The Springfield Civic Association (SCA) welcomes you as we enter a new era, a Springfield Renaissance, if you will. Our local mall commences its two-year rebuild in July; watch its rebirth as a town center. New hotels and office buildings are on the rise bringing new restaurants, new activity and a welcome breeze of renewal. The SCA has helped to make this happen, partnering with Fairfax County government, local businesses and adjoining civic associations and home owner associations. SCA’s tradition of community activism and grass roots engagement is alive, well, and looking to the future. Come be a part of it; there is something for everyone and your contribution will only make us more vital. Continue reading
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we move into the Holidays the Springfield Civic Association (SCA) continues its mission of service to the greater Community. We are helping to propel a new bicycle "pump track" within Brookfield Park that promises a place for families to enjoy the outdoors while making better use of parkland. SCA conceived and coordinated the gardening program that coupled County expertise with Meadowbrook Farms and Merrifield Gardens in a fun-filled and informative evening of learning how to beautify your property. We provided labor to Lynbrook Elementary School's special day on November 2nd when the Microsoft grant money was put to direct use to spruce up the grounds and outfit their new Family Resource Learning Center.
Next up on 19 November the SCA hosts the Fairfax County Police Department, specifically our own Franconia Precinct's Captain Baumstark. Captain Baumstark will be accompanied by his Community Liaison Officer, MPO Jim Reid, one bicycle officer, one evening shift patrolman and one mid-watch patrolman who work SCA eighborhoods. This is your opportunity to meet those who protect and serve you, get to know them by face and name, and find out how we can help each other. It's an old-fashioned meet and greet. Please take advantage of this opportunity. We also ask that you get the word out to your neighbors and friends. On behalf of your SCA Board of Directors, I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. We pledge to keep communicating; please do the same.
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents eliminate screen time for toddlers, citing concerns about language delays and disrupted sleep. When I was my kids’ age, television was the monster that threatened children’s development. Who would have predicted that a short generation later, preschoolers would be iPod-literate?
I was thinking about this the other day as I reflected on two issues that that have touched a communal nerve: the proposed changes to the County’s library system (now on hold) and the high cost of K-12 education. When my kids step into the adult world, Fairfax County will, in some ways, be a very different place. I do believe that however technology changes how we do things, it won’t change why we do them. I fully expect that our County values of community engagement, excellent education, and a library system rich in offerings will be as strong as they are today. The trappings, so to speak, will be different; the values will endure.
It would be great if time machines and crystal balls were standard issue: a time machine to see how things really were and a crystal ball to see how today’s decisions play out. Change keeps its own clock, one that runs fast or slow driven by events we don’t always control. Almost twenty years ago when I began my career in Lee District as chief of staff to then-supervisor Dana Kauffman, constituent contact was a much slower process. Letters (remember those?) were the usual way of communicating and emails were scarce. Now, almost all of my communication with constituents is by email or when I run into them someplace like Costco. Email has been a game changer and more than anything else has changed expectations. In many ways, this is a good thing—when you have a question or problem, your elected officials and County employees should be able to respond quickly. Facebook and Twitter are new ways for me to communicate with you in real time.
I’d welcome your thoughts on what our County and district will be twenty years from now.
Supervisor Jeff McKay
Supervisor Jeff McKay
I was privileged to have been invited to the Virginia Teacher of the Year announcement in Richmond on October 11, 2013. As many of you know, Ms. Melissa Porfirio was one of eight nominees for this award that is given annually by the Governor of Virginia. When the announcement was made and we heard that Ms. Porfirio was awarded this prestigious honor, we were thrilled for Ms. Porfirio, Crestwood and Fairfax County Public Schools. Crestwood is fortunate to have such an outstanding staff of educators and Ms. Porfirio’s selection is fantastic for our school and community.
