Drawn from the 15 weekly community newspapers published by Connection Newspapers.


Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

To the Editor: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) has been wrestling with the question of how to meet their self-imposed demands for more services and how to raise revenue (read "taxes") to support those demands. The first source is the real estate tax - the tax on our homes and businesses. The real estate tax is a function of the value of our property and a function of the rate of tax to be imposed based on the value of our property. Suffice to say, this is a game that is played each year - whatever you call it, about 15.5 percent more will have come out of our pockets over the past three years.

Southwestern Virginia


For many years Jane and I have used our spring break to visit locations throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. This year was no exception as we went to the southwestern region of the state. Although we drove about 225 miles to Roanoke from Reston, we were not yet in what the locals call Southwest Virginia. In fact, only by driving another 134 miles down I81 to Abingdon did we get to what many consider the doorstep to Southwest Virginia. It would have been possible to drive another 111 miles west with a short swing into Tennessee to get to the western-most point in Virginia at Cumberland Gap. That point is further west than Detroit. Regardless of how far you travel, the natural beauty of the mountains and streams in this part of the state are unequaled, and the local people are wonderful to meet.

Where Am I?

"I’m sitting in the rocking chair, good buddy," (a "Smokey and The Bandit" reference, if you’re not of a certain vintage), between two 18-wheelers where the police radar can’t find me – further referencing the C.B. radio days. Updating to the "Kenny-with-cancer" days, I’m a month or so past my last very encouraging CT Scan, the one I wrote about when my oncologist offered me a congratulatory handshake, a gesture he had not made in the five-plus years since we’ve been tangling with this damn disease; and I’m approximately seven weeks away from my next CT scan, "intervaled" every three months at present. Seven weeks is far enough away where I’m not even thinking about it, or the possibility of its discouraging results that I’ll know about on or about June 9th. I am cruising, emotionally, and savoring the excellent results from the last scan and not yet worrying, wondering, hoping, praying (too much) about my next scan. This means, at the moment – or moments, I should say, I am enjoying a relatively stress-free and blissful ignorance to what may – or hopefully may not, be happening in my lungs. I am, to quote a Three Stooges line: "as safe as in my mother’s arms."

Editorial: Past Time for Later Start Times

Teenagers are sleep deprived, and sleep deprivation takes a significant toll on safety, health and learning. We’ve known this for decades. But for decades, literally, Fairfax County Public Schools (and Montgomery County, Md.) have let a combination of reactionary blabber ("buck up and get moving;" "just tell them to go to bed earlier") and organizational resistance prevent implementing a solution to this very real problem. Getting up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. to hop on a school bus at 5:45 a.m. or even as late at 6:30 a.m. to get to school by 7:20 a.m. is not healthy for teenagers. It is nearly impossible for teenagers to go to sleep before 11 p.m. or midnight. Fairfax County high school students average six hours of sleep a night on weeknights. Research shows they need nine hours of sleep. Research has also quantified the costs of sleep deprivation.

Commentary: Dean Supports Beyer

I’ve always stood for the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. When I started my presidential campaign in 2003, I was against the Iraq War, and had worked hard as Governor of Vermont to create marriage equality and universal health care in my home state. Those positions weren’t totally popular at the time. But I believe candidates should pay attention not only to their prospective constituents, but also to their internal compass.

Letter: School Budget: Different Perspective

Letter to the Editor

"Challenging discussion on the Fairfax County FY 2015 Budget" is another attendee’s perspective on the Lee District Feb. 26 meeting at which the FCPS and Fairfax County budgets were presented.

Letter: Prohibit Fracking

Letter to the Editor

In "Residents Concerned About ‘Fracking in Our Backyard’" (Connection, April 3-9, 2014), readers may wonder how pollutants entering the Potomac River 200 miles upstream in the George Washington National Forest could still be toxic in Fairfax County.

Is WarnerCare Here?

To the Editor: Several weeks back, Fred Siskind of McLean attempted to defend a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) - Medical Devices Excise Tax [“Incorrect Assertion,” The Reston Connection, March 19-25, 2014]. Unfortunately, Mr. Siskind did not go far enough in his research.

Pass a Clean Budget

To the Editor: “Greetings Leverage. The Governor and 22 Senators use this degrading term to describe all public school teachers, sheriffs deputies, state agencies, and counties who depend on the funds included in a clean state budget. In short, you are hostages. The Governor, elected by a slim margin last November, a state Senator elected by a mere 12 votes, and another Senator who’s residence is in question all claim the right to rule as they see fit carefully ignoring the fact the two out of every three Virginians question the wisdom of implementing a demonstrated train wreck.

Editorial: Celebrate Earth Day

Get outside with your family, participate in group activities, or just walk in your favorite park.

Earth Day is April 22, observed April 19-27 and beyond. Fairfax County offers many useful and educational ways to enjoy the day. Don’t miss the chance to get outside, observe the developing spring weather, flora and fauna. Here are some of the opportunities:

Dying of Curiosity

As I was completing last week’s column ("I Thought I Was a Goner") and thanking my oncology nurse, Ron, in the process, for the excellent care he has provided me for nearly five years now; a week after I wrote a column thanking my Certified Holistic Health Coach, Rebecca Nenner, for the health and fitness-type knowledge she has given me over those same five years; it dawned on me that perhaps my subconscious mind knew something that my conscious mind didn’t: that I should move closer to the undertaker like Radar’s Uncle Ernest did two days before he died, in the M*A*S*H episode titled "Novacaine Mutiny" from season four.

Letter to the Editor: City Should Clean Up Its Mess

To the Editor: The city lays claim to ownership of King Street Park at the foot of King Street. This past Sunday (April 13), the park was a trash-strewn disgrace, with trash overflowing from the can and being blown about the entire park and into the river.

Letter to the Editor: Sharing about Bullying

To The Editor: Often one may have a brief conversation with his or her neighbors and sometimes the conversation leaves one with a question of what to do. And that’s an issue I find myself facing.

Letter to the Editor: Keep Engine 204 Staff in Place

I live in the North end of Old Town amid a mix of old rowhouses, newer (1979) built townhouses, new townhouses (Old Town Commons), all of Old Town Greens and Potomac Greens north of Slater’s Lane, a few high rises and many new rental apartment buildings. We are a densely populated part of the city.

Opinion: Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22, observed April 19-27 and beyond. The City of Alexandria offers many useful and educational ways to enjoy the day.