Click to enlarge Photo

NEW 10/15/16

Vienna Choral Society Opens New Season

VCS returns Saturday under the direction of their new Director Mike Horanski. Join them for a few hours of exceptional musical entertainment. They never disappoint.

The Call of Music

Saturday, 10/22/16
7:30 PM
Vienna Baptist Church
541 Marshall Road SW

Vienna's Awesome Halloween Parade comes up this Wednesday October 26!

NEW 10/18/2016

Bikers take Note

A ribbon cutting cermony will take place Friday, 10/19 2 pm at Wiehle-Reston East to celebrate the launch of Capital Bikeshare, which provides residents and visitors short-term, on-demand access to bicycles at Metro bus and rail stations in Reston and Tysons. More info

Meals Tax Forum Monday October 24

Supervisor Hudgins invites you to a community forum on the Fairfax County Meals Tax Referendum at the South Lakes H.S. Lecture Hall. Pros and cons will be discussed, along with the presentation on County Revenues



A threatening sky was of no concern at the biggest and best Oktoberfest yet. Bratwurst, sauerkraut, pizza, and giant pretzels seemed to top the list of edibles, while our own Caboose Brewery supplied the most popular of the potables.

And who to thank for a great afternoon? One would be Vienna Business Association's Director Peggy James, who was spotted as a reveler along with her dad.

Can still smell the deliciousness of the smokey brats.

Face painting was a favorite.

Some mellow sounds from Fat Chance.

Many opted to schmalze it up with party garb and accessories.


There was no shortage of ways to keep the kids entertained.

Can't wait 'till

Arf! Parties are not just for humans.



NEW 9/30/16

Vienna Appoints New DPW Head

Town Manager Mercury Peyton announced at the September 26 meeting the selection of Michael Gallagher as Director of Public Works. He had been serving as the Interim Director since the June retirement of Dennis Johnson.

Gallagher, 36. has 12 years of experience in civil enginnering, and has worked for the Town since 2010. He was appointed Deputy Director last February.

Explaining the Federal Budget Let's keep it simple:

* U.S. Tax revenue (income): $2,170,000,000,000
* Federal spending budget (outgo): $3,820,000,000,000
* New debt (the difference): $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $19,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Simple, but hard to understand.

Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

* Annual family income: $21,700
* Money the family spent this year: $38,200
* New debt added onto the credit card: $16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $192,271
* Total budget cuts so far: $3.85

Now do you get it?


Following the
Blue Line

When planning to build something that involves digging, you must contact Miss Utilities, a group that keeps track of what is underground. They come out and mark stuff: Red for electrical lines, yellow for gas lines, blue for water, etc.

Westbriar's Echols Street has a lot of colorful markings as a new water line is being installed below. This particular stretch has experienced an unusually high number of pipe leaks over the last decade, indicating a probable systemic problem.

At left, workmen excavate to expose the connection point between Echols and the main line running under Niblick Drive. Above, with the work almost done, neighbors take turns rolling out the hot asphalt.

Your Vienna Vehicle Tax is due October 5  
Register for the Halloween Parade by 9/23
Further information.




The 15th anniversary of the 911 attacks was marked this morning at the Freeman House.

A persistant playful breeze made itself part of the ceremony, as it caused occasional roaring noises in the sound system. While this might be distracting in most venues, it seemed strangely appropriate this morning. At times it sounded like high altitude airliners. At other times, it sounded like roaring fire.

Just as Congressman Gerald Connolly was describing his experiences on that fateful day, and said, "... crashed into the Pentagon ....," a particularly strong gust sounded like an explosion.

How Do You Teach 9/11 to Kids that Didn't Experience It? See this story.


Clockwise from top left, American Legion Post 180 presents colors.

Congressman Gerry Connolly contributes some personal memories.

Vienna Mayor Laurie DiRocco reads our Proclamation of Remembrance.

Ron Patterson, past commander of Post 180 adds some moving readings.

VA Delegate Richard Anderson (51st District) delivered the Keynote Address.

Heather Colbert sang a moving rendition of "God Bless America."








Country Fair a Crowd Pleaser

Perfect weather combined with plenty to see made Saturday at the Freeman House the place to be. The theme was a walk back in history a hundred years or so, to celebrate Vienna's farming roots, and see how things were done before we had Giant, Safeway, and Walmart. Kudos to HistoricVienna for a fun afternoon.

