Bonnie Hobbs

With more than 25 years experience in journalism, I’ve written and edited newspapers in California, North Carolina and Virginia. In California, I worked for a weekly paper in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I’m from originally.

In North Carolina, I worked two years (1990-92) at the Sun Journal, a daily paper in New Bern. There, I covered county government, commercial fishing – which is a big industry there – and the Gulf War.

New Bern is near the Marine Corps Air Station in Havelock, so I did lots of stories on the effects the war had on the wives and children left behind while the husbands and dads were fighting in Iraq. As one elementary-school teacher told me, “If one child’s father or mother is killed, the security for the rest of the students is shattered.”

In addition, my photographer and I were lowered by helicopter onto the USS Iwo Jima as it returned to port in Morehead City after deployment. I got to interview the sailors and Marines aboard ship and experience, firsthand, their welcome back by local residents who greeted them in the water in hundreds of small boats to escort them home.

I also interviewed parents of Marines killed in the war, as well as a Marine pilot whose aircraft had been shot down overseas. He spoke about what went through his mind while parachuting into the desert and what happened to him while he was a POW. Luckily, it was toward the end of the war and he was eventually freed to return home.

I also worked three years for the Prince William Journal, covering the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, as well as a slew of criminal cases. And I’ve been with Centre View for almost 19 years, covering Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fair Oaks and Fair Lakes. For the past few years, I’ve also covered Fairfax and some of Lorton and Fairfax Station for the Connection.

Recent Stories

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Heaven for Chocolate Lovers

Fairfax’s annual festival is Feb. 7-8.

Heaven for chocolate aficionados – that’s the City of Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival. And this year’s 23rd annual extravaganza is set for Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 7-8. The scrumptious and fun-filled weekend features everything from a competition to see who can make the most beautiful and creative chocolate sculptures, cakes and cupcakes to a chocolate-themed movie and a luscious sampling of chocolate treats from area vendors. It’s also a chance to buy mouthwatering presents for Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate Festival Event Schedule

Saturday, Feb. 7

Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast and Bake Sale 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. Fire Station 3, 4081 University Drive Join the Kiwanis Club of Fairfax for its Chocolate Lovers Pancake Breakfast. The menu features pancakes (regular and chocolate chip) and sausage. Coffee, juice and milk also will be served.

A Children’s Classic Comes to Life

Fairfax Academy student has lead role in “Beauty and the Beast.”

A beloved children’s story comes to life when Centreville High presents the Disney musical, “Beauty and the Beast.” And playing one of the lead roles is senior Nick Ingargiola, who attends the Fairfax Academy for musical theater. “The actors have just blown me away,” said Director Mike Hudson. “We had a preaudition last May, and we had no idea we’d get this level of talent. About half the kids are choral students, but we’re also blessed with theater students who can sing.”

Open Houses, Exhibits during Festival

Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, 10209 Main St., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., This building was constructed in 1873 with bricks made at the Farr property across Main Street. The oldest brick, two-story, school building remaining in Fairfax cost just $2,750 to build. Stop in for chocolate treats while learning about the City’s colorful history; free admission.

‘It’ll Be Another Challenging Year’ in Fairfax County

Frey discusses the state of the Sully District.

Money — and the lack of enough of it to do everything needing to be done — is at the heart of Fairfax County’s problems. And Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) doesn’t expect the situation to change anytime soon.

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Computers, Radios, Vehicles, Firearms Center Renovation

Pardiny makes his pitch for budget funds.

Everyone wants a piece of the City of Fairfax budget pie, including the Police Department. Below are some of the items its leader requested during a Dec. 2 joint work session of the City Council and Planning Commission. The first thing on Police Chief Carl Pardiny’s FY 2016 CIP list was money for information technology. “We’re replacing the department’s 22 servers and office computers, plus the mobile laptops used by the officers in their cruisers,” he said.

Bleachers, HVACs, Tile, Paving, Walls and Roofs

Noonan explains the City schools’ needs.

At the recent, joint meeting of the Fairfax City Council and Planning Commission, Schools Superintendent Peter Noonan detailed the City Schools’ five-year CIP. “We have outstanding students and teachers and world-class facilities,” he said. Yet several needs still exist, including the following:

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Claudette Ward of Centreville: 80 Years Young

Family, friends celebrate her birthday on Sunday.

More than 100 family members and friends gathered Sunday afternoon, Jan. 18, in Centreville United Methodist Church’s fellowship hall to celebrate Claudette Ward’s 80th birthday.

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Chantilly: Otal Named Elementary School Counselor of the Year

Brookfield’s Otal Honored

Brookfield Elementary counselor Carole Zendle wanted to nominate Kathleen Otal, the previous school year, for the FCPS Elementary School Counselor of the Year. But, saying she doesn’t do her job for recognition, Otal wouldn’t let her. This school year, though, Otal — also at Brookfield — relented. Zendle nominated her and Otal won.

Phony Stamps in Fairfax: Two Years Probation

A local businessman has been sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in restitution to the U.S. Postal Service. He is Brian Kim, 38, of Fairfax.

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