January 2014…President’s Corner

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.

Sincerely yours,

Bruce Waggoner

President, SCA

Message from Supervisor McKay

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

January Program: Restorative Justice

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 News

Wildlife

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

President’s Message – November 2013

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.

Message from Supervisor McKay

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

News from Crestwood Elementary

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, mcbodie@fcps.edu, , Crestwood PE teacher.

Thank you for your continued support of the Crestwood staff and students.

Timothy Kasik, Principal

How to Be Happy

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!

October Gardening Meeting a Success!

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 mgfairfax@vt.edu . 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 misty@burkenursery.com. 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 dyost@mgcmail.com   All three Merrifield locations offer free seminars from fall through winter.  See their schedule at http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com/Home.aspx

Fall is for Gardening – October Program

Special Gardening Program on Tuesday October 15 at Grace Presbyterian Church

 

The evening will begin at 6 pm with 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 springfieldcivic@yahoo.com. 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 7pm – 9pm, 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 springfieldcivic@yahoo.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.