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,
Yes, it's been a long, cold winter. As they say in Maine, if you can't take the bad, you don't deserve the good. That makes me optimistic.
The SCA meets next on Tuesday, 18 March at Crestwood Elementary, 7pm for mixing and 7:30pm for business. Our subject is the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The focus will be on what CERT can do for you and yours, how you can get CERT training, and why CERT is important especially at the local level. Our own Adam Samuels (LCDR/USN) will lead the proceedings.
We will also be accepting nominations for next season's Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has seven positions; president, two vice presidents, a treasurer, a secretary and two members-at-large. The formal election will occur at our May 20th meeting. If you are interested in serving on the Board or just getting more involved in the community please let us know.
The SCA is pretty well connected, having partnered with local business, Government and other non-government organizations over the decades. Whether new to the community or long-established we would be happy to make that introduction for you if we possibly can.
Looking further into spring, Supervisor McKay will conduct a "Community Walk" in Crestwood to talk directly to his constituents, hear your concerns and see for himself how things are going in our neighborhoods. We have also invited Mr. McKay to be our guest at the May meeting. More to follow as both events take shape.
The pending sale of the Springfield Town Center (STC) to Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is of note and the SCA hopes to learn more about the PREIT in the very near future 9see page 11.) As for the much anticipated Wegmans at Telegraph and Beulah, we will also have to wait until 2015 even though the other stores in the Hilltop complex will open later this year. Just like spring, the STC and Wegmans will arrive eventually. Hang in there!
Bruce Waggoner, President, SCA
The County Executive released his budget on February 25; on March 4, the Board of Supervisors in a bipartisan vote agreed to advertise a property tax cap of two cents. It’s a challenge to fund our residents’ needs, especially with growing federal and state service cuts so I reluctantly supported this. I don’t want to tie our hands by not providing flexibility to fund critical County services. (While the two-cents is the highest that the tax rate can go, the Board can adopt a lower increase.)
Education is our Board’s priority and the school transfer will be about 52 percent of the General Fund. We also fund school resource officers, crossing guards, school health aides and nurses, SACC, and FCPS’ debt service and dedicate two thirds of our bonding capacity to the schools.
The Board of Supervisors is legally required to adopt a balanced budget and there’s no getting around our economic circumstances. Many businesses and households have been affected by the federal Fiscal Cliff, Sequestration, the federal government shutdown, and the lingering effects of the Great Recession. Federal and state funding cuts have affected County services and to balance our County budget, we’ve reduced funding to human services, public safety, parks, libraries, and employee compensation.
We’re expected to assume costs beyond our residents’ ability to pay and we’re burdening our taxpayers—who through real estate and personal property taxes fund close to 80 percent of our General Fund. It’s good that our housing market is recovering and that in comparison to other areas of the state, we’re financially healthy. It’s not good that Fairfax County gets back only 19 cents on every dollar that it sends to Richmond. It’s not that we don’t pay enough taxes; it’s that we don’t keep them in Northern Virginia. We’re 27 percent of the state’s population, generate 40 percent of the state’s General Fund and get back only 21 percent.
Please let me know what’s important to you. You’ll find detailed budget information at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/. To testify at a budget public hearing, contact the Office of the Clerk to the Board at 703-324-3151 or online at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speaker_bos.htm. Public hearings are in the board auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center on April 8, 9, and 10.
Lynbrook ES is SO VERY PROUD and GRATEFUL to be “YOUR” Springfield community school!!
Driving by Lynbrook ES on Backlick Rd. everyone sees our beautiful community school, “The Home of the Leprechauns”.
Every day we talk about the “magic” of our community school and March is a special month for joyful learning and celebrating our mascot, Lenny, on Lenny Day, March 17th.
Recently there was an apartment fire that caused hardship to several families in our Lynbrook ES community. This week we felt the true magic of our Springfield Community support. With extraordinary Leprechaun pride, we are so incredibly proud to share that our staff and Springfield community donated more than $3000.00 in cash, gift cards and goods to support our families’ needs. We thank our Springfield community from the bottom of our “Leprechaun hearts” for the most generous community care and concern that has been shared. It is in giving that we receive and we couldn’t be more proud to be giving to our community, educating our community students and families.
Those who only drive by our school can never quite understand all that we do to support our Leprechaun students, families, community and staff within our walls. Those who come to visit and spend time at Lynbrook ES, walk away feeling the true magic of our Leprechaun community of earners and leaders…our students, staff and families. Come visit and we will welcome you to our community school. Come visit and you will find our families learning new skills and volunteering in our Family Learning Center. Come visit and you will discover our dedicated teachers and staff leading JOYFUL learning, utilizing best practices for instruction and supporting all of our students’ unique learning needs. Come visit and you will feel the magic of our Leprechaun land, celebrating learning and leadership.
