Letter to the Editor: Protect Drinking Water

To the Editor: If we don’t put chemicals on our yards they will not be in our drinking water. Our yards, when added together, constitute most of the land in Montgomery County. We can all work together and make vast improvements to our water quality and our health simply by not using conventional weed killers, pesticides and fertilizers on our yards and gardens. Each year in America, about 80 million pounds of pesticides are used on 30 million acres of lawns. When we put these chemicals on our lawns and gardens some are absorbed into our ground water aquifer, and some are carried by rainwater as run-off pollution.

Letter to the Editor: Route 1 Traffic Problems

To the Editor: Wake up politicians in Northern Virginia: we need four lanes on Route 1 in both directions that are usable. Traffic is backing up further and further at Kings Crossing and the Costco/Wal-Mart location near Hybla Valley. The back up at Kings Crossing causes commuters to take Fort Hunt, Quander Road to Sherwood Hall Lane. Sherwood Hall Lane is now backed up from Route 1 past the Sherwood Regional Library almost every afternoon.

Letter to the Editor: Re-Striping Plan Hurts Homeowners

To the Editor: The overarching problem with FCDOT’s and VDOT’s proposal for Sherwood Hall Lane is that it is concerned exclusively with the imagined needs of bicycle riders of whom there are only a handful and with passing through commuters of whom there are already far too many. The residents of the neighborhoods stretching from Route 1 and Gum Springs to Ft. Hunt Road, which include Hybla Valley [Frances and Schelhorn], Sherwood Estates and Hollindale are being told to accept changes to the road that will only degrade the neighborhood further and, therefore, decrease property values. The first degradation occurred in the early ‘70s with the widening of Sherwood Hall Lane from a little two lane road to what we have now. We lost property and many fine trees but at least we got sidewalks [we do have walkers and runners] and on street parking.

Commentary: Working Towards a County Budget

The County Executive has released his recommendations for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 operating budget. I wanted to let you know some of the highlights that were in it, as the County Council begins our business of working to approve a final budget. The recommended budget stays within the charter limit and totals $4.97 billion for FY 2015, which begins July 1. The budget funds education beyond what is required by the State Maintenance of Effort Level law, puts more police on the beat, and reduces the County's property tax rate.

Letter to the Editor: Beware Becoming Pedestrian Unfriendly

To the Editor: The subject of managing bicycle traffic in Old Town is a complex one, but a key element is the effect of such traffic on the quality of life for residents. Old Town must be a walkable city, something it seemed to emphasize a few years ago but now has taken a back seat to other interests. It is evident that Old Town residents have complained about bicyclists not stopping at stop signs and not yielding to pedestrians, and added to this peril is the recent declaration by City Council that bicycles may travel on the city sidewalks. How can all of this be interpreted as anything but placing pedestrian safety, and pedestrian access, second to bicycle traffic?

Letter to the Editor: Thank You To WPHS

To the Editor: Recently, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry issued a communication to exceptional schools in the U.S. that support public diplomacy efforts by hosting high school exchange students sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. AFS has just learned that West Potomac High School received this commendation from Secretary Kerry, and we want to express how proud we are to work in educational partnership with this outstanding school and its visionary leaders.Nearly 30 years ago, I was welcomed into a U.S. high school as an exchange student from Argentina.

Letter to the Editor: Negatives of Income Equality

To the Editor: I for one, and completely thankful for an income gap in society. Hard work, innovation and that all important "Stick-to-itivness" allows people to come from a challenged background and succeed. It is the communist ... er ... democrat buzz phrase that the income gap is a concept that is to be loathed and even feared. I cannot begin to mention the myriad people that have come to this great and prosperous nation with the clothes on their back and a dream in their God-given souls, only to rise above the endless challenges placed before them. My grandparents came here with nothing and instilled into their children concepts that are wholly unknown to some entire segments of today's leech society.

Letter to the Editor: Seeds of Success Are Sown

To the Editor: The recent settlement agreement between the Old Dominion Boat Club and the city is cause for celebration. We applaud both sides for bringing this long litigious battle to an end in a manner we find fair — but more importantly sets the stage for the world class waterfront that our community can treasure. Someday in the near future a visitor at the foot of King Street will never again have to ask “where's the water” while a new state of the art Boat Club facility will rise out of the flood plain replacing the Beachcomber eyesore.

Letter: Toxic Debate on School Budget

To the Editor: Supporting the public schools is Fairfax County’s number one priority. Proof of that lies in the fact that over 50 percent of the county’s budget supports school programs. This large expense has generated considerable debate among county taxpayers over the years. However, this year the discussion has become toxic and personal.

Donate to Diva Central

To the Editor: On Saturday, March 8, I had the opportunity to volunteer for Reston Community Center’s annual Diva Central Event. Since RCC’s creation of this program twelve years ago, Diva Central has provided a chance for young ladies in our surrounding community the opportunity to shop and select a beautiful prom outfit, complete with gown, wrap, purse, shoes, and jewelry, absolutely free, relieving some of the financial burden of what we all know can be a lavish, and therefore, expensive event.

Letter: Improving Children’s Education

To the Editor: The CLIPUS Foundation is an organization that focuses on school supplies as a gateway to improving children’s education. Our members and volunteers share this same passion for children’s education and together we push forward, coming up with unique ways to raise money and ultimately providing supplies to children in need. With our main program designed to collect used toners from companies, schools, and individuals, we help spread environmental awareness while receiving the funds needed to buy the school supplies.

Column: A Letter from Sandy Hook

On the fourteenth of each month, the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, I join dozens of others at a vigil at the National Rifle Association headquarters to remind everyone of the need for sensible gun safety measures. After the most recent vigil, I got an email from Erin Nikitchyuk which I share with her permission to remind us of how we all need to be concerned about this issue.

Letter: Lying Already?

To the Editor: [Barbara] Comstock is not even on the ballot and already she’s throwing lies around in a letter designed to raise Republican hackles and raise money for her primary. She reported that John Foust, Dranesville Supervisor on the Fairfax Board and her likely opponent for the 10th District, “just voted last night for an 8.5 percent tax hike on homeowners.” Truth is that Foust actually voted for a cap on property taxes, which was agreed to by Republicans and Democrats working together on the Board. Really, Barbara, a bald-faced lie, and one so easy to catch, doesn’t help your image.

Mental Health and the Expansion of Medicaid

There is a growing consensus forming in the General Assembly that now is the time to improve the safety net for mental health services. Both the House and Senate budgets increase funding for these services by millions of dollars (House proposed a $10 million increase and the Senate $20 million) above the proposed budget of $36 million that Governor McDonnell presented in December.

President Rebuilding Together Alexandria

Her memories are vivid. She loves Alexandria. And she loves her home. After living in the city for 71 years, Mary* not only appreciates the city’s rich history but grows with it. In fact, everywhere she looks, she recollects memories from different parts of her life. As a native Alexandrian who grew up on Queen Street, Mary remembers when Quaker Lane used to be mud lands, and when shops on Mt. Vernon Avenue had to close due to the floods. As a private nurse who often worked at the Goodwin House during her 30-year career, she met and cared for many well-known people and their family members, including a relative of Jackie Kennedy. She experienced segregation during the Civil Rights era but felt that outside of school, boundaries faded and kids got along. This was especially the case during a family tragedy. When her brother drowned as a young boy, the entire community came together working to find him.