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Bonnie Hobbs

Stories by Bonnie

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Getting Dirty for a Good Cause

Staff and volunteers plant native grasses along Big Rocky Run.

Wearing sturdy boots and wielding shovels and wheelbarrows, some two dozen people recently left their comfortable offices to dig in the soil at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. When they were done, a variety of native grasses had been planted to beautify the Big Rocky Run stream valley and help stabilize the banks there. Participating were staff members and volunteers from Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES), Stormwater; Park Authority; and the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD).

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Fairfax One: ‘Ambulance in the Air’

A close-up look at Fairfax County’s police helicopter.

Members of the Sully District Police Station’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) recently toured Fairfax County’s heliport, got to speak with a pilot and saw the Fairfax One helicopter up close. It’s a twin-engine, Bell 429 and does both police and medivac missions for the county. And one of its pilots, PFC Nick Taormina, is a paramedic as well as a police officer.

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City of Fairfax Seeks Public Input to Improve Old Lee Highway

To the City of Fairfax, Old Lee Highway is a critically important road leading residents to homes, schools, businesses, shopping, the police station, Sherwood Community Center and Van Dyke Park. But believing it can be improved, the City applied for and received a grant for technical assistance to help determine what should be done there.

Chantilly Police Commander: ‘Everyone Is Here to Help’

Lt. Todd Kinkead heads the station’s Criminal Investigations Section.

Basically, the officers of the Sully District Police Station are successful at what they do and things should only get better from here. That was the message presented during February’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting.

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Chantilly: ‘State of the Station’ Meeting Reviews Statistics

Residents receive statistics and information at “State of the Station” meeting.

Residents at a recent meeting of the Sully District Police Station and its Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) learned about crime and policing efforts in the Sully District. They also received information about last year’s crime trends and the ways local police here are serving the community.

Centreville Students Shine at Science Fair

Projects included music, sports, energy, hearing and plant growth.

At Centreville High’s recent Science Fair, students displayed their projects in the school cafeteria for judging; below are details about a few of them.

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Insight Memory Care Center Celebrates New, Larger Building in Fairfax

It was raining outside, but warm and cheerful inside, when dignitaries gathered March 4 to cut the ribbon celebrating Insight Memory Care Center’s new home.

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Fairfax High Band Students Shine

Fairfax High band members made their school proud at the recent, All-District Band auditions, March 6, at West Springfield High. Fairfax had the most students selected of any high school in the district. Some 36 FHS band students were chosen and another nine were named alternates.

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Fairfax Man’s Relative Who Died in 1863 Is Reburied

James Davis died in 1863, but he was just buried last Monday in the Oakton Baptist Church Cemetery in Chantilly.

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Chantilly: ‘I’m Just Thrilled To Be Here’

Blakley takes helm at Sully District Police Station.

Right from the start, Bob Blakley planned to become a police officer. Born in Clearwater, Fla., he joined the Police Explorers in 10th grade. And when his family moved to Georgia the next year, he started an Explorer post there. “People say it’s a calling,” said Blakley. “I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

New Commander Stresses Community Relations

As the new commander of the Sully District Police Station, Capt. Bob Blakley has big plans.

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Tour The County Animal Shelter

Making the most of its expanded facility.

Members of the Sully District Police Station’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) got to tour Fairfax County’s Animal Shelter last Tuesday, March 11. They were divided into four groups and each learned about the shelter from a guide.

Fairfax City Manager Presents Proposed New Budget

Would raise tax rates, fund employee merit raises.

The thing to remember about the proposed City of Fairfax budget for FY 2016 is that it’s still a work in progress. City Manager Bob Sisson presented it last Tuesday, March 3, to the City Council, but there will be work sessions and public hearings before it’s finally adopted on April 29.

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Hail to the Champions

Chantilly High wins VHSL One-Act State Competition.

