power line marching through the backyards of Westbriar is the extension
cord that powers Tysons. Three hundred meters spans the forest that was recently
spared from the woodman's axe.
Under the line is a path,
well-worn, but fit only for the most agile. It crosses the Spring Branch Creek
for the sure-footed, but only during low water. Even then your choice is fording
a gravelly area up to your ankles, or clambering over sharp rocks. When rains
come, the "Asphalt Triangle" comprised of Routes 7, 123, Old Courthouse,
and Gosnell Roads, two shopping centers, and the huge car dealships disgorge
the runoff that quickly makes the stream an impassible torrent.
The master plan for the
Tyson makeover has put a premium on walkability and bikability. A network
of trails is a vital part of that goal. The Vesper Trail has been looked at
for many years as an important link.
Last night, Fairfax County
unveiled their plan for making the route safe year 'round for pedestrians
and bicyclists. The project is Federally funded, and already approved. It
is estimated to cost about $1.5 million, and will be finished in 2016. Detailed
descriptions and artist renderings were displayed on tripods and walls of
the Westbriar Elementary School cafeteria.
The audience of about
50, mostly residents of Greater Tysons Green, were generally pleased with
the plan. No one expressed any serious objections, but some concerns were
raised during a Question-Answer session.
One concern was whether
the bridge span was wide enough to carry the storm water. It seemed a bit
small for the realities of a large storm. Another was the lighting, and whether
it would be an annoyance to residents along Higdon Drive. Currently proposed
lighting is on 18 foot poles spaced 85 feet apart.
A strategically-placed cement block aids the present dicey
Another concern was the
possibility of the trail becoming too popular, especially with commuters who
may overuse the surrounding streets and create parking problems for residents.
Nobody was happier than
the many bicyclists present. While admittedly Tysons would be a long walk,
especially for us in Westbriar, it will be a real boon for the 2-Wheel set
coming from anywhere in Vienna. The route will eliminate dangerous maneuvering
along 123, Old Courthouse Road and Gosnell.
The bicyclists expressed
appreciation to the County for the resurfacing of another forest-crossing
trail, Ashgrove Lane, The potholes were getting to be downright dangerous,
especially in low light conditions.
Vanessa Aguayo describes
Lawrence Weisgal installs rails
on the Ashgrove Lane bridge.
|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.
Thinking in Progress
The rules for conduct were as strict as the rules of chess themselves:
No pizza near the boards, no cell phones, even on vibrate, quiet above all.
This, after all, is an official USCF tournament.
But still, a lot of fun, and other things to see and do for non-players,
as the chess pieces silently fell in the cafeteria.
And all for a good cause. This year's recipient of the proceeds is the region's
twenty children's hospitals, and will go 100% to pediatric operating expenses.
is the brain child of two exceptional kids. Meet Garrett and Gabby Heller,
This is their 3rd year
About twenty five tables were set up and getting serious as
we tip-toed out to the lobby for a slice of hot pizza.
Sofia Forbes, a student at Oakton Elementary, completes a bold queen exchange
with her father.
NEW 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
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
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.
The official ballots have been
mailed out to eligible voters along Creek Crossing Road to determine whether
or not they want three Speed Humps offered by the Fairfax County Department
of Transportation. Voter have until November 1 to mark their choice.
Information describing the speed
hump program is found HERE. For eligible
voters, the only question is: Do you want the rush hour speeding reduced,
or is the situation just fine with you as is? All voters have been contacted
Traffic calming is not universally
embraced. Many drivers like the freedom to make their commute in the least
possible time, and are willing to risk citations to do so. People who live
along the speedways are more apt to feel differently.
Speed Humps are second only to
active police radar as a technique to keep traffic calm. But year-around police
presence is not going to happen.
NEW Westbriar Resident
||Hi there: I'm appealing for your help in a cause dear to my
heart. As some of you may know, and most do not,
I was diagnosed with Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma several years
ago (just about the same time they told me I needed open heart surgery). I
had the heart surgery in 2011 and it was very successful...we backpacked as
a family rim-to-rim across the Grand Canyon 11 months later.
is a very rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that occurs in the skin. We caught
it early (stage 1-A) and we hit it hard with UV-B phototherapy 3 times a week
for quite awhile at first, tapering down to once every two weeks these days,
and I seem to be in complete remission at this point. Life is good.
So...the point of my story: Tomorrow evening, Friday, October 17, Diane and
I will be participating in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light the
Night"...a walk "To the end of cancer." (Light The Night).
We will be walking with a team from our church in memory of Ira Hamburg,
a friend who recently lost his battle with lymphoma. We ask your support of
our walk for old folks like me and Ira and, more importantly, for the millions
of kids and their families battling leukemia and lymphoma. If you're tapped
out, as many of us are this time of year, we perfectly understand. If, however,
you can swing a donation (large or
small) to support our walk, we would be very grateful. Thanks for your time.
