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NEW 2/19/14

in Vienna

$30,000 is being offered by the FBI for information on two serial bank robbers who have hit seven banks in Northern Virginia, Anne Arundel County, Md., and Charles County, Md. since Jan. 2. The "Black Hat" bandits have become more brazen at each robbery . On Wednesday afternoon the two robbed a BB&T Bank located at 440 East Maple Ave. in Vienna. Both subjects were dressed in all black and carried handguns. Forty minutes later, at 3:56 pm, the two subjects robbed the Wells Fargo Bank located in Sterling. In both robberies the subjects fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

NEW 2/19/14

Fairfax County Budget Proposed

Fairfax County Executive Edward L. Long presented his proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget, including the Multi-Year FY 2016-2017 Budget Plan to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. He proposed a General Fund budget of $3.8 billion for FY 2016 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016), an increase of 2.61 percent over FY 2015 .

"Underlying this budget are the realities of our fiscal situation," explained Long. "Although the county’s economy continues to grow, we are clearly underperforming the national economy. Residential real estate assessments are growing at only half the rate of last year and nonresidential real estate assessments are down from last year. In this economic environment we are not able to fund all our priorities."

The proposed budget maintains the FY 2015 Real Estate Tax Rate at $1.09 per $100 of assessed value.

Reminder 2/19/14 Town of Vienna annual business, professional and occupational license tax is due on Monday March 2.

NEW 2/16/14

Vienna Town Initiatives
Under Consideration

Formation of Arts Advisory Panel

An advisory panel created last year to study a memorial to the late mayor Jane Seeman has been tentatively expanded to become a permanent Vienna Arts Commission. Presented at the February 2 regular meeting, this concept has been opened up to public comment, and a vote on it is scheduled for this Monday's meeting.

The new Commission would advise the Council on matters involving artistic content, primarily, but not limited to concepts along Maple Avenue.

Solar Power Initiative

Vienna is looking seriously at regional programs which are designed to support the expansion of solar energy generation at the home level.

As the price falls and the efficiency of solar cells rises, sunlight power is no longer a pie-in-the sky. The components are commercially available now. Every bit of energy that you pull from the sun is energy that slows down your meter and lowers your electricity bill. Under certain conditions, your meter could even run backwards!

Watch for more news on this issue.

NEW 2/17/14

Snow Bandito Strikes Again

Residents woke up Tuesday to find their driveway snow missing.


It's just Damien having fun with his shiny red Jeep and new plow.

Nobody seems to be complaining. Except maybe some teenagers walking around hoping to shovel for money.

The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone.

But the things you do for others remain as your legacy.

NEW 2/16/14

Thoughts on
President's Day

by Congressman Ron DeSantis

In the U.S. Code, the third Monday in February is set aside to commemorate the birthday of George Washington, yet this has evolved into an unofficial "Presidents' Day."

This is too bad. Washington was one-of-a-kind and deserves the special recognition that the federal statutes afford him. In modern America, Washington is at the same time ubiquitous and under-appreciated.

On the one hand, his name is honored by the federal District of Columbia,

numerous universities, and a state in the Pacific Northwest. His likeness adorns our currency and the monument to him in the nation's capital is by law the tallest structure in the federal district. On the other hand, Washington's legacy seems to have little influence on modern political debates. Continue reading.


State of the County,
and more...

County Chairman Sharon Bulova's newsletter this month is particularly informative and interesting. The State of the County Assessment is given in video format. There is important information about your property tax assessments, I-66 improvements, and lots more to absorb at your leisure. Click HERE.


FIOPS on the Move

Crews have been busy this week in Westbriar Zone A laying a plastic conduit in the right of way along Wolftrap Road SE.

The conduit will carry fibre optic cables, which will significantly upgrade capacity and flexibility between Tysons and the Airport, serving primarily to connect commercial establishments along the Dulles Access corridor.

NEW 2/12/14

Music Lovers:

Save the Date!

The Vienna Choral Society will perform
Text and Sound: When Music Paints a Thousand Words

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tickets and info HERE

"Goose bump good."