One of the distinguishing elements of Ms. Porfirio’s nomination was her continued involvement in the lives of her students outside of the classroom. I am sure many of you have seen her at local swim team events, baseball games, ballet and music recitals and many other events in the Springfield area. She comments that she feels like a“rock-star” when she attends these events. I am sure many of you have seen her in the community.
Our science team is taking the lead on two very important projects at Crestwood. To expand on our awareness of recycling, we are now implementing a food recycling program in our cafeteria. We are also expanding and moving our existing garden, this will give us one more opportunity to expose our students and families to our continued support of good nutrition, sustainability and conservation, food systems, and community awareness. We are fortunate to have Springfield Acres Garden Club and our Crestwood PTA as community partners, eager to help with this project. We have designated the location for the garden and know that this can become a vital part of our Crestwood community. If you would like to donate or participate in our garden project, please contact, Mark Bodie, firstname.lastname@example.org, , Crestwood PE teacher.
Thank you for your continued support of the Crestwood staff and students.
Timothy Kasik, Principal
How to be happy? Well the short answer is to come to the Friends Huge Used Book sale, December 5th – 8th. Whether you are thinking about winter reading, holiday shopping or just an enjoyable place to be – you’ll leave with a smile on your face.
Why? Two reasons. First, we have 50% more books than at any other time and they are beautiful. For example:
· We have over 5,000 childrens books including darling books for little ones, early readers, your favorite authors like Dr. Seuss and your favorite series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
· Variety abounds whether it is our 70+ Doctor Who collection, our rich philosophy section, or the 40+ books about NASA and space.
· All your favorite fiction authors in like new condition including paperbacks, tradebacks and hardbacks will be available and a wide collection of DVDs and CDs too.
Self Help, spiritual, art books and an amazing donation of Civil War and World War II books, the list goes on and on of the treasures waiting for you at bargain prices.
And all this fun shopping is going to make our community better. The funds raised fund our library’s childrens programs. This year we want to do more so we are also inviting our local schools (Garfield, Crestwood and Lynbrook) to send their teachers to us for an Educators Event where they can get books for their classrooms. We are working with the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the local business community to make our books work even harder. So the second reason, besides great books, is a wonderful chance to let your purchases work toward education both in library programming and at our community’s schools.
I’m happy just thinking about the Used Book sale at Richard Byrd library on December 5th – 8th. Hope to see you there!
The October 15th SCA Gardening Workshop was great – informative, humorous, and thoroughly enjoyable! If you missed it, another workshop in the near future may be scheduled. Here are a couple of unsolicited comments on the meeting…
“Personally, I thought it would be of little interest to me, but I realized shortly after the start that I have all kinds of questions about my lawn and shrubs, (e.g., How do we control creeping bamboo we inherited when we bought our house? The best answers are not to buy a house with creeping bamboo; do not plant creeping bamboo to begin with unless you are a masochist; rather consider planting clumping bamboo as an alternative; put a 4 foot deep barrier wall around the invasive plant just prior to visiting your chiropractor; nuke it (still won't kill it)). In short, this could be a real winner going forward for the SCA and for the community.”
“This was a very good first step. Let's definitely do it again! I learned a lot. Your panel was not only informative, but charming and funny, too! And, how nice to know that planning season is whenever the conditions permit. Just planted a redbud tree yesterday!”
The program, at Grace Church, began at 6 pm with a plant swap in the lower parking lot, hosted by Barb Barnhardt and Gayle Parsons (both members of the Springfield Acres Garden Club, as well as the SCA), decked out in their gardening regalia. Plants were still being swapped and purchased until the program began and it got too dark to see at 7. Inside, refreshments were served courtesy of Sandy Frieswyk and a slide show (created by Michele Duell) of neighborhood gardens was running (thanks to Rich Duffy on the AV equipment). Thank you to all those who shared photos of their beautiful gardens!
