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Victoria Ross

Stories by Victoria

‘Horrible and Senseless’ Tragedy

Four area residents killed in Navy Yard rampage.

Decorated U.S. Navy Commander Martin Bodrog’s life was cut short when 34-year-old Aaron Alexis opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, Sept. 16, killing Bodrog and 11 others. He was remembered in a moving Celebration of Life service at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield on Saturday, Sept. 21 attended by more than 1,300 friends and family.

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Navy Yard Shootings Hit Close to Home

Four Fairfax County victims killed in Washington Navy Yard rampage.

“Marty was a kind and caring man. He had such a sweet spirit and was in every way a man that lived his life to honor Christ.” —Pastor Steve Holley of Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield

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Local Business Leaders Spotlight Opportunities for UK Companies

Fairfax County EDA organizes Sept. 26 seminar in London.

Fairfax County’s Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) officials announced Tuesday, Sept. 17, that local executives will speak at a London seminar to spotlight opportunities for British companies interested in homeland security business opportunities in the United States.

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A New Beginning for Fairfax County Public Libraries?

Library trustees vote to discard beta plan in favor of more public outreach sessions.

On Wall Street, a “beta” test refers to assessing the risk, volatility and expected return of a particular portfolio. If Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) officials had a crystal ball to assess the volatility of its planned beta tests this fall, it’s likely they may have steered clear of the project that became a quagmire of epic proportions.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

County suspends discarding of library books.

Just when Sam Clay, Fairfax County’s Public Library director, thought FCPL’s public image couldn’t get any worse, Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence) released photos of bins filled to the brim with discarded library books.

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A Family Affair

Generations of neighbors gather to celebrate the 51st annual Dunn-Loring Woods block party.

“We try to come back every year. This was a great place to grow up and just be a kid. It still is.” —Michael O’Roarke, who brought his wife Joan and son Lan to Saturday’s 51st annual Dunn-Loring Woods block party.

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Saluting Soldiers

12th annual Springfield BridgeWalk celebrates and affirms community support of Fort Belvoir’s soldiers.

For just a few minutes every year, the hum of constant traffic halts on Veteran’s Bridge in downtown Springfield as the Ft. Belvoir Fife and Drum Corps leads a contingent of soldiers, civic leaders and community participants across the bridge during the annual Springfield Bridge Walk.

Saving Jobs in Hard Times

Virginia lawmakers will push work sharing legislation this session.

“Having been through the recession and recent slight increases in Virginia unemployment rates as federal sequestration takes effect, it is important that we give Virginia businesses all the tools we can to help them and their employees get through challenging times. This bill does that.” —State Sen. George Barker (D-39)

Insiders’ Tips: Things to Know About Lee District

Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee District) offered the following Insiders’ Tips on his district.

Where to Find ‘Mayor Scott’ Burgers

City of Fairfax Mayor Scott Silverthorne gives “insider tips” to newcomers.

Q: Being mayor of the City of Fairfax has to be the ultimate “insider” position. What tips do you have for someone new to the city? A: Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! The best way to get to know your new community, and to get connected and engaged is to volunteer. There are so many boards, festivals and community associations in the city. I would suggest someone new to town check out our new website, which lists a number of great ways for newcomers to get involved.

State Senator Marsden Shares ‘Insider Tips’ With Newcomers

Where to find Del. David Bulova bartending (maybe), and feel free to call Senator Marsden.

The possibilities for getting involved in a new community are endless. Throw yourself a “welcome to the neighborhood party” by having your new neighbors over. Join a civic club, Lions, rotary, etc. Join a church, the PTA, or the political party committee of your choice. Just don’t sit there … get started today!

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Be a Braddock Insider

What every newcomer should know about living, working and playing in the Braddock District.

