Twilight Stroll at Meadowlark
7/20/14 by Leon
Along with 48 other avid
nature freaks, I enjoyed a guided tour Sunday evening through our local treasure
trove, the Meadowlark
Gardens. Co-hosted by Park Manager Keith Tomlinson, and childhood advocate
author and lecturer, Jenifer Joy Madden, the tour was timed to take in the
peace and calm of day's end. Bird calls and frogs added some punctuation to
the relaxed and friendly company.
Jenifer made a convincing
case for letting children, at a very young age, experience the natural world
at every opportunity. "It is only through one's own senses that the world
can be understood," she said. "Curiosity and exploration, freedom
to follow random ideas is all important."
And a natural environment
like Meadowlark is an ideal place to make it happen.
the fish for other photos of Meadowlark.
Keith filled in specifics
on park history, fauna and foliage species, maintenance, and plans. Meadowlark
is part of the Regional Park System,
which was developed privately by people who jointly realized the downside
to uncontrolled urbanization. They bought up and set aside land for such retreats.
The W&OD Trail is another of the Regional Park's Inventory.
A highlight of the tour
was the ringing of an enormous bronze bell in the Korean Garden. Normally
not heard except for Summer Solstice and diplomatic events, this is a sound
you will not forget. The bell weighs over two tons, and when struck on the
side by a large log suspended by chains, reverberates for over a minute.
NEW Freeman House
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
Continues to be a Crowd Pleaser
Tonight it was the Country Rock Group, Stealin' the Deal
connecting old favorites to a distinctive dancible beat.
What's next this summer? Click HERE
to see the schedule
Children-friendly, no alcohol or dogs please.
Be a Friend
of the Town Green!
Grab a blanket or lawn chair, meet
up with friends for a fun show!
NEW Repaving in Tight
The stretch of Old Courhouse Road in Westbriar Zone D between Westbriar Drive
and the top of Freedom Hill is
being repaved. This is causing delays because of the high traffic volume
coupled with the narrowness of the road. It is challenging task.
This narrow steep road section is notorious to its nearby residents and the
commuters who use it. In summer, the vegetation along the road makes for a
blind curve. In winter, snowmelt across it often makes it slippery. But worst
of all, it is between two wide stretches of road, which tempts speeding. Often
drivers are well above safe speed when coming down the hill, and many accidents
Despite efforts to calm the speeding with pavement marks and a flashing yellow
warning sign, the problem persists. Solutions seem be be elusive.
Zone C Sidewalks Project Moves
As promised, the trees
along Maple Avenue are back. A few finishing touches to go. Next up is a
sidewalk along Westbriar Drive from Maple Avenue to Old Courthouse Road.
NEW Westbriar Road
Project Wrong, Claims Nearby Residents 7/8/14
Follin Lane, which is a border of Westbriar Zone B, is an isolated, shady
tunnel of 80 foot trees on both sides which meet each other high above. Most
of its traffic is generated by the Navy Federal Credit Union, and three other
high-tech buildings close by.
A plan is in the works to widen Follin between Hine Street and Maple Avenue
to add an extra lane for northbound cars. This would help in relieving a traffic
pile up every workday when the Credit Union employees are home-bound. But
this plan is not universally seen as an improvement by nearby residents.
At last night's Council meeting, Loretta Roby and her neighbor Sean McClorey
expressed their concerns about the project based on safety, traffic flow,
and the damage to the striking, unique tree canopy, slated for removal.
There is little question that speeding is a problem on Follin Lane. In fact,
the intersection of Follin and Hine has been a favorite post for police radar.
"It is a dangerous intersection," said McClorey, who lives right
on the intersection, and has seen many accidents there. The last one was only
ten days ago, and the tire ruts are still fresh where the car left the road,
bounced across a deep ditch, and crashed through his back yard fence.
"Our concerns are for our children," he said, expressing his belief
that widening the road will only invite more speeding.
Roby and McClorey asked the Town Council to revisit this issue,
and consider the safety aspects more closely.
DESIGN PHASE APPROVED 7/8/14
The Town Council last
night awarded a $44,000 contract to The Arlington-based Lukmire Partnership
to perform detailed design of an extension of the Vienna Community Center
on Park Street. The design features a gymnasiam on the western end. The
gym would contain a full size basketball court. The court would be designed
to also accomodate volleyball, badmitten as well as other community needs.
The gymnasium extension
is depicted in this satellite photo by the red rectangle above. The addition
will also involve a minor alignment change in the W&OD Trail.
Existing rear exterior
of Community Center, seen from the baseball field.
EXCUSE OUR DUST 7/8/14
Center Street South is closed to traffic for a while.
