refraction to start the Northern Virginia Smart Region Initiative, which aims to foster innovation and economic growth in the area.
The county contributed $50,000 when the two nonprofits successfully applied for a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to fund the initiative in 2019.
Photo by Michelle Goldchain
McLean Community Center Executive Director George Sachs will retire next year, MCC Marketing and Communications Director Sabrina Anwah confirmed to Tysons Reporter yesterday (Monday).
Sachs has served in the role for more than a decade, a tenure that includes overseeing the massive, $8 million renovation of the community center’s Ingleside Avenue facility that was completed in December 2018.
While more details about Sachs’s decision to retire likely won’t come until the new year, MCC has put out an advertisement for the position on the Fairfax County government’s job database.
As the MCC’s chief administrative officer, the executive director plans, organizes, and manages the agency’s facilities, programs, and services, which range from community events and classes to musical and dramatic performances at the 386-seat Alden Theatre.
According to the job posting, the executive director is also responsible for hiring and training both professional and volunteer staff, supervising MCC’s website and public communications, reviewing the budget, and serving as a liaison to elected officials as well as local public and private groups, among other duties.
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor’s degree in arts administration, recreation administration, or a closely related field; plus five years of progressively responsible supervisory experience administering diversified recreational or cultural programs, preferably in a large recreational or cultural facility. A master’s degree may be substituted for one year of the required experience.
CERTIFICATES AND LICENSES REQUIRED:
The following must be obtained within 90 days of employment:
- First Aid
- Strong leadership skills with the ability to foster a healthy organization and encourage teamwork and collaboration.
- Demonstrated success and experience in recreation operations, planning and programming.
- Ability to identify and mitigate risk in operations.
- Experience with budget development and management.
- Ability to oversee a robust communications and marketing strategy.
- Experience overseeing capital projects and improvements.
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.).
- Knowledge of virtual meeting and conferencing platforms.
NECESSARY SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS:
- The appointee to the position must satisfactorily complete a criminal background check, credit check, and Child Protective Services check.
- Must be able to communicate with others verbally and in writing.
The job posting notes that the position requires frequent evening meetings, along with occasional weekend and holiday work. Applicants may also be required to lift up to 15 pounds, and while the job “is generally sedentary in nature,” the ability to read and work on a computer is essential.
The advertised salary range is between $95,447 and $159,078 annually.
The posting is scheduled to close at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 15. MCC will hold panel interviews to select its next executive director.