The talented Difficult Run String Band kept it hopping with continuous Bluegrass music.

A future homemaker managed to work the washboard and hang it out with clothespins, despite the bright red cast on her arm

The petting zoo was especially popular, with about two dozen kinds of creatures to meet.

A boa constrictor has an interesting feel around one's arm.

A living hive showed what goes on inside.

Churning butter seems close to magic to the present generation.

A young Huck Fynn whitewashes the picket fence.

A mysterious blonde headed robot darted among the crowd all afternoon, amusing most, but sometimes startling little kids.

Noted Civil War historian and author LTC(R) Eric Buckland set up a book signing table for his latest publications.

Buckland is a leading authority
on the colorful local character
John S. Mosby, whose group
could be considered one of
the early versions of the
US Special Forces.

UPDATE 8/21/16


A few finishing touches, some signs and some white and yellow line painting, and the new roundabout was operational last night. A Crier reader reported entering from Locust Street, driving four and one half times around the circle and returning on Locust. "Works great!," he said.

Meanwhile, a stone's throw away, the roof girders of the Community Center's gym are silhouetted against the sky.


Coming Up


The Town has set August for making a roundabout at the intersection of Locust and Park Streets near the Community Center.

Although popular in the rest of the world, we have few roundabouts in the US. And that is a bit odd, considering that they have a lot going for them when compared to lights. They cause no confusion during power failure. But more importantly, they are much more efficient. Nobody waits idly for a red light that happens to be doing nothing for anyone at the moment.

Roundabout Rules are few and simple:

1. Travel the circle counter clockwise as the sign at the left suggests.

2. Cars already in the circle have Right-of-Way over cars that have not yet entered the circle.

3. IMPORTANT Don't do this. It scares dogs.

So, how are they going to fit this thing into the tiny intersection?

Click image to enlarge.

More Information

It will be a Mini Roundabout. The center will be a slightly raised dome of bricks, low enough that it could be driven over by fire engines and 18 wheelers when necessary.

Through traffic will be detoured around the construction via Park Street and Moore Avenue.

New 7/25/16

Hottest Day
So Far ....


If you are navigating a Metro commute through Orange and Silver lines Safety Surge 2, nobody will blame you for being a bit on edge.

But in the air conditioned comfort of your car or admittedly crowded Metro, do give a thought to the crew out there in the 100 degree sun. How many remember the days before air conditioning? How did life work, exactly?

By the way, while looking for an image of steel-driving John Henry, we ran across this video of how modern railways are built. Who wudda thunk?

Track Crew, c. 1905

Left Eye
(after surgery)

New 7/22/16 Tuesday's Full Moon by Louis Kasza

Aside from bus discounts and increasing numbers of youngsters calling you "Sir," one of the best perks of being a senior citizen is a free (to you) set of eyes if and when you need them. At the left is what my left eye saw Tuesday night after my recent cataract surgery. At the right is what my right eye saw. Righty gets done this week so they will again be a matched pair.

Cataract removal is really amazing. The only discomfort during the ten minute procedure was the needle poke in the arm used to deliver a sedative-induced calm. There was none during the operation itself, as hard as it might be to believe by watching the procedure. Caution: Not for the squeamish.

Right Eye


2-Way System
Up and Running

NextDoor has already
found 4 cats in our

Members of Westbriar have asked for it, and we now have it!

And that's the ability to talk directly with their neighborhoods. Do you want to borrow a ladder? Report a lost cat? Organize a book club or exercise class? Sell your old golf clubs? Share a great recipe? Advertise your availability for dog walking, or leaf raking? Recommend a painter?

You can do all this and much more. Join us on NextDoor. 100% of Westbriar Civic Association is now "wired" together. Each of our eight Zones is now a NextDoor Group. Much of Vienna has already joined and you can reach out to them also.

To join, simply CLICK HERE. Put in your address.
It will know you are part of Westbriar. Enter your CODE.
Fill out your profile, and say "Hi" to your neighbors.

See this short video for an introduction to NextDoor.


in Vienna

Channel 5 has a fun Friday Thing called ZIP TRIP where they set up an anchor point at interesting places in the viewing area, and return there for a respite from the heavier news of the day. Today it was Vienna's turn to show off our special stuff.