We are so very proud and grateful to be able to serve “YOUR” Springfield Community and support!
With endless gratitude,
Mary E. McNamee
Principal, Lynbrook ES
As you watched the ice storm hit the suburbs of Philadelphia back in January, did you know what you would do if that same thing happened here and we lost power in Springfield or all of Fairfax County for a week or two? Over 700,000 people lost power for 3 days or more- can your family and elderly neighbors do the same and are all set for impact of no power- loss of refrigeration, heat, cooking, cell phones… and internet (or Netflix HOUSE OF CARDS?!?!) Our disasters of late have been minor inconveniences from Snowmageddon (2010), Tropical Storm Lee (2011), and the Derecho windstorm (2012).
What if the East Coast earthquake (2011) or Hurricane Sandy (2012) had been significantly worse for our area and we had lost more than just power but had structural damage or injuries. It could be hours or days until Emergency services arrive- not the time to panic. What can we do in the meantime to help ourselves, to be self-sufficient until help can arrive? THAT is the purpose of the meeting this month.
A number of your neighbors in our own neighborhood surrounding Springfield Plaza shopping center (Springfield and Springvale) have recently joined a volunteer, county-side emergency response network called CERT, or Community Emergency Response Team, and would like to provide a few easy tips of how to implement the “"Make a Kit, Have a Plan, Know your Neighbors" many of us have heard from FEMA but never found the time to make happen once the skies clear and power is restored. The speakers are your own neighbors so they know our neighborhood. Training includes: Training includes:
· Things you can do to prevent emergencies in your home and office; safety practices
· Things you can do now to prepare for a disaster and reduce the impact when it happens
· Things you can do during a disaster to protect yourself and your family
· Things you can do after a disaster to help your family and your neighborhood recover if the professional responders are delayed or cannot get to you right away
Also presented will be the dates of the next FREE training class for CERT set up specifically for our neighborhood and taught at the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department on Backlick Road later this spring. http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/index.shtm
Please join us for a good discussion, and the opportunity to find out how a few simples steps now will help you, your family, and your neighborhood feel more secure the next time you hear a storm (hopefully not called HURRICANE PUTIN?) is coming our way.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On behalf of the Springfield Civic Association (SCA) Board I bid you a Happy New Year! It's fitting that our community's horizons continue to brighten as we start 2014. The Springfield Town Center's (STC) transformation continues apace as it pushes to open by Thanksgiving. Undoubtedly there is a long way yet to travel. Yet, there is happy news to be revealed about the STC's tenants and future plans. We are seeing the build-out happen before our eyes. It is real, and it brings with it a tremendous sense of anticipation and optimism for improvement and revitalization across the greater Springfield Community. The Wegmans Plaza at Beulah and Telegraph continues to take form and should open this year, though Wegmans itself is not slated to open until 2015. That is an internal corporate decision and is not reflective of County efforts to bring about an earlier opening. The decision on the FBI's relocation will not likely come until 2015 as well. It only proves once again the old adage that "Patience is a virtue"; how virtuous then are we who live in a place where patience is also a prerequisite.
The SCA's topical slate for our next three meetings is varied and we trust will interest you. First up is January 21st; our topic is "Restorative Justice" with a focus on anti-bullying. In that spirit we have reached out to Lynbrook, Crestwood, and Garfield Elementary Schools and hope for a good showing from concerned parents. The March meeting topic is emergency preparedness wherein we will focus on SCA-based emergency readiness training. Given the storms we've been through in the last several years it can't hurt to be in the know. Our May meeting closes out this season. We will hold our annual elections for the seven SCA Board seats. If you are interested, please let the Board know by our March meeting. After elections are held we will hear from our Supervisor, Jeff McKay, for the latest, greatest news on County affairs that impact us so directly. Given all that is in play regarding the County budget, the STC, Wegmans, and other revitalization in our area it is never dull catching up with Jeff McKay and his excellent, constituent-focused staff. Come join with us. At $15 per household we offer good value. The camaraderie is free.
I was pleased to serve on Governor-Elect McAuliffe’s transportation advisory transition team and on December 12 other members of the team and I reviewed the governor-elect’s transportation plan and made recommendations on how to move forward to fix our Virginia transportation infrastructure. Transportation will be key to our future. Our economy relies on a strong transportation network and job retention and economic growth are linked to a strong transportation infrastructure. That infrastructure is not limited to roads; it includes local and regional transit systems, as well as pedestrian connectivity. Planning is not enough and if we’re to make a dent in our transportation project backlog, we must get projects out of the ground a lot faster—a point I made at the session.