Vienna's State Reps Met with Residents

Delegate Mark Keam and Senator Chap Peterson took turns at the mike yesterday morning at the American Legion Post 180 to discuss important regional issues, and to highlight their upcoming legisative goals and strategies. They identified the state budget as the most pressing issue at the moment, and addressing a number of current issues including college campus violence.

Afterwards they answered questions from the enthusiastic audience that filled the hall.

Del. Keam wants certain corporate tax credits eliminated to promote economic growth. "Virginia usually does better than US average. But no so this year."

Among the topics brought up by the audience was a need for more funding for Alzheimer's care, autism in children, and other health-related care programs. Three different speakers pointed to Virginia's low ranking in this area.

Another topic was gun control and the need to stop loopholes such as gun shows from circumventing requirements for background checks. Both leaders agreed with the need, but pointed out these measures routinely die in committee, and do not reach the floor for a vote.

Susan Stillman, a Sierra Club member, made a pitch for more support of renewable energy initiatives. Keam agreed, but indicated that Virginia's coal industry automatically introduces strong competition to solar and wind investments.

Another attendee wanted to see the decriminalization of marijuana. Both leaders were not in favor of this because the Federal Government's laws make state iniatives troublesome and complex. "It is best to wait for them to take the lead," said Keam.

A regular Orange Line rider described a very uncomfortable situation currently with lack of trains, and people packed in like sardines. Petersen described the situation as resulting from a possibly overdone promotion of the Silver Line, and that it needs to be recalibrated for better balance.

Sen. Petersen discusses gun control with a safety advocate privately after the meeting. Both leaders are up for election this November.


Passion for Art Transcends
Limitations of Artist

An inspiring story of what can be done with patience and ten typewriter keys.
CLICK to watch.


Tragic Aircraft Crash
Caught on Dash Camera

Just after takeoff Wednesday, a TransAsia plane crashed in Taiwan, killing about a third of those on board.
for dramatic video.


Another Scam Reported
in Westbriar

A telephone caller identifies himself as the IRS, and claims you owe back taxes, and makes threats of dire legal action. He gives you a chance to get your account in order by .... you guessed it .... buying a GREEN DOT card at the drug store. He is mostly targeting the elderly. Do not fall for it.

No real IRS or any Federal agent, or law enforcement officer would ever contact you by telephone with demands of this kind. Just hang up, and call the police.



Vienna Election Tuesday May 5

Deadline for filing your candidacy is March 1. Councilman Emil Attanasi has declined to run for his appointed seat. So far, incumbents Carey Sienicki, and Howard Springsteen are in the race, and Tara Voigt is running for the third open seat. Anyone else out there with a hat to throw?





A Lesson in Durability

A great read by our favorite local human advocate ...

Sometimes, fate needs to knock you right over to get you to pay attention. That's what it took for me to be mindful.

It was a winter Saturday morning and I was ready to tackle a list of home projects when I took a last peek at my email. A town meeting popped up and suddenly I had to be there. I figured I could also get some exercise if I rode my bike. [Continue]


New Signs Added

Bright yellow "Cross Traffic Does Not Stop" signs have been added below the stop sign at two intersections along Hine Street SE. The intersections of Mashie Drive and Follin Lane have been the scene of accidents and near misses over the years. Nearby residents have asked the Town to consider making these four way stops. A decision has been deferred until after the Follin Lane widening project has been completed.

REALLY NEW 1/13/14

At age 49 hours, Eden Annabel is all belted in for her first automobile ride, home from the hospital.


As 2015 rises ....

"Each New Year, we have before us a brand new book containing 365 blank pages. Let us fill them with all the forgotten things from last year -- the words we forgot to say, the love we forgot to show, and the charity we forgot to offer."

-- Peggy Toney Horton

I-95 Express Lanes Opening


With the I-95 Express Lanes project ahead of schedule, DOT opened the lanes and new ramps last Sunday, December 14th. The current rush hour HOV rules will be in effect until December 29th when tolling will start, but you will be able to try the lanes out for free in non-peak times before the 29th. These lanes will be similar to the I-495 Express Lanes, and will be free to use for buses, motorcycles, and HOV-3 vehicles. Please remember to use these lanes as an HOV-3 vehicle you will need an EZ-Pass Flex. All commuters should familiarize themselves with the new lanes by viewing this short video. For full details visit HERE.