Braddock is very much a district of neighborhoods, a rarity in busy and booming Fairfax. Stretching from Annandale to the far edge of Fairfax by the Fairfax County Government Center, we are located in the center of Fairfax County. Braddock District contains key roads for the county such as Route 50, Route 29, Little River Turnpike, Braddock Road, the Fairfax County Parkway, Old Keene Mill, Rolling Road and 495. We are proud to have two institutes of higher learning, George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College, which attract students from all over the world. Here’s a short list of some must-do, must-see places, events and opportunities for newcomers (and old-timers) alike.

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Every Year Is Election Year in Virginia

Northern Virginia has most two-party races on ballot.

While the Virginia governor’s race is the one getting the most attention, both nationally and in the state, Virginia’s House of Delegates race is shaping up to be the most competitive in a decade. According to an official candidate list released last month by the Virginia State Board of Elections, 57 House seats will be contested this November — marking only the second time in the last decade where at least half of the 100 House seats will have more than one name on the ballot.

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What in the World Does a Supervisor Do, and Why Should We Care?

Local Government 101: Where the rubber meets the road.

We see them at just about every community event. They manage a budget larger than the budgets of four states, and rule over a county with a diverse, well-educated population of more than a million people. The 10 members of the Fairfax County Supervisors have an intense, time-consuming, insanely detailed job, one that comes with enormous power and even more responsibilities. They impact our lives in large and small ways, allocating money and resources in ways that can propel our community forward—or cost us our first-rate status in education, livability and culture. Yet most of us, media included, are so focused on politics at the state and national level that we overlook the decision-makers in our own backyard.

Obsessed With Politics? Fairfax County Welcomes You!

What newcomers need to know to be politically-savvy insiders.

Fairfax County may be physically separated from Washington, D.C.—the ground-zero of All Things Political—but residents here are a politically-savvy bunch. We know who Larry Sabato is—a prominent University of Virginia political analyst—and we pay attention to Not Larry Sabato—a Virginia politics blog by Ben Tribbett, a Fairfax County resident and self-described “vicious campaign insultant.” We follow our politicians on Twitter and Facebook.

Supervisors Give Us Their Best “Insider” Tips

Fairfax County has a fantastic park and library system, with tons of activities to enjoy. One of my personal favorites is the Cardboard Boat Regatta at Lake Accotink Park every summer.

More Than a Pink Cadillac

Springfield woman earns third Mary Kay car for outstanding business performance.

Mention Mary Kay cosmetics, and most people think of the company’s iconic pink Cadillac. For decades, the storied beauty company has offered the use of the pearl pink car as an incentive for sales force members to up their achievement level.

Seven Schools to Implement Back-to-School Soda Ban

FCPS conducts pilot program banning sugary sodas in seven high schools.

Healthy eating habits begin early, and in an effort to curb consumption of sugary drinks by students, Fairfax County Public Schools will be conducting a pilot program in September that will ban sugary soda drinks in seven of its 25 high schools.

Fairfax Republicans Nominate Bryan ‘BA’ Wolfe for Sheriff

Wolfe faces Democratic nominee Stacey Kincaid in Nov. 5 special election.

When retired Fairfax police officer Bryan “BA” Wolfe was selected as the Republican nominee for Fairfax County Sheriff last week, he vowed to “restore the public trust” by making the 500-member department more “accountable and transparent.”

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Preserving History’s Jewels

Fairfax County considers new “resident curator” program to save historic properties.

“A successful resident curator program would allow the county to restore, maintain and protect important historic properties at little or no cost to the public.” —Cindy Walsh, Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resource Management Division director

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Fairfax County Public Libraries: Version 2.0?

Staff, volunteers urge supervisors to reconsider “disastrous” library reorganization plan that cuts staff and services.

In a world where the Internet has replaced newsprint, e-books have supplanted paperbacks and the latest films stream directly to laptops, how do public libraries compete?

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City of Fairfax Remembers Geraldine ‘Gerry’ Estep Sherwood

Avid arts supporter, community center visionary, died Aug. 5.

