Mason District May 2019 E-Newsletter
A few items of information for you or your association newsletter:
The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – The "Merry Month of May" has been celebrated in Renaissance poetry, Shakespearean plays, and Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot." In Mason District, May truly celebrates spring, and signals the rebirth of popular community activities. The Farmer's Market at Mason District Park opens on May 2; Justice High School's 5K "Run with the Wolves" is May 11; Mother's Day is May 12; Green Spring Gardens plant sale is May 18; and Memorial Day is May 27. Other free activities are listed elsewhere in this newsletter, too.
This month also marks the end of county budget deliberations, as the Board of Supervisors is set to adopt the FY 2020 budget on May 7. Most years, we are done with the budget by the end of April, but the calendar this year was skewed a bit by a later spring break. Nonetheless, the adopted budget takes effect on July 1. The FY 2020 budget fully funds the request from Fairfax County Public Schools, and provides for a 2.1 percent Market Rate Adjustment for county employee wages. The tax rate of $1.15 per $100 assessed valuation remains steady. Ninety percent of county revenue sources are capped or controlled by the Virginia General Assembly, and the majority of county revenues is dependent on the real estate tax. Fairfax is a wealthy jurisdiction by median household income, but income taxes are paid to the state and federal governments, not localities. Thus, the reliance on the same real property tax structure that has existed since Thomas Jefferson was governor of Virginia.
We are fortunate to live in a great county with excellent services, and a wonderfully diverse district of old and new neighborhoods, schools, parks, and libraries. Mason District residents care about their community, and I always am encouraged and impressed by the volunteers who step up to assist their neighbors in making "Home, Sweet Home" a reality for all. Keep up the good work!
Land Use News – Land use items of interest this month feature road paving and bus stop improvement projects:
- Road Paving in Progress in Fairfax County – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the state agency that controls and maintains roads in Fairfax County, has started its 2019 Road Paving Program. Information about pavement treatment types, frequently asked questions, and an interactive map showing which roads will be paved is available on VDOT's website at www.virginiadot.org/projects/northern_virginia/northern_virginia_paving.asp.
- Northbound John Marr Drive at Tom Davis Drive – A bus stop improvement project begins this month with a replacement of the existing bus shelter, and construction of a new concrete pad, and installation of a bench and trash can. The upgraded bus stop will connect to the existing sidewalk. The new bus shelter arrives from the manufacturer this month and, weather permitting and barring any unforeseen delays, the work will be completed in June.
Farmer's Market Opens at Mason District Park – The Farmer's Market, hosted by the Fairfax County Park Authority, will be open in Annandale every Thursday morning, beginning May 2, 2019, from 8 a.m. until Noon at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike. The Farmer's Market offers vine-ripe produce, fresh baked goods, herb plants, and much more for your spring and summer time enjoyment. Please note this Farmer's Market will be Open on Thursday, July 4! For a complete county-wide schedule, and other information about the Farmer's Markets visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/farmersmarkets, or call 703-642-0128; TTY 711.
Election Officers Needed; Training Available! – The Fairfax County Office of Elections needs Election Officers for the upcoming 2019 elections. There is a particular need for Language Election Officers, who speak Korean or Vietnamese in the Annandale and Falls Church areas. Election Officers must be registered voters in Virginia and complete required training and forms. You may choose to accept the $175 stipend for a full day, or volunteer your time. To apply, complete and submit the online form at: www.vote4fairfax.com/apply. After applying, please call the office about scheduling a new officer training class. Training continues in May countywide for the June 11th Democratic Primary Election, and two dates are available in Mason District:
- Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - Mason District Governmental Center, Large Conference Room - 2 p.m. or 6 p.m.; and
- Thursday, May 9, 2019 - Mason District Governmental Center, Large Conference Room - 10 a.m.
The Mason District Governmental Center is located at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. For more information, visit the Office of Elections website (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/election-officers/working), or call 703-324-4735, TTY 711.