The bi-partisan transition team included subject matter experts in roads, transit, pedestrian, bicycle, space program, ports, and smart growth and Aubrey Layne, the governor-elect’s appointee for State Transportation Secretary, joined us for the discussion. It was interesting and challenging to see how the different pieces of the transportation puzzle fit together. As former chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), I understand our mobility needs and the reality that roads alone can’t solve our transportation problems. (Fortunately, the transportation bill allocates major funds to transit.)
Last year, the first significant bipartisan compromise on transportation in a generation resulted in $1.4 billion-a-year transportation funding for Virginia. This bill came just in time—our funding crisis could have made Virginia ineligible for federal highway matching funds. Not only were those federal dollars at risk, but the state had drained its maintenance funds, obvious from the condition of our roads. Now that these funds have been secured, it’s important that we spend them wisely.
So what does this mean for Northern Virginia and Fairfax County? The most important thing for me is making sure that the funding from the transportation bill gets to our local roads and transit needs as quickly as possible. As chair of Fairfax County Transportation and Legislative Committees, and NVTC Legislative Chair, I’ll be doing everything I can to make that happen.
Supervisor Jeff McKay
The Northern Virginia Mediation Service (NVMS) has been providing Restorative Justice (RJ) services to the Northern Virginia community for the past six years. The principal consumers of the services are the schools, juvenile court and police department in Fairfax County. RJ is a process in which all those affected by a harm in the community can seek to repair the harm and restore relationships in a safe conversation that is led by professional facilitators. Harms result from violations of law or disciplinary codes, or from recurring conflicts; those harmed can be as a recipient of or a contributor to the harm, or both. Bill Casey and Dave Deal coordinate the NVMS RJ program. They will explain how the process works, is accessed, and has led to successful, staying results in the local schools and juvenile courts during the past several years. They will answer questions from the audience. Additional information is available at the NVMS’ website (www.nvms.us).
Join us at Crestwood Elementary School on Tuesday January 21, 7:30, for this informative program.
Lake Accotink Park now has two active bald eagle nests. Just before the holidays, trail watch volunteers tipped off park staff to the presence of a second bald eagle nest. The first known nest–near the spot where the railroad trestle crosses Accotink Creek by the dam–has awed many of our park visitors for several years. To have a second active nest (that we know of) is indeed exciting! Those with sharp eyes may spot the nest along the main trail south of the lake about a quarter-mile west of the dam. Please stay on the main trail so as not to disturb the eagles or other wildlife which need habitat that is free of human intrusion.
New Programs For Children
Springtime will bring flowers and also a welcome surge of school children coming into the park as part of school-sponsored field trips. This past Fall, Park Authority Education and Outreach staff in the Resource Management Division added Lake Accotink Park to the list of parks offering the Earth and Sky Science Program. Geared toward 4th grade, leaders take students on a fun educational adventure into how the natural world works. So far, more than 900 students have attended the program, which uses the park’s lake, creek and dam as tangible learning backdrops. Park staff look forward to welcoming more schools in the Spring.
In Summer the park will launch a new morning camp for ages 5-7. Based on customer feedback, the need for a half-day summer camp for younger children was identified and will be offered in addition to the ever-popular Lakeside Nature Fun Camp geared toward the older kids. The new camp, called “Little Ducklings,” will run on weekdays from 9am – 12pm from June 23rd through August. Morning extended care will be available from 8am – 9am. Campers will enjoy field games, group activities, nature hikes and lessons, crafts, special themed activities, and tour boat and carousel rides. For more information please contact Chris Goldbecker at 703-324-9151 or visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/lake-accotink/events.htm.
Volunteer Donn Grover
In September 2013 Lake Accotink Park welcomed a new volunteer, Donn Grover. Donn has lived in Northern Virginia most of his life and currently resides in Alexandria with his wife of 47 years and their two dogs Pepito the Poodle and Paquito the Dachshund. Donn is an award winning artist and is retired from a wide range of careers. For 15 years he was employed as a carpenter and maintenance worker at a Franciscan monastery in Washington D.C., and in the decades prior to that he served in the US Navy and Coast Guard. His skills as an artist and carpenter and his positive attitude make him a valuable member of the Lake Accotink team. Donn is an energetic and colorful character who is always looking for more ways to be of help and support the staff. He decorated the employee work areas for the holidays and organized a holiday party for staff. Donn’s colorful nature shows through in his work as well. His creativity and artistic skill are demonstrated through his work to refurbish and paint the horses on the park’s antique carousel, adding many beautiful designs and details. Donn also suggested the horses be named using names contributed by children in the community. Donn’s positive can-do attitude makes him a joy to work with and staff enjoy his entertaining stories. The park and the community are fortunate to have Donn Grover in our midst.
If you have a skill or area of expertise you would like to contribute by volunteering at Lake Accotink Park, please call 703-569-0285 or go online to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/volunteer/lap-vol.htm
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