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Mary Kimm

Stories by Mary

Editorial: Proof Every Vote Matters

Elections have consequences, including very close races.

Tuesday morning, a full week after an Election Day that included races that were more suspenseful than anticipated (and also many races that were foregone conclusions), we are probably more than a month away from certifying the winner of the Virginia Attorney General race.

Editorial: Be Part of Children’s Connection

Call for student artwork and writing; deadline Dec. 6.

During the last week of each year, The Connection devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children.

Editorial: Vote Nov. 5 or Before

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

For voters in Virginia, it is hard to overstate how important it is to go out and vote next week. All Virginia voters will see statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, plus one delegate race. In addition, there are a few local races in Alexandria and Arlington, a bond question in Fairfax County and a referendum question about the housing authority in Arlington.

Editorial: Halloween Party Safety Net

Make plans for a safe celebration; SoberRide safety net for those over 21.

Halloween is now a major holiday for adults, especially young adults, and also one of the major holidays each year that involve partying with alcohol and the risks of drinking and driving.

Editorial: Don’t Let Negatives Keep You From Voting

Choices are stark; think about what principles should guide governance in Virginia for the next four years.

Every Virginia voter will have the option to cast a ballot for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and their member of the Virginia House of Delegates. While much of the coverage and advertising at the top of the ticket has been negative in the extreme, it will still matter who is governor. Don’t turn up your nose, hold your nose if necessary, and go vote. You can vote on Nov. 5; most likely you can vote before that.

Editorial: Get a Flu Shot, Register to Vote

Getting a flu shot has never been easier.

Editorial: Vote

It will matter who is elected governor.

To vote on Election Day, you must be registered at your current address no later than Oct. 15, 2013. You can check your registration status online by visiting the State Board of Elections website at www.sbe.virginia.gov. There you can also download a voter registration form and mail or fax it to your elections office address.

Editorial: Addressing Virginia’s Economy

Ending gridlock in Congress and supporting health care reform would be huge steps in supporting economic recovery in Virginia.

The strength of Virginia’s economy, especially Northern Virginia’s economy, comes significantly from federal spending. So while the governor and other elected officials claim that Virginia’s success is because Virginia is a low-tax state with fewer regulations, it’s worth considering that the sequester and continuing gridlock in Congress threaten Virginia’s most important resource, federal spending.

Editorial: Small Steps to Fight Homelessness

Efficiency apartments would serve 20-somethings, service workers, retirees and more.

One way to prevent homelessness is to think small. It doesn’t take much space to house one person. Sure, many houses in our area have 1,000 square feet and sometimes two or three times that much per person, but that’s really not necessary.

Editorial: Later Start Times for High School

It’s past time to act; let this year be the year.

Tuesday morning, Sept. 3, the first day of school in Fairfax County, Dr. Karen Garza began her official day at 6:30 a.m. at Chantilly High School. While Garza was making herself available for interviews before the first class started at 7:20 a.m., many students were already on the school bus.

Editorial: About the Connection

As your local, weekly newspaper, the Great Falls Connection’s mission is to bring the local news you need, to gather information about the best things in and near your community, to advocate for community good, to provide a forum for dialogue on local concerns, and to celebrate and record milestones and events in the community and people’s lives.

Editorial: Library Mission

Further cuts to library budget must be analyzed for impacts on needy families.

The current proposal to “streamline” services at Fairfax County Public Libraries comes on top of disproportionate, and some would say Draconian, cuts since 2009.

Editorial: On Federal Dollars in Virginia

State’s role as one of the biggest “takers.”

We received some emails and phone calls about the expansion of Medicaid in response to last week’s editorial.

Opinion: Issues That Matter

Mental health services discussion gives insight into real differences between candidates.

It came as somewhat of a relief to have the candidates for governor in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D), discuss an actual issue that matters to many Virginia families this week at a forum on mental health issues.

Opinion: Issues That Matter

Mental health services discussion gives insight into real differences between candidates.

It came as somewhat of a relief to have the candidates for governor in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D), discuss an actual issue that matters to many Virginia families this week at a forum on mental health issues.

Editorial: Enjoy Tax Holiday, Donate School Supplies

Good timing to help those in need.