Geraldine Estep Sherwood, a longtime city resident and avid supporter of the arts, died Aug. 5 in Fairfax, leaving a legacy as the visionary behind the Stacy C. Sherwood Center. Mrs. Sherwood donated $5 million for the construction of the state-of-the-art facility. Opened in 2011, the center was named in honor of her husband, who served as a member of the Town of Fairfax Council (1956-60) and City of Fairfax City Council (1960-64) and who died in 2002.

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National Night Out Celebrated in Lorton Park

Lorton Community Action Center partners with Lorton Library and South County Cares to host family celebration.

Hundreds of families gathered in Lorton Park last week for a night of music, games, picnics and more in recognition of the 30th annual National Night Out celebration. “The overcast skies did not deter the enthusiasm of children and adults who created pipe cleaner critters, played games, enjoyed free hot dogs and snow cones, shared their artistic talent through sidewalk chalk, and enjoyed a live music performance by the Amazing Gospel Souls,” said Linda Patterson, executive director of the Lorton Community Action Center (LCAC), which co-hosted the 2nd NNO celebration at Lorton Park along with the Lorton Library, Friends of the Lorton Library and South County Cares.

Cops on the Block

Fairfax County Police join hundreds of neighbors at National Night Out events.

“Is that a real gun?” His eyes wide with excitement, 7-year-old Mauro Vargas ran up to Officer Ron Manzo the minute he spotted the blue uniform at the Ravensworth Baptist Church in Springfield on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

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VA Adopts: Campaign for 1,000

Governor McDonnell promotes adoption, foster care during Fairfax County tour.

The atmosphere was festive as more than 100 people—including adoptive parents, children and state and local officials—gathered in the Fairfax County Government Center atrium Tuesday, July 30 to welcome Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) during the statewide tour to promote his “Virginia Adopts: Campaign for 1,000” initiative.

Unlocking the Door to Affordable Housing

County considers establishment of residential studio option to assist with housing affordability.

Like most areas that have seen explosive growth in the past 30 years, Fairfax County’s stock of affordable housing has dwindled as it’s grown into one of the nation’s wealthiest counties.

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Petersen Plays FDR in ‘Annie’

City of Fairfax Theatre Company produces “Annie,” the popular “rags-to-riches” Broadway musical, with surprising ties to Fairfax County.

Lanier Middle School was packed this weekend as nearly 400 people turned out to see local families, a state senator—and even a mayor—in The City of Fairfax Theatre Company’s production and performance of “Annie.”

Roessler Named County Police Chief

New police chief vows focus on diversity.

Edwin C. Roessler, named Fairfax County's police chief at Tuesday's Board of Supervisor's meeting, promised to launch a Diversity Council in an effort to recruit, promote and respond to Fairfax County's increasingly diverse community.

Unlocking the Door to Affordable Housing

County considers establishment of residential studio option to assist with housing affordability.

Like most areas that have seen explosive growth in the past 30 years, Fairfax County’s stock of affordable housing has dwindled as it’s grown into one of the nation’s wealthiest counties.

Fairfax County Animal Shelter Temporarily Suspends Intake of Dogs

Canine influenza suspected culprit after dozen dogs become ill.

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter has temporarily suspended its intake of dogs, after one dog died of pneumonia and about a dozen more dogs have exhibited symptoms of an unspecified upper respiratory illness.

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TB Investigation Expands at Lee High School

Health officials say “no reason to restrict activities.”

On Monday, Fairfax County Health Department officials announced they are expanding the tuberculosis (TB) investigation at Robert E. Lee High School, in the wake of reports that as many as 430 students and faculty could have been exposed to the disease.

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New Buses Join Springfield Service

Local and state officials gathered on the penthouse terrace at Metro Park in Alexandria last week to announce the addition of six new state-of-the-art buses to the Springfield Circulator Service.

Kincaid Wins Democratic Nomination for Sheriff

Kincaid promises to push for pay parity and reach out to diverse community.

Stacey Kincaid, a 26-year veteran with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department and self-proclaimed “rookie politician,” handily won the Democratic nomination for sheriff during a special election Tuesday night, July 23 at W.T. Woodson High School. The final vote was 605 to 315 votes, according to Democratic officials who counted each ballot by hand.