Center Street between Maple and Locust is getting a complete rebuild, starting
"There have been so many resurfacings on this stretch, that another
simple resurfacing will not work," explained Jennifer Sigler of the Vienna
Department of Public Works. "The road now has a severe crown to the center,
and forces of traffic break it apart."
The roadway also does not line up well with the driveway serving the Town
Hall and the school, posing problems sometimes for larger vehicles. The entire
road surface, along with the curb and gutter will be removed and replaced,
after the grading is improved.
The entire project will take about eight weeks. "Hopefully, less,"
A pneumatic tool breaks up the concrete curbing at the Town Hall entrance.
TRAFFIC LIGHT CONSIDERED
ON OLD COURTHOUSE ROAD 6/25/14
The Vienna Town Council is studying
a recommendation made by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to
install a traffic light at the intersection of Old Courthouse Road and Westbriar
Drive. This is one of three intersection items currently proposed.
The question is whether giving
Westbriar Drive light-controlled access to OCHR is really worth the cost involved.
A speed hump installed on OCHR near the intersection has been very helpful
in allowing access from Westbriar Drive.
What do YOU think? Do you feel
that a light at this intersection is a good investment? Let us know your thoughts.
SILVER LINE Opening 6/23/14
Metro announced the date of the first passenger service will
be Saturday, July 29. While the construction and safety issues are nearly
finished, there remains some documentation tasks.
||Five years in the making, and the subject of contention
and design concept clashes, the new line will provide direct service between
the region's two largest economic centers: Tysons and the District of Columbia.
Town Manager Mercury Payton
announced the appointment of Ken Kroski as Vienna's new Public Information
Kroski was selected from
121 candidates. "Ken's communication and leadership abilities, along
with decades of experience working with government and private sectors, will
prove to be of great value to Vienna," said Payton.
Swearing-In Ceremony 6/16/16
May 6 election winners were sworn into office last night at the Vienna Town
Hall. At left, Mayor Laurie DiRocco takes the oath from Judge Brett Kassabian.
Also sworn in were Council Members Edythe Kelleher, Pasha Majdi, and Linda
The new officials begin their duties on July 1.
Notes from the County
Meals Tax? (update 6/24/14)
Probably Not ... at least for now
During deliberation on the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, a number of individuals
and organizations have urged Fairfax County to revisit a restaurant meals
tax. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, towns and cities are permitted to have
a meals tax subject to an affirmative vote by the governing body, and most
have done so. Counties, however, may establish a meals tax only if a referendum
is approved by the voters. The last time this proposal was put on the ballot
(unsuccessful) in Fairfax County was in April 1992.
There had been growing sentiment during recent years for Fairfax to once
again allow the voters to decide if they wish to avail themselves of this
additional source of revenue. Reasons for urging this include the desire to
diversify the revenues we have available to fund schools, public safety, parks,
libraries and human services. If a meals tax were adopted at the state-approved
rate of 4% of the cost of the meal cost, it would generate about $88 million
A Task Force of about forty county organizations and individuals, co-chaired
by former Board Chairmen Kate Hanley and Tom Davis, was convened by the Board
of Supervisors to study the issue and return with their recommendation on
June 17th. However the Task Force did not present a straight up recommendation.
Rather, they submitted an extensive report detailing the pros and cons of
instituting the meals tax. At this late date in an election year, and with
only tepid support on the Board, it is unlikely that the tax issue will move
forward this year.
Read more details in the Washington Post HERE.
Westbriar Gets a Trim 6/6/14
High above in the 12,000 volt lines, Ken Laska deftly removes
branches. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew loads the boughs into dump trucks
for grinding to mulch.
Tree trimming crews have been out in force in Westbriar in the last week,
and there will more to come.
Some home owners have grumbled at the severity of the cutting, in some cases
using descriptors like "mangling" or "butchery." Others
have said they would have liked more taken off the sides.
Trees that were planted directly under the power lines sometimes have to
be carved into improbable shapes. Choosing an appropriate specie under the
lines can avoid problems later.
Keeping vines and branches away from the utility lines is
vital for keeping the electricty flowing. "The leading cause of non-storm
outages is vegetation shorting out the high voltage feeders," said
Jim Urban, crew supervisor.
That was fast! A few weeks ago, it was all yellow machines, mud, and sawdust.
Westbriar Zone C is in the middle of a sidewalk project, funded largely by
Virginia State, and was a deal that really could not be refused. The frenzy
of development only a mile up the road makes it obvious that we will be eventually
urbanized to some degree.
At Monday's Town Council meeting, a resident expressed sadness at the loss
of the trees which made coming down the hill into Vienna so inviting. The
Mayor assured her that replacement of those trees was always part of the plan.