Ed note: Ken Foley is a home builder and community
activist who has been very effective in working with Vienna on issues that
benefit us here in Westbriar. Notably, Ken was the driving force behind delicate
negotiations to solve the noise problem at the Terrorist Screening Center
on Follin Lane in 2012.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Here's an excerpt from
Chairman Bulova's Byline Oct 2014 that caught our eye. It involves one of
the area's best-kept secret places to spend an enjoyable day: Occoquan. The
best part is the little historical "nugget" about the river that
probably few are aware of.
Last weekend I participated in a ground breaking for
the future renovation of the Occoquan Regional Park. Over the next two years,
this park will be rebuilt as a major waterfront destination park. The largest
feature in the refurbished park will be the Jean R. Packard Occoquan Center.
Through a future Park Bond Referendum, Fairfax County has pledged to fund
the "1608 Room," which will focus on Explorer John Smith's excursion up the
Potomac River in 1608 with a crew from the Jamestown Colony. They were the
first Europeans to visit what is today Occoquan Regional Park. The 1608 Room
will educate visitors about this historic part of Fairfax County, including
native vegetation, wildlife and people. The main room will offer stunning
views of the river and will be available for gala functions and receptions,
becoming one of the signature sites in the region for social gatherings. A
cafe will offer park users an attractive place for a casual meal while enjoying
the beautiful surroundings - a perfect complement to the Workhouse Arts Center
Jean Packard attended the groundbreaking event and was as gracious and sharp
as ever. For those who may not know of Jean's many contributions to Fairfax
County, she served as the Board of Supervisors first woman chairman from 1972
to 1975; just 55 years after suffragettes seeking the vote for women were
treated brutally at the Occoquan prison (now the Regional Park and Workhouse
Arts Center grounds). Jean went on to serve in leadership roles in pretty
much every environmental board or initiative throughout the next four decades.
She is best known for her efforts in protecting the County's drinking water
from dense development through the downzoning of the Occoquan watershed in
the 1980's. Thank you, Jean!
While celebrating Jean Packard's contributions toward protecting one of our
most important resources - water - I was reminded of another individual who
stepped up to the plate at a critical time in history to ensure Fairfax County's
access to clean water.
Paul Andino served as my appointee on the Water Authority Board for over
20 years, with his wife Margaret stepping in for him during Paul's illness
in 2008. In 1996, during Paul's service, Fairfax Water was attempting to build
a new off-shore intake on the Potomac River to take advantage of the higher
water quality deeper in the river. Maryland had permitting authority because
the boundary between Maryland and Virginia is at the Virginia shoreline.
| In December of 1997, Maryland denied
the permit, kicking off a long legal and political battle over rights to the
Potomac River. Paul was not a lawyer or a professional historian, but he was
an avid reader of history. During these days prior to the Internet, when research
meant climbing over shelves and pouring through dusty volumes of books, Paul
was able to produce what was later described as the "gold nugget" solution for
Virginia's right to water in the Potomac.
The gold nugget was the 1785 "Mount Vernon Compact." The compact
was written at Mount Vernon at the urging of George Washington with representatives
of both Virginia and Maryland to try to resolve a dispute on the boundary
between the states. Virginia was represented by George Mason and Alexander
Henderson. The compact's seventh article stated, "The citizens of each state,
respectively, shall have full property on the shores of the Potowmack River
adjoining their lands, with all emoluments and advantages thereunto belonging,
and the privilege of making and carrying out wharves and other improvements,
so as not to obstruct or injure the navigation of the river..." Further research
uncovered the 1977 Black Jenkins Award which affirmed Virginia's "full enjoyment
of her riparian rights." The happy end to the story is that Virginia won her
case which went all the way to the Supreme Court.
A little autumn nip in the air was no match for the rays of
the sun, the hot pizza, wiener schnitzel, and the warmth of the crowd.
Oktoberfest 2014 was a winner all around with the largest crowd
ever. This year attendance got an amazing boost by publicity on NBC4. Definitely
the place to be for all ages.
A tip of the feathered hat to Burgermeister Greg Bernhard and
the Vienna Business Association for a wonderful afternoon of lively music,
great food, cold beer, a chance to meet old friends and share good memories.
will begin in late October and will continue through December. A total of
three passes will be made. Exact scheduling is made on the basis of "facts
on the ground," and signs will be placed at entrances to neighborhoods.
Town residents also have the option to bag leaves for collection on your regular
weekly collection day. Use clear plastic bags or paper yard waste bags. For
more information about leaf collection, call the Town of Vienna Public Works
Department 703-255-6380, or click HERE.