From 7pm – 9:00 pm, three local horticulturists/Master Gardeners provided important gardening information and answered questions on how to start, maintain or improve your garden. Topics covered a variety of subjects including trees, shade, wildlife, lawns, a gardening timeline, bulbs, annuals vs. perennials, transplanting tips, fertilizing, pests, propagation, vegetables, and master gardener programs.
The presenters that evening were:
Adria Bordas is the Unit Coordinator, Senior Extension Agent-Horticulture, for the Virginia Cooperative Extension. She focuses on several diverse program areas which include pest detection and diagnosis of plant and insect problems, water quality and nutrient management, and invasive pest management. She works with both residents and landscape and nursery industry professionals of Fairfax County. Adria also is responsible for two Master Gardener Volunteer programs; the Fairfax County Master Gardener Association and the Green Spring Master Gardener volunteer programs. Both groups of volunteers help Fairfax County residents answer landscape questions at Plant Clinics, the Master Gardener Horticulture Helpdesk and through educational programs for the public such as the Ecosavvy Symposium.
Horticulture Help Desk
Volunteers from FCMGA and Green Spring master gardeners staff a year-round horticulture help desk to answer home gardeners' questions and help solve gardening problems. During the growing season (April through October) they are on duty five mornings a week, Monday through Friday, from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. In November through March, the desk is staffed 9:30-12:30 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Contact them anytime by voice mail at (703) 324-8556 or by e-mail at email@example.com . Please clearly explain your question or problem, and they will conduct any needed research before getting back to you. During their duty hours you can also stop by their desk in the VCE Office on the 10th floor of the Pennino Building in the Fairfax County Government Center.
Misty Kuceris is the Certified Horticulturalist for Burke Nursery & Garden Centre as well as their Social Media Marketing Director. Having established Burke Nursery's diagnostic clinic, she works with customers in addressing their plant, insect, and lawn care problems and provides them with solutions that utilize the Integrated Pest Management approach. In addition to working at Burke Nursery, Misty is a consulting garden coach working with home owners and author of various gardening articles for international publications. For more information on garden and lawn care, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Burke Nursery & Garden Centre will be open until 8pm until Christmas and offers custom Christmas wreaths. Go to their website https://www.doubletakeoffers.com/burke-nursery-garden-centre# to learn more about their winter programs.
David Yost, Horticulturist, Merrifield Garden Center, has been working for Merrifield Garden Center for 16 years. Most of the time you will find him at the Plant Clinic examining sick, dying or dead plants. Identifying insects, weeds and diseases of plants and helping customers with any of their gardening questions. David also appears on Merrifield's Gardening Advisor, a live TV show Saturday mornings at 8 am on NewsChannel 8 and is the training coordinator for the Fairfax County Master Gardener's Association. You can contact David with your gardening and lawn care questions at email@example.com All three Merrifield locations offer free seminars from fall through winter. See their schedule at http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com/Home.aspx
Special Gardening Program on Tuesday October 15 at Grace Presbyterian Church
The evening will begin atwith a plant swap in the lower parking lot. Bring those plants you'd like to share with your neighbors and take home a plant you've always wanted to have in your garden! Here's how it will work: You may swap a plant you bring for a plant you'd like -at no charge. If you don't have a plant to swap, a $1 donation to SCA will buy you the plant you want. Gardeners, we know you have plants to unload – don't be shy. Please bring your plants in containers you don't need back.
Before the program begins, we will feature a slide show of neighborhood gardens. Please email your garden photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are interested in your landscaping photos, vegetable gardens, close up photos of your plants, and other garden features. All garden-related photos are welcome.
