A few items of information for you or your association newsletter:
The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – Welcome to summer! Graduations, weddings, vacations, and many other family and fun activities are happening this month. Also on the schedule are many county-related activities that can be fun -- Celebrate Fairfax, for example, -- or civic and educational, such as the police department's Citizen Advisory Committee and Community Sensory Day. More information follows in this newsletter.
June also signals the return of the very popular free summer concert series, Spotlight by Starlight, here in Mason District. I am particularly proud of the series which, perhaps, is the oldest continuous free concert programming in Fairfax County. Spotlight began in the late 1980s with an occasional concert, but the series has run continuously since 1991. On summer Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., you can attend free, live entertainment at the Newton Edwards Amphitheatre at Mason District Park, and enjoy jazz, big band, folk, rock, ethnic, and a variety of other musical performances. And yes, the Capitol Steps are scheduled to perform on Sunday, July 21. Bench seating is available, but many patrons bring lawn chairs to sit in the "loge" area. A platform for handicapped patrons in wheelchairs also is available. Dogs on leash also are permitted at the concerts. Spotlight by Starlight concerts begin on Sunday, June 16 (Father's Day), and run through August 24. The Saturday morning children's concerts, at 10 a.m., will begin on June 22 and conclude on August 17.
The international concert series at Ossian Hall Park, across from Annandale High School, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, and continue each Saturday through August 17. All seating is on the lawn, so bringing blankets or folding chairs is advised. Concerts at both parks last about an hour and are geared for the entire family. A complete performance schedule is available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances. I look forward to seeing you there!
The Board of Supervisors adopted the FY 2020 county budget in early May. The tax rate of $1.15 per $100 of assessed valuation remains unchanged, as does the stormwater fee. The adopted budget fully funds the School Board's operating request, and provides a small salary increase for county employees. The new budget takes effect on July 1.
The Board of Supervisors recently adopted a new policy for the use, by public safety agencies, of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. The policy complies with the FAA restrictions for drone use near airports, and will be available for a variety of mission types, such as search and rescue, flooding assessment, crash reconstruction, fire incident/scene management, and hazardous materials responses. Any other drone usage by county agencies would require approval by the Board of Supervisors. No new staff positions will be required, and data retention is anticipated to be minimal.
Land Use News – Land use items of interest this month feature park amenities in the Bailey's Crossroads and Annandale Central Business Districts:
- Transformation Begins for Annandale Pop-Up Park – The Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization, Fairfax County Park Authority, and community partners, will transform a part of county-owned property, located at 7200 Columbia Pike, into a community amenity space this summer. A community Clean Up is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. to help get the space ready for use this summer and fall seasons. Volunteers are needed to remove vines, leaves, and trash from the grounds and help prepare planting beds for a planting project. Want to help? Volunteers can sign up at: https://volunteer.fairfaxcounty.gov/custom/1380/#/opp_details/183646.
It's Here: 38th Annual Celebrate Fairfax! – Northern Virginia's largest community-wide celebration returns June 7 - 9, 2019 to the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. Bring your family and friends, and enjoy Fairfax County's largest community event with a vast array of food vendors, exhibitors, interactive activities, live concerts, carnival rides, fireworks, and more! For festival hours, tickets, and schedules, visit the Celebrate Fairfax website at http://celebratefairfax.com, or call 703-324-FAIR (3247). Want to be part of the festivities? Celebrate Fairfax welcomes enthusiastic and friendly volunteers to help out at the festival. Volunteers are the backbone of this event, and it's a great way to meet new people. Sign up at http://celebratefairfax.com/get-involved/volunteers/.
Primary Elections – Tuesday, June 11, is Democratic Primary Day. Registered voters in districts with primary elections may vote at their regular polling places from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. There are 11 Democratic Party primary elections: Virginia Senate, 31st, 33rd, and 35th Districts; House of Delegates, 38th and 49th Delegate Districts; Commonwealth's Attorney; Board of Supervisors Chairman, and Braddock, Hunter Mill, Lee, and Providence Supervisor Districts. For more information about the election process, including absentee voting, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb. To access your Virginia Voter Record to update registration, apply to vote absentee, and view your voter-related information, visit https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation.
Spotlight by Starlight Summer Concerts Return to Mason District Park and Ossian Hall Park – Usher in the summer season with the Spotlight by Starlight concert series at Mason District Park, and cultural performances at Ossian Hall Park. Enjoy a variety of free entertainment at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale, on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, beginning June 16 through August 23, 2019. Ossian Hall Park, located at 7900 Heritage Drive in Annandale, features cultural performances on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., beginning June 15 through August 17, 2019. The 2019 Spotlight by Starlight concert schedule is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances/spotlight-by-starlight. Note: Concerts are cancelled in the event of inclement weather. Call 703-324-SHOW (7469) one hour prior to the performance for weather-related updates.
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 is on display in the lobby through June 30, 2019.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – We usually hear about invasive animals that have made their way into our regions, but plants also can be introduced and cause substantial havoc. One example of a common invasive plant in Fairfax County is bamboo. Bamboo is versatile; one popular use is in landscaping, as a privacy hedge. However, bamboo can take over yards quickly, causing destruction to the natural environment, plant species, and adjacent properties. The June edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Jack Weyant, Director of Fairfax County's Department of Code Compliance, and Erin Stockschlaeder, Invasive Management Area (IMA) Program Coordinator for Fairfax County's Park Authority. 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 – My family is planning outdoor activities this summer, and I saw a snake the other day, which made me wonder, does Fairfax County have information available about snakes in our region? Yes. With summer quickly approaching, many residents will be spending more time outdoors. As temperatures continue to rise, the warm weather also will encourage snakes to become more active and increase opportunities for people and their pets to encounter these secretive reptiles. Fairfax County is home to an array of snake species, most of which are non-venomous and pose no threat to people. Snakes are beneficial and provide a valuable service in our communities in the way of pest control. For more information, visit Fairfax County's Guide to Snakes at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/guide-to-snakes.