A Home Efficiency
Last winter's stubborn chill imposed an involutary stress test on the capacity
of our houses to keep us comfortabe. That chill and February's natural gas
rate spike motivated some of us on Vienna's Community Enhancement Commission
to compare our consumption for space heat. Those of us who have invested in
making imprvements to the efficiency performance of our older house had up
to 40% better results.
The benefits are not limited to the financial savings and lowered emissions.
I enjoy improved indoor comfort, humidity is more easily managed, the late
spring ant invasion is nearly eliminated and the addit odors intruding into
second floor bedrooms on hot sunny days are no longer present.
The four most effective actions I have taken are:
1. sealing the basement bandboard area with foam.
2. blocking off openings between second floor and attic.
3. new cellulose attic insulation.
4. installing a very high efficiency gas furnace.
A blower door test allowed me to locate and deal with significant areas of
leakage that were hidden from view.
|The results: My 50-year-old house required 8.2 therms of heating
per 100 square feet during January and February. If you heat with gas, calculate
how well your house compares: Add the therms used in January and February. Unless
your hot water is electric, subtract from that sum the therms from last year's
July and August bills. Divide the result by the size of your house in square
feet, including heated basement area, and mutiply the result by 100. If yours
is an older house (built before 1980) and the resut is lower than 10.0, the
CEC would like to hear about your success and how your achieved it.
A blower door test begins with a fan in your doorway, to pressurizes
the entire house, either positive or negative.
This creates noticable drafts which can be detected easily
with a thermal infrared camera.
Interested in an Energy Audit for your home? Contact Beth at 703-732-4576.
Coming Up: Saving energy by looking at your insulation.
Ross Shearer is a Westbriar Civic Association member and serves on the
Vienna Community Enhancement Commission for the Town of Vienna
Creek Crossing Speed
Calming Verdict In
11/14/14 by Leon
Ballots have been counted,
and the results are in. Enough voters turned in their ballots to achieve a
quorum. Of these, a majority of 107 voters (54.6%) wanted the traffic calming,
and 89 (45.4%) did not.
was needed to pass the measure, Creek Crossing will remain as-is for the
Traffic calming on this street has been an issue for as long as many people
can remember. But this is the first time that anyone has taken the steps all
the way to see what could be done about it.
It would seem that traffic calming is not as popular with the general public
as it is with those living next to a problematic street. But considering the
closeness of the vote, and that a third of the eligible voters did not even
send in their post-paid ballots, it is tempting to speculate on whether a
more aggressive door-to-door campaign might have made a difference. At any
rate, if history is a guide, the issue will likely be revisited in the future.
The person who worked this Fairfax County program is Dr. Micha Joffee, who
lives in Westbriar. Our Civic Association picked up the ballot expenses for
its 90 homes in the voting bloc because
it was considered a beneficial civic exercise.
Joffee personally funded the much larger ballot expenses of the County residents,
because they do not have a functioning Civic Association at this time. He
also funded two informational mailings to all 299 voters.
"Dr. Joffee's dedication on this project was an example of community
spirit at its finest," said Westbriar Association President John Shreffler.
Free Concert Coming Up 11/11/14
Talented Westbriar vocalist releases her first CD
Westbriar's own diva extraordinaire Danielle Talamantes will be hosting a
CD release concert and reception at the Vienna Presbyterian Church on Sunday,
November 23, 7PM.
The album is Canciones Españolas, an eclectic sampling of some
of the most popular folk songs in Spain. Passionate and evocative, it's the
perfect background music as you read the exploits of Don Quixote, or revisit
Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. The concert is free, no tickets,
but door donations are accepted.
Can't make the concert? Listen HERE
at 7PM on 11/23 streaming live.
Holiday Stroll 2014
|Monday, December 1 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Join us for this popular holiday event along Church Street. Santa
will arrive at the Freeman Store to help Mayor DiRocco light the tree at 6:20
pm. All merchants along Church Street will remain open for holiday shoppers.
Enjoy fun family friendly activities including a petting zoo, free
hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows at supervised bonfires. Holiday entertainment
will be provided throughout the evening. Caboose and train station will be
|NEW A Pair of Parties!
Meet our Town Government and our voice out at the Fairfax
Wednesday, December 10
Hunter Mill Holiday Open House
Flame Room, Vienna Volunteer Fire House
4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Supervisor Cathy Hudgins & Staff invites us all for
a cup of cheer and more. Count on great sandwiches and cookies.See you there!
Friday, December 12
Vienna Annual Holiday Reception
Vienna Town Hall
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
The Mayor and Town Council invites us all for more of the
same. Music supplied by JMHS Madrigals, and the Vienna Choral Society.
Water Line Break
Vienna DPW workers were
called out for a Sunday repair of a water line break under Echols Street SE
in Westbriar's Zone A.
Echols is a busy commuter
route which parallels Route 123. Delaying the job until Monday would have
caused traffic problems.
Facility Dedicated 11/8/14
New warehouse space was opened in Merrifield
for the launch of the 20th year of Food for Others. FFO is a safety net for
Northern Virginia residents needing food when an emergency strikes.
Interested in helping? Call Nikki Clifford
at 703-207-9173 or Click.
Fairfax Bond Issue
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.
began in late October and will continue through December. The first of a total
of three passes is just being completed. Exact scheduling is made on the basis
of "facts on the ground," and signs will be placed at entrances
to neighborhoods. You may also bag your leaves for 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, try to get your leaves to the curb "just
in time" for the vacuum truck. Yes, maybe easier said than done.
Redskins trombonist delivers a raspy riff
Bolivian La Diablada dancer
A Gigantic Tennis Shoe proclaims this year's
The new trailhead is about 2.5 miles north of the Caboose,
and marked by a sign, a plaque, and a small kiosk shelter.
As if the cloudless sky and the autumn leaves were not bright enough, about
twenty of the group were clad in a rainbow of colorful Lykra riding suits.
In addition to those who showed up especially for the Saturday morning event,
many trail users paused their jaunt and joined. It was, after all, for them.
The occasion was a ribbon-cutting to open a new trail branch heading north
to Meadowlark Gardens, a premier piece of eye candy for trail users in a comptemplative
The Meadowlark branch has been in the works for a while as details were worked
out. Now, with a key bridge completed, it was time to celebrate. The W&OD
Trail is one of the finest in the country. It is not only the trail itself,
but the interesting places that you can easily access a short distance away.
This new branch is but an example of many more to come.
Getting ready to make the cut is Brian Knapp,
Keith Laughlin, President of Rails to Trails, and Vienna Mayor, Laurie DiRocco.
Popularity of trails is on the increase. Over 80% of respondents to national
surveys show trails to be among the top items on wishlists for people in urban
At left, Brian Knapp, Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional
Park Authority delivered the keynote address.
New trail. Click to enlarge.
TRAIL PLAN UNVEILED
The 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 trek.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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