Tysons, VA

Fairfax County NAACP announced a new virtual town hall to discuss system racism in public schools with Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand.

Brabrand was originally going to co-host a town hall on the topic with Fairfax NAACP on July 21. He dropped out of the event, which took place the same night the county’s school board reconsidered reopening plans for schools.

Fairfax NAACP pivoted and used the town hall on July 21 to unveil the organization’s priorities for combatting racism in schools. Fairfax NAACP President Sean Perryman said during the event that the organization would work to reschedule the discussion with Brabrand.

Now, Brabrand and Fairfax NAACP are scheduled to host a town hall from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5. People can watch the event on Facebook Live.

“One topic that will be discussed is the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” Fairfax NAACP posted on Facebook, sharing a YouTube video by The Root, a Black-oriented online magazine, that explains how the School-to-Prison Pipeline works.

Here’s the event description:

From academic achievement, enrollment at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, to the School Resource Officer program and the school-to-prison pipeline, systemic racism effects our children’s lives every day. This will be a civil discourse where we can openly talk about our and our kids’ experiences, ask questions, and talk about what change looks like.

Photo via Sam Balye/Unsplash

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Citizens Group Raises Concerns About Tysons Project — “A proposed Tysons development might be the right thing for a spot now occupied by low-rise commercial buildings, but the applicant should resubmit the proposal after making several improvements, McLean Citizens Association board members said July 1.” [Inside NoVa]

FCPS Town Hall Tonight — “Join FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Sloan Presidio, and director of the office of special education procedural support Jane Strong for an FCPS virtual Town Hall on Monday, July 6, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Tysons Company Donates Thousands of Masks — “Fairfax County received a donation of 15,000 FDA-approved KN95 masks from Portals Global, a Tysons-based consulting firm. Portals Global’s CEO Omo Igiehon said he chose Fairfax County as the donation recipient in order to give back to the community that he has lived in for 21 years.” [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

New Mayor, Town Council Members — “New Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert and the new Town Council will be sworn into office at a public ceremony on July 6. The ceremony will be held outside the Vienna Community Center at 6 p.m.” [Patch]

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Last night’s town hall with Fairfax County’s police chief covered a variety of issues related to police reform, from progress on the demands made by Fairfax County NAACP to body-worn cameras.  

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn hosted the meeting last night to give locals a chance to provide input and ask questions. The conflict-free town hall mainly focused on Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. answering questions from audience members and explaining FCPD’s policies in detail. 

Roessler highlighted the reforms made by FCPD since the shooting of John Geer, an unarmed Springfield man, in 2013. They have shifted towards a “co-production” method of policing, which emphasizes the importance of community engagement by bringing in advocates to review issues and discuss police report narratives. 

A big goal of the police department is to increase diversion of tasks, including sending mental health or substance abuse cases away from the police. Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who is the chair of the county’s Public Safety Committee, also emphasized that the current range of issues diverted to the police is “too much to ask of them” and is in support of the Diversion First model. 

The chief addressed terminology that the public wanted to be defined, including the FCPD’s definition of the use of force as “anything beyond a guide or escort, or above putting handcuffs on.” Roessler said that anything beyond that is subject to investigation. Additionally, he clarified that chokeholds are prohibited in Fairfax County. 

Roessler also touched on the development of body-worn cameras. He said that the idea has been in the works since June 2015, and he wants to adopt the co-production model of community engagement in this development.

He says they are making “great progress” on this project and that the policies regarding the cameras are addressed online in an American University pilot program testing the same model of body camera policies. They plan to evaluate the body cameras again in-person in September to ensure the policies are exceeding community expectations.

Roessler discussed the evaluation and promotion process of officers, saying that evaluation begins upon application. He described a thorough path of training that officers go through before assignments. Additionally, they value community engagement when evaluating candidates for senior staff positions to ensure officers “embody the spirit of what the community needs for the future.” 

“We want our officers to engage with the community members in a positive fashion, not just calls for service,” Roessler said in describing what they look for upon officer evaluation. 

Other issues covered included the presence of the MS-13 gang, to which Roessler said they “will be relentless on gang activity in Fairfax County.”