Long known for its outstanding theater program, Chantilly High just added another award to its collection. On Saturday, March 7, the theater students became state champions, winning the VHSL One-Act State Competition.

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United at Last With Family

Man who died in 1863 is reburied in Chantilly cemetery.

James Davis died in 1863, but he was just buried Monday in the Oakton Baptist Church Cemetery in Chantilly.

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Guilty or Innocent? What’s the Truth?

City of Fairfax Theatre Company presents ‘Doubt: A Parable.’

Uncertainty about whether a priest committed a crime is at the heart of “Doubt: A Parable,” the upcoming play by the City of Fairfax Theatre Company.

Kamp Washington Triangle Redevelopment Approved for City of Fairfax

Residential/retail project will include 24 affordable units.

It is not a perfect project and not everyone got what they wanted. But it will be a vast improvement over what’s there now, and it includes some much-needed affordable housing.

Day of Celebration: Homeless No More in Fairfax

The first residents move into Kate’s Place.

Kate’s Place consists of six apartments for extremely low-income and formerly homeless families. And to the mothers and children who just moved in, the homes are more than a roof over their heads — they’re a lifeline.

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Oak Knolls Project Makes Big Changes in Fairfax

New proposal swaps apartments for condos.

There’s a plan afoot to redevelop the Oak Knolls Apartments. But the proposal has changed significantly since it was presented last spring to the Fairfax City Council.

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Big Changes Planned for Lotte Market in Fairfax

New façade, better parking, less big trucks and traffic.

For many years, the Lotte market in Fairfax has been a popular grocery store, especially with its Asian customers. But its exterior has been an eyesore to the public.

Team Members Teach Children with Autism

Besides participating in robotics competitions, team Robowiz also did community outreach via the START (Spreading Technology And Robotics Together) program. It partnered with the Autism Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) to encourage children with autism to develop an interest in robotics.

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‘You Start with a Box of Metal’

Local robotics team heads to two state championships.

It’s a big deal when a team, academic or athletic, reaches the state championships. But it’s even more impressive when that team does it in two, different states. Meet team Robowiz – 10 local students who’ve reached that level in both Virginia and Maryland. The eight boys and two girls live in Centreville, Chantilly and Fairfax and are in grades eight through 10.

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‘The Sidewalk Will Increase Safety’

City Council Votes to Improve Section of Roberts Road in Fairfax

Pending receipt of the necessary funds, the west side of Roberts Road in Fairfax – between Main Street and Sager Avenue – will be getting a new sidewalk, curb and gutter. The Fairfax City Council approved this action at its Jan. 13 meeting. Not all the residents are happy about it and not all the Council members are in agreement. But in the end, it’s believed that the project will make the city more walkable and this portion of Roberts Road safer.

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Thousands Throng to City of Fairfax

Annual Chocolate Lovers Festival was Feb. 7-8.

Meals for Young Minds

The Chocolate Lovers Festival Committee is again supporting the Fairfax Kiwanis Meals for Young Minds Program with multiple, food drop-off locations during the festival. This program provides meals to local, elementary-school students who don’t have food to eat on the weekends.

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Chocolate Cookbook and Valentine

It’s always fun to bring home souvenirs from the Chocolate Festival, and two of them are the official, Chocolate Lovers Festival Cookbook and the annual, commemorative Valentine.

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‘It’s Such a Good Fit’

Naomi Project joins Our Daily Bread to help struggling mothers.

For the past 19 years, the nonprofit Naomi Project of Northern Virginia has worked with high-risk, pregnant women and new mothers to help them have healthy pregnancies and babies. It’s now become a program of the nonprofit Our Daily Bread (ODB) and, on Jan. 22, the two groups celebrated their union. “It’s a natural offshoot of what we’re already doing with moms,” said ODB spokeswoman Heather Webb. “This is another way that we can help them build families and get on a better financial footing.”

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Pancakes, Candy, Fudge, Ice Cream and More

Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival is Feb. 7-8.