So, after waking us up to Brexit, the Dow-Jones nosedive, traffic-paralyzing crashes, and more Metro delays, it was fun for Tucker Barnes, Allison Seymor, and Wisdom Martin to learn that normal life still abounds in places like the Freeman House, (right).

And it's fun to interview the Moms Run This Town running team. And see the offerings from our bicycle shop, and play Trivia with Mayor DiRocco. And taste some delicious local chocolates, and hear about our efforts in solar energy. And much more.

Photo Credit: WTTG, via screen prints and tweets.


Follin Operational!

Who's on First?

Jacob, Flynn, and Sophia have the answer. They proudly show off the very first tire that travelled the new Follin Lane.


After some minor finishing touches, Follin Lane was officially opened this morning by the Mayor, Town Council Members, Town Manager, and Department of Public Works.

Photo Credit: Adam Kincaid



"I love the smell of Hot Asphalt in the morning ...."

With apologies to Robert Duvall and Frank Coppola, the aroma is more like roses, especially to Westbriar Zone A and B folks who have been anticipating this rebirth for nine months.

The massive infrastructure upgrade, one of the town's largest in recent memory, will bring walkability, better utilities distribution, and likely improved safety to this tree lined entrance to Vienna's Technology Center.

The last underground work at the Echols intersection was finished today, the excavation was filled in and the roadbed is being prepared for paving.

Life on the

(not as bad as expected)

Savvy commuters have long been fond of their secret route to avoid the Route 123 morning and evening grind. But things were disrupted on May 31 when the final phase of Follin Lane reconstruction project began.

The intersection with Echols Street needed upgrading of the storm conduits to cope with the additional run-off from Follin's new curb and gutter system. Without the deep ditches to drink in the raindrops, about three times as much water will now head, during storms, down to the Wolftrap Creek in Wildwood Park. Without the upgrade, the intersection would flood.

To handle the gaping hole in the route, a detour from Echols was created down Mashie Street, and made a crossing on Hine Street over the partially paved Follin. For the first two days, it was a bit confusing for all. Mashie and Hine residents had never before seen the routine Echols Street rush hour traffic.

But several things combined to ease the situation. For one, Navy Federal Credit Union, Vienna's largest employer, beseeched its employees to find other routes if at all possible.

A second factor was that Vienna sent over a police presence on Wednesday to keep the traffic calm. A trailer-mounted radar display monitored speed, and officers brandishing hand-held radar guns made sure the point was clear. The officers reported no speeding, but did pass out a few tickets for expired safety inspections. Most of the delays on that day was from lost motorists asking for directions.

But probably the most effective measure came from a Mashie Street resident, computer IT specialist Cindy Speck, who suggested that it was pointless to direct the detour traffic in both directions. "Why not open Hine traffic all the way to Echols Street, and just let the commuters take their choice?" she asked.

Speed display keeps it cool


Speck Detour goes into effect.

Speck's amazingly simple but logical suggestion was passed on by Town Councilman Pasha Majdi, who was monitoring the situation at the site, and by the next day, freshly painted signs were installed at the appropriate locations. On Friday, there was zero morning rush hour traffic on Mashie and the evening rush hour was cut to less than half. The 2-way traffic on the narrow street disappeared altogether.

The Crier sent out an email request to residents along the detour route for comments on how it affects their life. Not one respondent had a negative word. Frank Johnson, who lives on Hine, which bears the full detour volume, said "It's been a long time, but I'm happy the project is nearly done."

Meanwhile, construction of the sidewalk from Maple Avenue to Echols Street will be finished Friday. This stretch had always been a No Pedestrian zone.


Metro Delays Start
This Weekend

Vienna Metro service is going to be much slower and more stressful starting Saturday. The first move in a system-wide safety upgrade will be single tracking between East Falls Church and Ballston stations, which will affect both the Orange and Silver Lines.

Single tracking will require the number of trains to be correspondingly reduced, so packed trains and station platforms will be the norm.

Also, to provide more time for track work at night, the closing time will be moved from 3 AM to Midnight. To help alleviate the commute problems, Metro is stepping up bus service. However, many commuters will likely opt to drive to jobs in Arlington and the District.

This, of course, will have its own profound effect on our roads, 123, 66, and GW Parkway, already up to near-capacity in rush hour.

Private ride services such as Lyft and Uber may turn out to be the only winners as Metro repair work progresses over the next year or so.