When asked how the police department addresses domestic and sexual violence, Roessler said they use the Lethality Assessment Program — Maryland Model to assess the situation and connect victims with immediate help, such as counselors, attorneys or volunteers from the community.

Photo via Youtube Live

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is inviting locals to join his upcoming virtual event with Fairfax County’s police chief.

Alcorn plans to host the virtual town hall with Chief of Police Edwin Roessler Jr. from 7-8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1.

Hunter Mill District residents can join in the discussion on the police department and the community by asking questions or providing input on policing topics, according to an email from Alcorn’s office. People who cannot attend the event live can email questions to the Hunter Mill District Office.

Participants will have a number of ways of joining the town hall, which will be hosted on Webex.

People can either register to attend via Webex, watch on YouTube Live or listen in by calling 1-408-418-9388 and using the access code 129 359 7948.

Once the event ends, the YouTube video will be available on the Hunter Mill District website sometime on Thursday evening, according to the email.

Alcorn photo via Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Facebook, Roessler photo via Fairfax County

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The Fairfax County NAACP plans to host a town hall Tuesday night on how to make police departments more accountable to their communities.

“As we watch protests and demonstrations on the streets of America, we look to move forward in our community by reforming police practices and holding police accountable to the community,” according to the event description.

Fairfax NAACP invited the police chief and sheriff in Fairfax County, along with the county’s prosecutor and elected officials, according to the Facebook event page.

Fairfax NAACP recently unveiled a series of public safety recommendations and will go over the proposals during the town hall.

Some of the ideas include:

  • removing the School Resource Officer (SRO) program
  • increasing data reports from the county’s police department
  • continuing the rollout of body-worn cameras
  • putting officer misconduct records in a public database
  • reviewing Fairfax County police’s use of force policy
  • preventing police from buying and using military weapons

The town hall follows global, anti-racism protests sparked by George Floyd’s death and a recent incident in Fairfax County where a white officer stun gunned an unarmed black man.

The town hall is scheduled to take place from 7-9 p.m. via Zoom, according to the Facebook event page.

Photo by Bill Oxford 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 scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Though many in-person events are canceled, organizations and businesses are setting up digital events to keep people occupied.

Tuesday (April 21)

  • Free Mecial Traning The American Red Cross in McLean is putting together digital training for people who want to learn about adult and pediatric first aid, CPR, lifeguarding and more at 9 a.m. This training is free but participants must sign up online.
  • Online Budget Town Hall — Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust will host a digital budget town hall from 7-8:30 p.m. People can submit questions by calling 703-324-1114, post them in a comment under the Facebook Live event or email them in advance. The town hall will also be shown on Channel 16 and be streamed online.
  • Virtual Trivia at Lost Dog Cafe The cafe is hosting free trivia for community members starting at 7 p.m., streamed live from the location in McLean. This event is free and prizes will be mailed to winners, the event page said. People who want to support the eatery can order from the location’s menu and can use the code “delivery” for free delivery.

Thursday (April 23)

Friday (April 24)

  • Mother Goose Minutes Every Friday, the Mary Riley Styles Public Library will post a story time and music video for kids featuring Miss Laura starting at 10:30 a.m., the post said. Anyone who wants to check out the rhymes beforehand can find them online. The videos can be found on the library’s website after they are posted.
  • Friday Art Focus — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library is hosting a free Facebook Live event at 3 p.m. with local artist and illustrator Samantha Fiddy. She will be recreating drawings sent in by viewers beforehand. Anyone interested in participating can tune in or submit work to be recreated to [email protected] People can follow the library’s Facebook post for a link closer to the event.

Saturday (April 25)

  • Virtual Independent Bookstore Day Bards Alley Bookshop in Vienna is planning a virtual day of activities and guests from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to its Facebook page. Details have not been announced yet but people can check the store’s social media accounts for details. People can order books online for curbside pick-up (110 Church Street NW).

Photo via Bards Alley Bookshop/ Facebook

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Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust plans to host a virtual town hall tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the revised budget proposal for Fairfax County.