Power Substation
in the works


The 234,000 volt power lines marching across Westbriar between Fairway and Westwood Drives is the Tysons' extension cord. To meet future demand, a new substation is needed which will draw power from these lines.

Virginia Electric Power Company has just filed a Development Plan with Fairfax County to build and operate a new substation located at the north edge of the Spring Branch woods. The present substation located on Tyco Road will continue to operate.

"Hello, this is
Microsoft calling....
Your computer has a
Problem and we are
here to help you


Great! Except that none of it is true. He is not from Microsoft, your computer is fine, and his intention is to harm you.

Nobody from Microsoft, or any legimate company would ever place a call like that. It is a scam. It is a very lucrative scam that is being reported widely on the evening news and in the newspapers. Six Westbriar members have reported it to us in the last month.

If you play along a bit, he will have you hold the Windows key down and press the R key. This will bring up a dialog box, into which he will tell you what to type. This will take you to an error log, which will typically show many low level harmless self-correcting errors that your computer logs daily. This is to gain your trust, and convince you that your computer is malfuctioning.

Then, he will direct you to a web page where you will download software which gives him remote access to your entire computer, so he can "fix things." He will guide you through the steps to marry your computers together. Then, he politely says "Good bye." He will at leisure browse all your communications, banking, and everything else. You shouldn't store your passwords on your computer, but we all do that, and he knows it. He can and will go into your on-line bank accounts and clean them out.

When Microsoft calls,

Fairfax Bond Issue Passes 11/5/14

The Transportation Bond Question passed yesterday. In our Hunter Mill District, 73.3% voted Yes, compared to 71.8% overall in Fairfax County. A number of civic organizations in the greater Vienna and Reston areas, including Westbriar, have been working on trail issues, especially into the Tysons area. Dan Benson, who is the Transportation Advisor at The Trails at Wolftrap HOA, thanks you all for the support.

Bicycles make a lot of sense, especially in an urban area. Compare two commuters going ten miles to work. One exhales perhaps a bathtub-full of CO2 into the atmosphere, over and above what he would exhale at rest. The other is the sole passenger in an SUV which exhales a garage-full of CO2 plus other green house gasses and soot over the same distance. The bicyclist is better for our environment, and is keeping fit. They both the share the roads for the most part. But this is not ideal. Sometimes motorists become impatient behind the slower bicycle. When there is contact, the bicyclist always pays the price. A comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle trail system is a vital part of the Tysons plan.

The Maple Avenue Corridor initiative officially became part of Vienna Town Code last night. MAC is a framework of zoning refinements, recommendations, and other incentives which will encourage compact, pedestrian-oriented development, consistent with preserving Vienna's unique small-town identity. The adoption of MAC is the culmination of years of work by various groups, and input over the summer from Vienna citizens.

Green Dot Scam:
Still Going Strong

We have covered this topic before, but this week's Vienna Police Reports shows no let up in this vicious scam. A Westbriar resident on St. Andrews Drive was a target, but fortunately he did not fall for it.

Ring! A telephone caller, who represents himself as being from the IRS, claims you owe back taxes. He directs you to go to a drug store and purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card, usually for several hundred dollars. Once you do that, he directs you to read the numbers from the card. At that point he has the money, and you have nothing but a hole in your bank account.

A Rite-Aid employee called the police after a customer bought several thousand dollars worth of cards, and was actually talking to the scammer on his cell phone. The responding officer was able to intervene.

No legitimate government or utility company demands payment with these cards. A number of other ruses are used, such as your relative has been arrested in a foreign country and needs to be bailed out of jail. Or, you have won a huge prize. The variations are endless. If you receive any call of this nature, hang up and call the police.

Why do we bother with spelling?

Unlike chess, in spelling the middle game is irrelevant. All that matters is the right choice at the beginning and the end. The middle letters, which must be the correct set of letters, can be completely jumbled and the reader will not be confused. For example:

Arocdnicg to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. Tihs is buseace the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

How can this little known God-given ability of the human brain be exercised to simplify, and perhaps improve, our lives?

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is a way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples, and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.

By William Martin


Vienna VA

Fairfax County

Hunter Mill District

Cathy Hudgins



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