The trees will be replaced
soon. The location for each is marked by a little orange flag. Soon, Maple Avenue
will be back to its familiar look.
Whisper Has Real Wind
in his Face 6/6/14
In the past, we have shared
some spectacular videos of Wingsuit Flying, a sport that needs no explanation
for its enthusiasts, and cannot be understood by the rest.
The Dog, Whisper, is out
for more wind than he will ever get from the car window.
Singing, Anyone? 6/6/14
Back by popular demand
Vienna Choral Society offers another day-long, immersive vocal workshops
this summer. Led by our artistic director, Jennifer Rodgers, and accompanist
Greg Graf, the workshop will be held:
Saturday, August 23, 2014
9 am to 4 pm
2589 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, VA 22181
The workshop is designed to help singers: Improve vocal technique,
enhance sight-singing skills, and strengthen musicianship. All voice types
and skill levels are welcome.
TAKE THIS WORKSHOP?
Because at VCS we believe
that singing isn't just for "Singers." It's for everyone who wants to be better
at what they do, whether it's music or anything else.
When you sing you learn to breathe, project, be with a group, take the stage
on your own, pivot when the music isn't going according to plan, connect and
communicate with the audience, and find your voice.
Singing is full of life lessons. If you're a professional, get better at your
craft. If you're not a professional, get better at being you.
are on sale now, but classes are limited.
us or call at 703-349-7150
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.
Tree Cover Improvement Voted 5/19/14
Responding to citizen concerns about the Town's deteriorating tree canopy,
the Vienna Town Council approved new Town Code provisions to adopt minimum
tree canopy coverage requirements for single-lot development and redevelopment.
Under the new Code, single-lot development and redevelopment activity will
be subject to the same requirements as new subdivisions: 20 percent lot coverage
within 20 years.
"This change was started by citizens who were concerned about a disconcerting
trend in the Town," said Susan Stillman, chairperson of the Town’s Community
Enhancement Commission. "Their persistence and the diligence of CEC volunteers
have changed our Town for the better."
The code changes will affect new dwelling plans submitted for permits on
or after May 22, 2014.
| Green Dot Scam More Active Than Ever 4/16/14
Police in Vienna and Fairfax have issued alerts on a growing problem: A scam
by which people are tricked or intimidated into buying a certain prepaid money
transfer card. The card most often used is the Paypal Green Dot card sold
by CVS Pharmacy, Walmart, and other popular businesses.
The scam is initiated by telephone, and there are many variations. For example,
the victim is told that he or she has won a huge prize, and must send in a
payment to cover taxes. Or the victim is told they missed showing up for jury
duty, and must send a payment to avoid arrest. Or the victim is told that
their grandchild is in jail in a foreign country, and he must send bail payment
to get the problem solved.
Another variation is on the internet. You will be browsing, and suddenly
a screen comes up that is very official looking, with FBI and Justice Department
Logos. It will claim you have looked at copyrighted materials, or listened
to music you had not paid for, or other violations. Your computer will be
frozen on that page. Your recouse is to ... you guessed it ... to go purchase
a Green Dot Money Card, and email the numbers to an address provided. Once
you email the money, your computer still does not function. More demands for
money are made.
The victim is told to
make payment with a prepaid money card such as this. It is untraceable.
REPORT ALL SUCH DEMANDS
FOR PAYMENT TO THE POLICE.
GONE FISHING! 3/29/14
Vienna Family Fishing Rodeo, a
new community event, kicked off March 29, at the newly restored Wolftrap Creek
in Wildwood Park, 700 block of Follin Lane SE.
Wolftrap Creek was stocked the day before with hundreds of trout just for
the occasion! Cathy Salgado and her staff from Vienna's Department of Parks
and Recreation organized the event, and worked with the Fairfax County Storm
Water Division, Fairfax County Public Works and Environmental Services, Virginia
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Navy Federal Credit Union to make
it all happen.
Click HERE for the full story.
The following stories have appeared in the Westbrier Crier:
It's Official ... (well, almost) 3/13/14
The new occupant of the long-time Magruder's Grocery Store will become
Mrs. Green's Natural Market.
The vacant old Magruders,
Our sources at this shopping mall now tell us that the old Magruder's will
actually be home to two newcomers. The other will be Chop't
Creative Salad which has eight stores in Washington DC.
An artist's sketch of the
new Mrs Green's
Mrs. Green's is a rather new corporation with headquarters in Scarsdale and
about 18 stores concentrated near New York City east to Connecticut. It recently
opened a store in nearby Fair Lakes. Vienna will be the second store in the
Mid Atlantic region. The focus is on organic foods and supplements, and the
stores usually have a coffee, juice, and smoothie bar. For a review of the Fair
Oaks store, click HERE.
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