It is debatable whether recurring tax holidays for different seasonal needs are good policy. But since this weekend is Virginia’s tax holiday on school supplies and clothing, it makes sense to take advantage of the savings, and to spread the wealth around. The savings are more significant this year with the new sales tax increases in effect as of July 1.

Editorial: Share Wisdom With Newcomers and Others

The Connection's Newcomers and Community Guide publishes in late August.

Our Insider's Edition Newcomers and Community Guides, will publish the last week of August. What tips do you have for someone getting to know your community? We're hoping to share the places, activities, events, organizations and volunteer opportunities your neighbors might not know about. What great places and activities do you want your new neighbors to know about? Events that should not be missed? Organizations that do a great job? Places to volunteer? Tips for navigating your PTA or your school’s front office? We'd love to have your photos to go along with your suggestions.

Editorial: Share Wisdom With Newcomers and Others

Almanac’s Newcomers and Community Guide publishes in late August.

Our Newcomers and Community Guides, Insider's Editions, will publish the last week of August. What tips do you have for someone getting to know your community? We're hoping to share the places, activities, events, organizations and volunteer opportunities your neighbors might not know about.

Editorial: More Than Disclosure Needed for Virginia

Time for limits on campaign contributions as well.

At least until after November’s election, most candidates in Virginia seem to think that there should be some reform to Virginia’s campaign finance and disclosure rules. At least it seems likely that most will support expanding disclosure rules to require disclosure of gifts to immediate family members as well as candidates/officials.

Editorial: HOT-Lanes and No Metro for I-66?

Did you miss the public discussion and input? So did we.

One day when I was stuck in traffic on I-66, I was briefly entertained by the license plate of the vehicle in front of me. "66 SUCKS," it read. No question, commuting on I-66 is a bear.

Editorial: Ready for Your Pet’s Close-up?

The Pet Connection, a bi-annual themed edition, will publish July 24. We invite you to send us stories about your pets, photos of you and/or your family with your cats, dogs, hamsters, snakes, lizards, frogs, rabbits, or whatever other creatures share your home or yard with you.

Whitman Music Celebrates 50 Years

180 alumni plus more than 400 in attendance to celebrate.

Only three. Walt Whitman High School, in 50 years, has had just three principals, just three instrumental music directors and just three choral directors.

Editorial: Talking, Acting To Keep Them Safe

Reducing drug- and alcohol-related fatalities.

The pages and covers of most of this week’s Connection Newspapers including the Gazette show the joy and accomplishment associated with high school graduation. The day celebrates graduates who accomplished much just by finishing, graduates headed to college and more.

Editorial: Talking, Acting To Keep Them Safe

Reducing drug- and alcohol-related fatalities.

Next week’s Arlington Connection will capture the joy and accomplishment associated with high school graduation. The day celebrates graduates who accomplished much just by finishing, graduates headed to college and more.

Editorial: Don’t Be Among the Missing

Last time Virginia elected a governor, 1.7 million voters failed to vote after voting the previous year.

In 2008, 74.5 percent of Virginia’s registered voters turned out to vote in the presidential election. In 2009, the last time Virginians elected a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and members of the House of Delegates, just 40.4 percent of registered voters came out to vote.

Editorial: Remembering on Memorial Day

The sacrifices of those who died in war.

1st Lt. Robert J. Hess, 26, of the Kings Park West neighborhood of Fairfax, was killed by enemy fire on April 23, 2013 in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan. Hess was known as “RJ” and graduated from Robinson Secondary School in 2005, where he played football, lacrosse and was the captain of the swim team. He was a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot who deployed to Afghanistan on April 11, 2013. His family remembers his sense of humor and his natural leadership ability.

Editorial: Vote in Spite of Election Fatigue

Primary voting, absentee voting, Republican convention.

Absentee voting, including “in-person” absentee voting, is already underway for the June 11 primary, a statewide Democratic party primary for lieutenant governor and attorney general, plus one delegate race in Northern Virginia. Voters in the Democratic primary will choose between Ralph S. Northam and Aneesh Chopra for lieutenant governor; and between Mark R. Herring and Justin E. Fairfax for attorney general.

