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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
Vesper Trail features.

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.

OLGC Hosts
Charity Chess


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.

Chess4Charity is the brain child of two exceptional kids. Meet Garrett and Gabby Heller, Co-founders.

This is their 3rd year of operation.

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 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.

NEW 10/16/14


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 directly.

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
Invites Help


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.


CTCL 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.

-Ken Foley-

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.

New 10/13/14
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 next door.

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.

Yea, Paul!




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.

LEAF COLLECTION 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 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

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 audience.

Congratulations, guys!

MAC Zoning Initiative Moves Forward

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 small-town identity.

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.













Going Up
Wu's Garden?

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


Well-Received 8/19/14

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 monitors.

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.

Freeman House
1st in Vienna

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 possible.

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 in 3-D.



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.

The Discovery Garden is dedicated to Dorothy McDiarmid, a Virginia Delegate for 20 years.

McDiarmid's 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.


Vienna VA

Fairfax County

Hunter Mill District

Cathy Hudgins


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