Fairfax County staff revisited the proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 and made changes to address the economic uncertainty and upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, Foust is set to talk to Fairfax County Chief Financial Officer Joe Mondoro about the budget, and answer people’s questions, according to his recent newsletter to constituents.

The town hall is set to start at 7 p.m. tomorrow and will last until 8:30 p.m.

People can can submit questions by calling 703-324-1114, post them in a comment under the Facebook Live event or email them in advance to [email protected] and include “Dranesville District Budget Town Hall” in the subject line.

The town hall will also be shown on Channel 16 and be streamed online.

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Turn Tysons Streets For Recreational Use? — “Select a few roads and open them to people by closing them to all but local traffic. By doing so, we’ll make space for people to get fresh air and exercise without risk of spreading the coronavirus or getting run over. The cost will only be a few traffic cones, temporary signs, and asking a handful of drivers to go a few minutes out of their way.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Mark Keam Hosting Virtual Town Hall Tonight — “As he returns to Richmond for the reconvene session on April 22, Mark will also answer questions about the Governor’s amendments to some of the bills that passed the legislature this year. Of particular interest to voters in the Town of Vienna, Mark will explain the Governor’s recommendation to move the Town Council elections from May to November.” [Facebook]

Locals Start T-Shirt Fundraiser — “Inspired by a friend’s philanthropic effort in Texas, two Falls Church residents have started their own fundraising campaign to help out during the pandemic, raising money by selling Little City-themed t-shirts. After barely a week in operation, more than 700 shirts have been sold and more than $12,000 has been raised.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Falls Church Cancels Memorial Day Festivities — “The City of Falls Church announced today the cancellation of its biggest event of the year, the annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival, set to take place next month, citing recent executive orders issued by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam urging localities to cancel large-scale events through June 10.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Dranesville School Rep to Host Virtual Town Hall — “Thursday, April 16, and next Monday, April 20, Dranesville School Board Representative Elaine Tholen will hold open town hall meetings with At-Large Representatives, Karen Keys-Gamarra and Rachna Sizemore Heizer, respectively. Leigh Burden, Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services at FCPS will participate in the April 16 town hall as well.” [John Foust newsletter, Blackboard, Blackboard]

New Virtual Exploration Center — The Fairfax County Park Authority created a new virtual exploration center for people who want to explore while staying home. [Fairfax County]

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn plans to host a virtual town hall to communicate with local residents about changes to the proposed fiscal year 2021 budget.

“My staff and I are still working out the details to enable your participation,” Alcorn said in his newsletter yesterday. “I will get that information out to you as soon as it is available through this newsletter, as well as my social media accounts.”

Previously, Alcorn postponed a budget town hall that was set to happen in Vienna on March 21 due to the coronavirus. Holding the town hall virtually will limit the risk of spreading the virus.

The virtual town hall is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. — one day after the updated FY 2021 budget proposal is expected to go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Currently, Fairfax County staff are revising the proposed budget, which was developed before the coronavirus pandemic hit the area, to address expected revenue losses and help small businesses.

Residents can expect opportunities to testify on the budget before the county board between April 14-16.

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An upcoming digital town hall will give Tysons-area residents the chance to ask questions to Del. Marcus Simon (D-53rd District) and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

The event, which was previously set to be held at the Providence Community Center, will now be held as a Facebook Live event from 2-3:30 p.m. next Saturday (March 21).

Efforts to combat the coronavirus prompted the switch from an in-person meeting to an online event.

“We want to do our part to decrease the spread of COVID-19,” the event description said.

Online attendees will have the chance to ask about issues or topics around the area from the location of their choosing, according to the event page.

Topics of discussion are not pre-set, a spokesperson from Simon’s office told Tysons Reporter, adding that both Simon and Palchik will begin the meeting by giving a short address of what they think are important updates around the area.

All are welcome to attend the digital meeting, and the link will be accessible through the event’s Facebook page roughly a week before the meeting, the spokesperson said.

People unfamiliar with Facebook Live events can ask questions in real-time. Palchik and Simon will receive notifications when people submit a comment and will then be able to address questions.

For troubleshooting tips, people can check out Facebook’s website.

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