Column: Vote in Spite of Election Fatigue

Primary voting, absentee voting, Republican convention

Absentee voting, including “in-person” absentee voting, is already underway for the June 11 primary, a statewide Democratic party primary for lieutenant governor and attorney general, plus one delegate race in Northern Virginia.

Editorial: Some Limits, More Disclosure

Virginia does not benefit from elected officials being awash in cash donations and gifts.

Virginia got a failing grade for vulnerability to corruption. Corruption in the commonwealth is probably not any more rampant than voter fraud, as we said last year. But in terms of practices that could undermine trust, Virginia has vast room for improvement.

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Editorial: Connection Guide to Parks Wins ‘Best in Show’

Investigative reporting, in depth coverage, education writing, photography, art, design, sports, garner Virginia Press Association honors.

The Connection Newspapers won dozens of awards from the Virginia Press Association, with winners announced on Saturday, April 20, in Norfolk.

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Editorial: Value-added Evaluation?

TJ admissions illustrate growing gap between “haves” and “have-nots.”

More than 181,000 students attend Fairfax County Public Schools. So why do the 480 students who were accepted for next year’s freshman class at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology seem so important? Fairfax County Public Schools have a single elite magnet school, Thomas Jefferson, and TJ is frequently referred to as the top high school in the country. Dramatic disparity in the makeup of admissions at TJ is an indicator of disparity in early identification of students as gifted and talented, of access to advanced classes and enrichment, and in the basic education that the Fairfax County Public school system offers to all of its students.

Editorial: Voting Again

Every year is election year in Virginia, and it’s a bit much.

The most hotly contested race for statewide office in Virginia, the Republican contest for lieutenant governor, will be decided at a statewide convention on May 18. That’s about a month from now.

Editorial: More Obstacles to Transparency

General Assembly puts more information out of public reach, but other factors also limit access.

The first paragraph of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, passed by the General Assembly in 1968, states that all public records "shall be presumed open." It doesn’t add, “except when we don’t want to,” although that provision does seem to be available in many cases. Individual government entities have a variety of ways of making it hard for the public to access public information.

Editorial: Say Yes to Health Coverage

Governor, state panel must accept coverage for 400,000 Virginians without health insurance.

More than 140,000 residents of Fairfax County have no health insurance. That’s more than 13 percent of the slightly more than 1 million people who live in the wealthiest county in the nation. Arlington and Alexandria have similar percentages of uninsured.

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WMCCA Salutes Brickyard Coalition’s Success

Future of Brickyard site still unclear.

After two years of civic activism, legal action on multiple fronts, political outreach, public education and fundraising through bake sales and barn dances, members of the Brickyard Coalition came to last week’s West Montgomery County Citizens Association to talk about their success.

Editorial: Hybrid Hijinks

Discouraging innovation in high-tech Virginia.

Consider this as a possible scenario (although perhaps we should have saved this for April 1): Fewer people are smoking, and many of those who do are smoking less. Virginia’s cigarette tax, the lowest of any state at 30 cents a pack, is a declining revenue source. Higher cigarette taxes are proven to reduce smoking. Under current logic in the commonwealth, there would be two courses of action to raise revenue: a) cut the cigarette tax, and b) charge non-smokers a fee to make up the difference and to compensate for the fact that they don’t pay cigarette taxes.

Editorial: On Transportation

Compromise, in the works, should include indexing the gas tax to inflation.

Virginia needs more options, not fewer, in developing revenue to pay for roads and transportation. Compromise on a plan to increase transportation revenue should not include making Virginia the only state in the nation without a gas tax. The current, ridiculously low gas tax should be indexed to inflation. The last thing the commonwealth needs is to do away with an existing, major source of money for roads.

Editorial: Extreme, But Brief, Volunteering

More than 150 volunteers needed to survey chronic homeless for three days in February.

The real solution to homelessness is housing. This week in Northern Virginia, a point-in-time survey will record all of the “literally homeless” individuals and families in the region. Last year, on Jan. 25, 2012, there were 1,534 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community; 697 of them were single individuals and 837 were people in families. A third of the total number of homeless were children. Nearly 60 percent of the adult members of the homeless families were employed.