From email@example.com. The workshop topics may include trees, shade, wildlife, lawns, a gardening timeline, bulbs, annuals vs. perennials, transplanting tips, fertilizing, propagation, vegetables, community garden plots, classes, and pests., in the Grace Fellowship Hall, there will be a panel of local horticulturists and Master Gardeners who will provide important gardening information and then answer your questions on how to start, maintain or improve your garden. You are encouraged to submit your questions and areas of interest ahead of time by e-mailing them to
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Springfield Civic Association (SCA) achieved a successful 2012-13 season of community engagement and enrichment. We tapped local legends like George Towery and Jim Atwood who addressed American schools and American gun culture, respectively. The SCA hosted its political representatives, too, particularly Supervisor McKay and his Commonwealth counterparts Senator Saslaw and Delegate Vivian Watts. We didn't back down on issues and problems that plague us either; that was demonstrated when we coordinated the "Springfield groper" town hall meeting with the Fairfax County Police Department and the Lee District Supervisor's Office. A crowd estimated at over 250 citizens filled Crestwood's cafeteria to hear and to send a clear message that we are a vibrant community; we pay attention. That vibrancy was further demonstrated in early August when the SCA hosted a dozen National Night Out gatherings, far more than any other community in the Franconia Police Precinct, an enviable feather in our community cap. The annual Veterans Bridge Walk will show more of the same spirit.
The sages say that the past is prologue. Though the SCA has deep roots, its gaze is forward, to the future, to the 2013-14 season. It endeavors to stay out in front of the issues, to anticipate what the membership wants and needs to know. With Fairfax County in constant flux, that's a challenge, but to remain relevant that's where we need to stay, out front, in touch, and unyielding in our work for a better community. The SCA needs your connections to the world; help us shape the future of Springfield by taking an active role in its formation. Communicate, partner and participate in a fashion that suits you. We will have meetings of topical interest ranging from gardening to the Springfield Town Center, plus politics and zoning or whatever life may throw our way. Keep building momentum. Come join us.
Yours in Springfield,
Are your ears ringing? It could be due to people talking about exciting kid’s projects in our area. The Springfield Connection and Alexandria Patch newspapers covered a story about Lynbrook Elementary School, and WJLA-TV did a Harris’ Heroes segment about an after school program taking place at Lake Accotink Park. The common thread of both stories was the SCA supported Springfield based kids health organization TrailsforYouth.Org (TYO). TYO partnered both with the park and schools to make sure local youth have opportunities to be outdoors and healthy. The newspaper articles heralded Lynbrook Elementary as being the first public elementary school in Fairfax County to operate the Air Quality Flag System, which alerts students and adults to air quality with a glance at the flag flying on the flag pole in the front of the school every day. Poor air quality contributes to asthma and respiratory illnesses which causes multiple missed school days each year.
Every day, student patrols at Lynbrook will raise a colored flag of the Air Quality Index (AQI) to show how polluted the air is expected to be. Green is good air, yellow is fair air, orange is not good for people with breathing issues, red is bad for all people to be active outdoors. Families and teachers will be able to compare the colored flags to the AQI and know what actions to take to protect the children's health. "Lynbrook works continuously to support the well-being of each of our students. This program is an extension of our efforts to provide all the benefits we can for our students," said Assistant Principal Shirley Shannon. "Partnering with TrailsforYouth.Org to provide this program is an additional resource for our students and the community. We are excited to be a pioneer in the County."
The second story, was the TV coverage highlighting the scenery of Lake Accotink Park and TYO’s at-risk youth after school program – The Trailblazers. The partnership between the park and TYO dates back 11 years and has introduced thousands of local youth to the beauty of the park, and the need to protect our natural resources. TYO utilizes the beautiful park setting to teach youth the importance of being active outdoors, overcoming obstacles and while doing this, introduces them to the trails and natural wonders of Lake Accotink Park. The SCA has played an important role in this partnership by sponsoring youth from Lynbrook and Crestwood to attend week-long camps.