To prevent the wind from
undoing all your hard work, get your leaves to the curb "just in time"
for the vacuum truck. Yes, maybe easier said than done.
||Family Halloween Party, Saturday, October
18, from 2 to 3 pm, kids ages 4 through 12, outside of the Vienna Community
Center. Admission free. Come in costume! Festive games, crafts, door prizes,
and a hayride. Sponsored by the Vienna Parks and Recreation Department and Optimist
Club of Vienna. For more information, call Parks and Recreation at (703) 255-6360.
In the event of rain, the party will be held in the gymnasium.
Halloween Costume Party and Late Night Evening of Mild Fright for
teenaged youth on Friday, October 24, at 3:30 p.m. until 10 pm at the
Club Phoenix Teen Center located in the Vienna Community Center. Admission
is Free. Games, food, a costume contest and age appropriate Halloween movies.
more information, call (703) 255-5721.
HALLOWEEN PARADE Wednesday,
Oct 29 The 68th
annual Vienna Halloween Parade will begin at 7 p.m. on Maple Avenue from Berry
Street to Center Street. This year's parade theme is "Celebrating the
Tradition of Vienna Girls Sports" with Frank Lancaster serving as Grand
Marshal. Once again, the parade will feature the Washington Redskins Marching
Band as a special guest. Kids are invited to walk in the parade in their Halloween
costumes. No registration is required. Meet at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot
of United Bank, 374 Maple Avenue, E. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Several side streets
off Maple Avenue will be closed and no on-street parking will be allowed beginning
at approximately 4:45 p.m. to allow parade participants to line up. All streets
will reopen at the conclusion of the parade around 9 p.m.
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
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
Red Army Invades the Town Hall 9/22/14
What a summer!
Vienna's own 9-10 year old Little Leaguers had an astonishing run to look
back on as they took on all comers, and went on to claim the 2014 Virginia
State and District Championship trophies.
The Team, known as the Red Army, did a victory lap Monday night at the Vienna
Town Council meeting, as Mayor Laurie DiRocco introduced them to an appreciative
MAC Zoning Initiative
Changes to Vienna's Development
and Redevelopment Building Code have taken a step forward in Monday's Town
Council general meeting. Known as the Maple Avenue Corridor Zoning Option,
or MAC, the code's provisions are intended to promote and encourage compact,
pedestrian-oriented development, consistent with preserving Vienna's unique
The MAC provisions have
been under citizen review over the summer in formal hearings and through correspondence.
(see related story.) Based on citizen and government input,
the provisions have been refined by definitions and clarifications in such
topics as bicycle parking, automobile shared parking, public art, and signage.
Public hearings are now closed.
The Council passed a motion
made by Councilwoman Kelleher to place the ordinance amendment on the 20 October
agenda, and advertise a Notice of Intent to adopt.
Mrs. Green's Deal Dissolves 9/16/14
Plans to open a branch of Mrs. Green's, a food store based in New York, and
featuring natural and organic selections, have been scrapped.
The store was to open where long-time McGruder's was located.
A Chopt Salad is currently under construction in part of the building.
A Fairfax branch of Mrs. Greens closed in August after being in business
for only nine months.
Wu's Garden, a Vienna landmark
for many decades, closed its doors last winter, much to the sorrow of the
region's fans of Chinese food delux.
In its place, the steel structure
of a new building is rising quickly. When finished, it will be the home of
two new dining choices: Potbelly, and Zoe's Kitchen. Both are growing chains,
featuring fast, but made to order sandwiches, soups and salads. Potbelly is
decidedly American, but Zoe's has a Mediterranean slant. Both offer catering
as well as on-line ordering.
LEFT: A little
bit of Wu's Garden will stay behind. A portion of the original brick wall
just happened to fit into the new design, saving some construction costs
Last night it was standing room only as the Town Council heard from the public
their opinions on the Maple Avenue Corridor initiative. 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 MAC program was overwhelmingly popular with the more than two dozen citizens
who chose to speak. Among them were Vienna merchants, leaders in a variety
of commercial and citizen advocacy groups and associations, and a cross section
of citizens who simply live and shop in town.
Laine High noted that "the general success of the Church Street Vision
Project is the single largest argument for planning with a structured vision."
"Long overdue .... embrace the changes with a proactive stance,"
was how Dennis Couture put it. "It is an econmic incentive, turning a
travel route into a destination.... a Win-Win."
Carol Wolfand, owner of Vienna Paints, echoed these thoughts. "Sometimes,
the challenges that are given to us when we are creating something for the
future are difficult," she said. But "it's time for Vienna to step
in to the future."