Editorial: Expanding Medicaid Good for Virginia

Real health coverage for an additional 400,000 people is in reach.

Virginia has an opportunity to expand Medicaid in a way that could extend health coverage to more than 400,000 residents who currently have no health insurance while the Federal government picks up the tab; Virginia would pay 10 percent of the additional cost after 2020.

Editorial: Transportation Money

Eliminating the gas tax makes no sense.

Virginia, and especially Northern Virginia, is woefully short on funds for transportation. One reason is that its gas tax, a logical way to fund transportation infrastructure, is one of the lowest in the nation, and has remained flat since the ’80s, since it is not indexed for inflation. So the buying power of the gas tax has been dwindling.

Editorial: More Fodder for Comedy?

2013 session of the Virginia General Assembly will tackle serious issues.

The 2013 30-day session of the Virginia General Assembly begins on Wednesday, Jan. 9. We can only hope that the various legislative proposals do not provide as much fodder for comedy as last session. The Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia will offer live streaming video of the 2013 Legislative Sessions, and it is well worth tuning in once or twice.

Happy New Year, Keep in Touch

Reflecting and reinforcing the sense of community.

As local, weekly newspapers, the Connection’s mission is to bring the news you need about your community, to give you the information you need to enjoy the best things in and near your community, to advocate for community good, to call attention to unmet needs, to provide a forum for dialogue on local concerns, and to celebrate and record milestones and events in community and people’s lives. To succeed at any of that, we need your help.

Editorial: Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas

We are a nation of immigrants, to invoke the title of John F. Kennedy’s posthumously published book; undeniably a nation descended from immigrants and a nation greatly augmented by immigration. From this perspective, with the first immigrants motivated by the search for religious freedom, even Christmas is a religious holiday of immigrants.

Editorial: Holiday Revels With a Safety Net

A serious backup, but seriously, make a plan ahead of time.

You know the drill, the five-to-seven or six-to-eight drop-in happy hour, you've been invited to five of them, and you could attend an infinite number of these between now and the second day of 2013. And there are many other varieties of holiday festivities, many involving more than a drink or two. So make a plan.

Editorial: Learning in a Global Community

Students in Fairfax County speak 160 languages.

This week our ongoing series about immigration in Fairfax County takes a look at county schools, and some of the joys and challenges of having a diverse student body that speaks as many as 160 different languages at home.

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2012 People of the Year Honored

More than 80 people gathered at Normandie Farm restaurant in Potomac on Thursday, Nov. 15 to honor the 2012 People of the Year, as named by the Potomac Chamber of Commerce.

Editorial: Diversity Growing

Tune in to our series on immigration.

This week, the Connection kicks off a series about immigration, diversity and the growing population of foreign-born residents in Fairfax County. County reporter Victoria Ross opens with a story that captures vignettes and statistics of the changing population. It is a topic consistent with the original Thanksgiving story. More than 28 percent of Fairfax County's population is foreign born; that's 317,000 residents.

Editorial: Shop Locally, Give Locally

Small business Saturday isn't enough; don't wait until then, and don't stop after that.

An effort to support locally owned businesses has resulted in the recognition of Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year that is Nov. 24. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a day of national zeal for shopping. Presumably the next day shoppers can focus on local shopping.

Editorial: Feeling Important

Presidential campaigns traverse Northern Virginia on last days, mark the importance of every vote.

The images from the last weeks of the presidential Election of 2012 make it clear that it would be hard to overstate the importance of voting, especially in Virginia, especially in Northern Virginia.

Editorial: In Wake of Sandy, Still Plan to Vote

Variety of choices in political landscape.

Hurricane Sandy means that the week preceding the election will not be what we were expecting. This editorial is being written Sunday night, Oct. 28, as forecasters predict five inches of rain and 65-mile-per-hour winds over the next two days. With some predicting that power could take a week or more to restore, we have to worry about the likely condition of the Eastern seaboard will be on Election Day, Nov. 6. Absentee voting in person had been cancelled for Monday, and most government offices were closed in anticipation of the storm. What will this mean for voter turnout, for access to voting places on Election Day?