It is with tremendous appreciation that we can update the SCA members about the wonderful publicity and programs happening here in Springfield. For those members who do not know about TYO, it is a local nonprofit 501(c)3 headquartered in Springfield that mentors at-risk youth and provides opportunities for children to experience nature along with the joys and health benefits of being active outdoors. For more information about their programs please visit the website at www.trailsforyouth.org. And for information about the fantastic news coverage please see these links:
Gov. McDonnell has declared September 24 a “Day of Service” for Virginia and called on citizens “to make a concerted and united effort to care for the poor and needy, to give service, and to design projects where families and individuals can assist those in need and improve the quality of life in our Commonwealth’s communities.” In response, one of ECHO’s member congregations has organized three events to collect food for ECHO and other area non-profits that distribute food. See www.echo-inc.org for more details on the September 21 food collection at local grocery stores, a 3K walk at Robinson Secondary School on September 28, and a concert at Fairfax High School on September 29. Participants are asked to donate a non-perishable food or personal care item.
ECHO has many opportunities for volunteers, but we have a major need for a person with strong administrative and communication skills to become our Volunteer Coordinator. The time commitment and work site are fairly flexible, in that much of the work could be accomplished from home. The job entails working with ECHO’s director to determine where volunteers are needed, then recruiting people for those tasks using a large, existing volunteer database and/or developing sources to attract new volunteers. If you would like to know more about this opportunity, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECHO’s special needs this month include macaroni and cheese, rice, spaghetti, powdered milk, shampoo, shaving cream and razors. Also, new or used, but usable men’s and boys’ jeans, kitchen blenders and toasters, are especially needed right now. If you can donate any of these things, or other non-perishable foods, hygiene items, school supplies, educational toys, or household goods, please bring them to 7205 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield, between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm on weekdays, or on Tuesday – Thursday evenings, 7:00 to 9:00.
Sadly, ECHO is unable to reopen its Wednesday evening Teen Volunteer Program this fall because we lack an adequate number of volunteer adults to supervise. The teen volunteers do tasks related to donations; for reasons of confidentiality, they are not in the building when clients are there. If you are interested in working with teens and would be available at least two Wednesday evenings a month for the duration of the school year, please contact us at email@example.com. This program not only helps ECHO, we believe it gives young people the understanding that any community is stronger and better when people help each other.
Thanks to everyone who donated and worked on ECHO’s school supplies program! Currently, we have distributed more than 900 of the 1100 backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies. We will continue to give them out as needy families with school age children come to us.
ECHO’s semi-annual Yard Sale will be held on Saturday, October 26, from 8:00 am until noon at St. Bernadette Catholic Church gymnasium, 7600 Old Keene Mill Road. There are many exciting items of clothing, accessories, and housewares available. Come join the fun of the bargain-hunt. Items offered for sale have been donated to ECHO. All proceeds benefit Ecumenical Community Helping Others (ECHO).
Even more than January, September has always felt like the beginning of the year to me and now that my daughter has started kindergarten, my family and I are fully back in the rhythm of the school calendar year.
August was a transitional month for my family—my daughter’s last days as a preschooler and a time for my wife and me to adjust to having a child in school. (I sure would like to know how they grow up so fast!) In addition to mulling over that family milestone, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the role of our government. The fact that just about every August day had a story about congress and the possibility of a government shutdown certainly made me appreciate my board colleagues who work across the aisle, communicate, and compromise to get things done.
I also remembered a discussion I had with a constituent some years back when he called my office to complain about paying County property taxes. He believed we should have a cafeteria form of government where no one should pay for services not used. In his case, he said he used no County services so therefore there was no reason for him to pay County property tax. And then he told me all about how he runs for an hour early every morning and prefers to do that at Fairfax County parks because of their excellent and well maintained trails.
Fairfax County provides an array of services to its residents, one of the reasons we’re known for our high quality of life and stable economy. On September 21, I’ll be bringing those services directly to Lee District residents at a resource fair from 9 am to noon at the Franconia Governmental Center. You’ll be able to get immediate information and advice from an array of county agencies including such topics as zoning violations and property maintenance, parking, drainage, consumer affairs, road construction, streetlights, trash, building permits, health, and the like.
There’s no need to register in advance—just walk in and take advantage of services to help your neighborhood.