Mike Gelb said it would "... make a good place even better."
Not all speakers were so positive. Roger Maamary was the least optimistic,
saying that the duty of the Town's elected leadership is to keep things exactly
as they are. "We have a perfect melting pot right now," he said.
Among those who were favorably impressed with, but not 100% sold on the MAC,
spoke to a number of possible drawbacks. One recurring issue was traffic,
and the fact that as Vienna becomes more attractive to development, the attendant
congestion and parking problems will get worse.
The basic features of the MAC program were outlined by (above,
L to R) Urban Consultant Elisabeth Lardner, Deputy Director of Planning
and Zoning Matt Flis, and Chairman of the MAC Steering Committee, Doug Noble.
Explanations of the program elements and their relationship to the overall
goals was made clear by graphical information on the Town Hall's new big screen
The vision is not new. The groundwork goes back decades and has been methodically
refined by many group efforts over the years.
At present, development along Maple Avenue is controlled by strip mall zoning
dating to the 1950's, and the Council and the citizens have had very little
say about the details of what was built or redeveloped. The MAC Zoning Option
is designed to achieve through architectual and citizen review, redevelopment
to maintain the uniqueness of Vienna.
One of the elements of the MAC initiative is the raising of the height limit
for new buildings from 3 stories to 4. The advisability of this change was
the subject of reticence of several speakers to fully endorse the plan.
Vienna already does have a few buildings exceeding three stories which were
erected by successful zoning appeals. By comparison, Herndon, Falls Church,
Leesburg, and Fairfax City all allow buildings taller than our proposed four
stories. Even with 4 stories, we will still be the short guy in the region.
The MAC framework is carefully considering perspective and human
scale. Tall buildings are not going to rise from the sidewalk, they will be
set back appropriately.
Public hearings are still open, and will reconvene on September
8. Meanwhile, you may write or email your opinion to the Council. Please look
over the whole plan, which can be found HERE.
1st in Vienna 7/14/14
The Freeman House is the first 3-D Vienna
building in Google Earth.
If you are familiar with the remarkable free computer program Google Earth,
this will be just a note of passing interest. But if you are not familiar,
and you download it, your life will be changed forever. You may start spending
all your waking hours learning more about our world than you ever thought
Virtually every square inch of the world has now been photographed in high
resolution, many times over. Google Earth puts all these photos onto a virtual
globe, and gives you the tools to fly anywhere, and zoom in on the details.
You can see your house and your car in the driveway. You can "drive"
down streets and experience the streetscapes in seamless photography.
You can also see 3 dimensional buildings from above. The Freeman House is
the first such building in Vienna. Note the caboose in the lower left is just
a blob on the ground, as is the roof of Dr. Gannon's office in the upper left.
But the Freeman House has been enhanced, and you can circle around it like
a bird, seeing all sides accurately from the point of view of your location
above it. Almost all large buildings in downtown Washington DC are now rendered
CHILDREN's GARDEN FUTURE UNCERTAIN 5/20/14
One of the best kept secrets of Vienna is known to parents
of pre-schoolers who also happen to take excusions on the W&OD Trail.
It is a tiny whimsical garden located between the Caboose and the historical
Railroad Station, meticulously crafted and lovingly maintained for ten years
by the Ayr Hill Garden Club.
Garden is dedicated to Dorothy
McDiarmid, a Virginia Delegate for 20 years.
daughter is a past president of Ayr Hill Garden Club.
The Children's Discovery Garden is tucked away under a gigantic
mural depicting a railroad. It is a neatly manicured collection of plants
chosen specifically to stimulate the senses. There is lavender and rosemary
for the nose. There are tall spikey flowers with improbably shapes for the
eyes. There is aptly-named lamb's ear to delight the touch. And sprinkled
all around are the garden's denizens: bunny rabbits, bears, birds, and more.
There are surprises around every corner. For the basic three year old, it
is pretty much unbeatable.
But delightful and inspiring as it is, the garden is in trouble.
It is being eyed by the Town as a location to add some much needed parking
along Dominion Drive.
Ayr Hill Garden Club members
discuss their options.
L to R, Garden Chairman Kata Bartoloni-Tuazon, Club President Pamela Weiss,
and Anna Marie Mulvihill
The garden club does not disagree with the critical parking
problem, especially in summer when bikers and other trail users choose Vienna
as their access point.
"What we want is to keep the garden going," explained
club Presiden Pamela Weiss. "We want to work with the town to relocate
in a way that works best for everyone."
One solution that has promise is to move it into the area
around the Caboose, perhaps against the stone wall along Church Street. The
club is negotiating with Parks and Recreation Director, Cathy Salgado, to
see what can be done.
A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 2.
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