Still the #1 Scam
in this Area

It is the Computer Version of the Nigerian Letter. Twenty one Westbriar residents have reported getting the call, and four have been taken for an expensive ride. Thousands in Northern Virginia have been hit. Don't let it happen to you.
The caller usually has a thick Asian or African accent. "Hello, this is Microsoft calling. Your computer is giving out errors." See More.


Mosquitoes and Zika

Tiger Mosquito

Named for its black
and white bands

Native to SE Asia, it has invaded USA over the last decades, and is now the most common specie in the Eastern and Southern states.


Only a few months ago, we knew nothing about it. The Center for Disease Control didn't know much more. They suspected a connection, but were not sure. But now it is confirmed.

Zika Virus, which causes babies to be born with an unusually small head and brain, is transmitted through mosquitoes found in South America. And more recently, it has been proven to be transmitted by our own local pest, the Tiger. Some international scientists are cautioning about holding the scheduled Olympics in Brazil in August, worried that people will bring back and establish hot zones in other parts of the globe.

Mosquitoes need standing water for their life cycle. Fight them by depriving them of that water. Police your property for toys or other containers or surface shapes that trap rain. Blast out the birdbath with a garden hose every week. The Tiger goes from egg on the water surface to adult in 10 to 14 days. Disruption at any point kills the insect. Working together can eliminate them from an entire community.

Spraying one's own property does not last long, and is environmentally questionable. Honey bee populations are susceptable to the toxins, and bee keepers are concerned.



A breath of fresh air into the constant PC drumbeat from most mainstream media, including the Washington Post. VA Senator Chap Petersen, after carefully researching the views of Native Americans, has concluded that the overwhelming majority actually like the R-word. An assumption had been made that "redskin" was derogatory, referring to the Native's darker skin tone than the European's, and was deemed racist.

A false assumption, it turns out. Read Chap's entire statement HERE.


Farmers Market:
Veggie Heaven

Not only fresh veggies and flowers, but so much more!

Sponsored by the Optimist Club, this is our only not-for-profit market in Vienna. Stop by every Saturday morning, 8 AM till Noon, for handicrafts, cheeses, breads, candies, coffee and flea market items.

Faith Baptist Church, Center Street S, across from the Fire Station. Proceeds support youth programs and scholarships.

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead


Westbriar to Get

The Westbriar Civic Board of Directors voted last night to institute a community-wide social network which will give members the ability to communicate with other individuals, or selected members (such as a book club) or broadcast messages to an entire zone (such as a lost cat). Members will also be able to reach out farther into the surrounding neighborhoods, because this network is growing fast and many parts of Vienna already connect through it.

The network, based and managed in the San Francisco area is called "NextDoor." It has been used to advantage for the last six months by a smaller group in Westbriar. Look for further announcements soon. Meanwhile click HERE for an overview.

"The Pessimist complains about the wind; the Optimist expects the wind to change; the Realist adjusts the sails." William Arthur Ward


Fitness Just Got Easier in Westbriar

Westbriar Civic Association Members get 50% off Fee at Crunch Gym, located at nearby Pike 7 Plaza. Pricing for membership in physical fitness facilities differ. Some have no initiation fees, but a rather high monthly rate. Crunch has low monthly rates, but a somewhat high initial payment.

We visited several facilities in the area and were most impressed with this one, for the convenient location, the cleanliness, the newness of equipment, and the staff knowledge and attentivness. After a few months of negotiating with Manager Paul Harris, we struck an attractive deal. No excuses now for your fitness resolution in 2016....

Still Active in Vienna 11/26/15

"Hello, Microsoft calling....
Your computer is malfunctioning.
We are here to help you

We have reminded you of this before, but it remains, sadly, one of the most active scams at the moment. Another Westbriar resident this week got taken for a ride. Paying good money to a stranger who does nothing for you is bad enough. The real danger of this scam is in the last paragraph below.

When he calls, he sounds real. He is smooth, but he has had plenty of practice.

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 every minute. 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. He will pretend to fix things, and perhaps ask for your credit card for a small payment. Then, he politely says "Good bye." During the conversation, he has downloaded the entire documents section of your computer. 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,

The Crier is the newsletter of the Westbriar Civic Association. All rights reserved.
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Jim Nelson is a Westbriar member and real estate agent with Long and Foster in McLean. He can be reached at













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