Free LED Lightbulb Exchanges in May at Select Fairfax County Libraries – Residents can receive one LED lightbulb per household, and up to four replacement LED lightbulbs in exchange for four incandescent or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, while supplies last! Save money, protect the planet, and reduce your utility bill by up to $75 per year by replacing your five most frequently used bulbs with LED bulbs! The giveaway is a partnership between Energy Action Fairfax, a county program to help residents become energy efficient, and the Fairfax County Library. The LED bulbs will be given away in May at three regional libraries:
- Thursday, May 2, 12-2 p.m. Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, 703-790-8088;
- Monday, May 13, 4-6 p.m., Centreville Regional Library, 14200 St. Germain Drive, Centreville, 703-830-2223; and
- Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m.–12 p.m., George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, 703-256-3800.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church Hosts Free Chorale Concert – The NoVA Lights Chorale invites everyone to a free choral concert, "Hooray for Hollywood!," on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 4 p.m. Under the direction of Stanley Livengood, the NoVA Lights Chorale, a group of men and women who love singing in four-part harmony, will perform the first of three concerts this year at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 3439 Payne Street in Falls Church/Bailey's Crossroads. Refreshments after the concert. NoVA Lights Chorale is a community-based vocal group, who welcomes all interested performers. NoVA Lights is an independent corporation, not affiliated with any religious or cultural organization. For more information about the chorale, and to sing with them, visit http://novalightschorale.jigsy.com/. Rehearsals are on Monday nights; no auditions.
38th Annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival – Northern Virginia's largest community-wide celebration will return to the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax, June 7-9, 2019. Bring your family and friends to to the 25-acre site and enjoy a fun filled experience with more than 300 food vendors, exhibitors, and interactive activities, plus live concerts, carnival rides, a petting zoo, a Karaoke Championship, nightly fireworks, and much more! Additional information, tickets and schedules are available at http://celebratefairfax.com/.
Medicine Cabinet Cleanout Continues in Fairfax County – Did you miss the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in April? Here's some good news! Year-round collection of unused or expired prescription medicines is available at all eight Fairfax County Police Stations' Prescription Medication Drug Take Back Boxes throughout Fairfax County. Information about Fairfax County's response to the opioid crisis is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/community-services-board/heroin-opioids. Guidance for the safe disposal of medicines is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/drug-disposal. Questions? Contact the Police Department's Property and Evidence Section, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 703-246-2786.
Mixed Medium Artwork Featured at Mason District Governmental Center – A mix of mediums ranging from watercolor, oil, and acrylic paintings to collage, pastel, and encaustic works will be on display at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Artists exhibiting their work are: Cynthia Schoeppel, Lydia Jechorek, Elaine Sevy, Erika Ridgeway, Relene Schuster, Karen Flann, Traci Oberle, Jan Ponder, and Margaret Reynolds, who are members of the Springfield Art Guild (SAG). SAG is a non-profit group founded in 1969 and serves the community's interest in fine arts, fine crafts, and photography. SAG sponsors educational programs, art exhibits, juried shows, classes for adults and children, art scholarships for high school or college students and local art events. For more information, logon to: www.springfieldartguild.org. The artwork will be on display in the lobby beginning in May through June 30, 2019.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – Most people have a plan for emergencies associated with seasonal storms, but do they have a plan when they are driving? Regardless of the season, the number of drivers on the road has increased, and it is vitally important to exercise caution on the roads year-round, and especially throughout the school year. Rudimentary rules and practices, such as never passing a stopped school bus, sometimes seem to have been forgotten. Did you know that passing a stopped vehicle on the right is a traffic infraction? Do you know what to do if you hear a first responder's siren? Reminders about parking vehicles correctly also seems to be needed. Did you know that if a vehicle's right wheels are not parked by the curb, it can get a ticket? Parking less than 15 feet from a fire hydrant also is an infraction. The May edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Captain Chris Edmunds, commander of the Traffic Division, and Bob Otten, Parking Enforcement Supervisor, in the Traffic Division of the Fairfax County Police Department. Mason Matters! airs on Cable Channel 16 every Thursday at 7 p.m., and every Friday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m., and daily on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mason.
The Quick 411 – I learned that there will be some Metrorail shutdowns during the next few months. Is there a place where I can find further information and travel alternatives in relation to Fairfax County? Yes. Anyone traveling within the service area of the Metrorail Blue and Yellow Lines this summer will be impacted by Metrorail station shutdowns south of the Ronald Reagan National Airport, beginning Saturday, May 25, 2019 through Sunday, September 8, 2019. To avoid gridlock on Fairfax County roadways, those traveling in and out of Fairfax County are urged to know their travel options, plan their travel now, and avoid driving alone. For more information, visit www.wmata.com/service/rail/PlatformProject/.