Get your sweet tooth ready – the 23rd annual City of Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival is this weekend, Feb. 7-8. Featuring delicious, chocolate fun for both children and adults, the event includes a Taste of Chocolate, a Chocolate Challenge, musical performances, a chocolate movie – “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” – fairy tales, a fire-safety puppet show, face-painting, a Chocolate Caper mock trial, cupcake-decorating, magic, juggling and open houses in historic buildings.

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Fairfax’s Annual Chocolate Lovers Festival 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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Equipment Replacement and ADA-Compliancy

Parks and Recreation and Historic Resources offer CIP proposals.

With an eye on the upcoming City of Fairfax budget decisions, various department heads recently presently their FY 2016 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) wish lists to a joint work session of the City Council and Planning Commission.

Fire Department Presents Planned Capital Projects

They include fire station, training-center needs, plus traffic preemption.

During a Dec. 2 joint work session of the Fairfax City Council and Planning Commission, Fire Chief Dave Rohr presented his department’s proposed FY 2016 CIP (Capital Improvement Program). He said the funds are needed for three projects.

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Sully District Supervisor Michael Frey Not Running for Reelection

‘You reach a time where change is appropriate.’

After giving his State of Sully address Monday night, Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) said his next words almost matter-of-factly. “Regarding the upcoming elections in November, I will not be seeking reelection,” he said. “You reach a time where change is appropriate, and that time has come for me.”

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Was Downtown Traffic Switch Successful?

City Council hears results of professional study.

To create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown area, in August 2006, the City of Fairfax reconfigured Main and North Streets from one-way to two-way. Now, though, the City Council wants to know whether it was a good decision or if it’s been detrimental to the Old Town area.

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Christmas Comes to the Hanley Shelter

Police officers from the Fair Oaks District Station, plus students from Chantilly and Centreville high schools, helped bring Christmas to the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. On Dec. 19, they brought new, unwrapped toys to the Fairfax shelter, which serves mothers and young children.

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Fairfax Academy Students Create Own Horror Films

All three levels of the Professional Television Production classes at the Fairfax Academy recently presented original horror films they created based on only two sentences given to them by their teacher, Matthew Balthrop, a new addition this year to the Fairfax Academy family.

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Four Plays to Offer Drama and Comedy

Fairfax High presents Winter One-Act Festival.

Both comedy and drama will take the stage when Fairfax High presents its student-directed, Winter One-Act Festival. The curtain rises Thursday-Friday, Jan. 8-9, at 7:30 p.m. Four plays are offered; tickets are $5 at the door.

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‘Children Are Going to Love These Books’

Scout donates original works to Hanley Shelter.

Eagle Scout projects are all about helping people, and Garrett Anderson’s project certainly fits the bill. Thanks to his efforts, children staying at the Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter now have 11 new and original books to read and enjoy.

Centreville Man Charged with Murder

Three days after a Centreville man was killed in his home in the Meadows community, Fairfax County police have charged one of his roommates with his murder.

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Protecting Dogs in the City of Fairfax

City Council passes one-hour maximum tethering ordinance.

When the Fairfax City Council last week passed one of the most stringent tethering laws in the state, it pleased many residents and animal advocates. “It’s the culmination of a year’s worth of work,” said Fairfax resident Tim Parmly, who directs an equine-welfare group. “It’s an ordinance much-needed to protect the dogs in this City.”

It’s Four Lanes All the Way from Chantilly to Centreville

Newly widened Stringfellow Road opens to traffic.

It’s been a long time coming but, on Monday, Dec. 15, Stringfellow Road became four lanes all the way from Route 50 in Chantilly to Route 29 in Centreville. And the newly widened section opened to drivers six months ahead of schedule.

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ONC Volunteers Make Like Santa’s Elves in Centreville

Volunteers with Our Neighbor’s Child gathered up and packaged Christmas gifts, Dec. 11, for nearly 800 local families.

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