Unlocking the Door to Affordable Housing

County considers establishment of residential studio option to assist with housing affordability.

Like most areas that have seen explosive growth in the past 30 years, Fairfax County’s stock of affordable housing has dwindled as it’s grown into one of the nation’s wealthiest counties.

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Making Sure Children Don't Go Hungry

Our Daily Bread provides meals for children during summer break.

For most children, summer means the end of homework and tests, and the beginning of cookouts and carefree summer vacations.

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Mapping it Out

City of Fairfax gets strategic about future of parks and recreation.

On a summer Sunday afternoon, several people huddle over a giant digital map of Van Dyck Park spread out across tables at the Sherwood Community Center, musing about future amenities at the City of Fairfax’s oldest and largest park, located just across the street.

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Celebrating Community Spirit

Always civic-minded, Burke resident Diane DiPietro gladly volunteered to be a board member of the Kings West Swim Club, a popular community gathering place in the Kings Park West subdivision.

Virginia Voters Get More Choices in 2013

Northern Virginia has most two-party races on ballot.

While the Virginia governor’s race is the one getting the most attention, both nationally and in the state, Virginia’s House of Delegates race is shaping up to be the most competitive in a decade.

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Virginia Voters Get More Choices in 2013

Northern Virginia has most two-party races on ballot.

While the Virginia governor’s race is the one getting the most attention, both nationally and in the state, Virginia’s House of Delegates race is shaping up to be the most competitive in a decade.

Headed to the Beach This Weekend? Find Alternate Route to I-95 South

VDOT shuts down I-95 South for bridge work at Dumfries Road; detours to Route 1.

Motorists heading to Virginia Beach this weekend—or any southern destination on I-95—often take the beltway in the middle of the night to avoid traffic delays and other traffic headaches.

Giving a Local Voice to the Civil Rights Act

Congressman Gerry Connolly embarks on yearlong history project to mark 50th anniversary of Civil Rights Act; seeks personal stories and testimonials.

Next year, the nation will mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act. Last week, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11) announced he is embarking on a yearlong living history project to gather testimonials and stories from local residents about the civil rights movement and preserve them for posterity.

Petersen to Governor: Explain, Deny, Return or Resign

Petersen first Virginia legislator to suggest McDonnell resign over alleged wrongdoing in accepting gifts from prominent donor.

The tipping point for state Sen. J. Chap Petersen (D-34) was the $6,500 Rolex watch.

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Let the Sparks Fly

So. It’s July 4, 2013. Independence Day. A federal holiday celebrating our freedom from Great Britain. The National Day of the United States.

Fourth of July Trivia

Information provided by Smithsonian Children’s Magazine press releases. For more trivia, go to newsdesk.si.edu. Joke courtesy of Elle Ross, 7, of Vienna.

Let the Sparks Fly in Reston and Herndon

It’s not too late to enjoy local 4th of July festivals, parades and fireworks.

So. It’s July 4, 2013. Independence Day. A federal holiday celebrating our freedom from Great Britain. The National Day of the United States. And you have nothing planned.

When a Bill Becomes a Law

On July 1, sales taxes go up for Fairfax County residents.

“We needed to at least make it clear that you risk a reckless driving offense if you text and drive.” —Del. David Bulova (D-37)

Let the Sparks Fly in the County

It’s not too late to enjoy local 4th of July festivals, parades and fireworks.

So. It’s July 4, 2013. Independence Day. A federal holiday celebrating our freedom from Great Britain. The National Day of the United States. And you have nothing planned.

Fourth of July Fun Facts

Information provided by Smithsonian Children’s Magazine press releases. For more trivia, go to newsdesk.si.edu. Joke courtesy of Elle Ross, 7, of Vienna.

Let the Sparks Fly

It’s not too late to enjoy local 4th of July festivals, parades and fireworks.

So. It’s July 4, 2013. Independence Day. A federal holiday celebrating our freedom from Great Britain. The National Day of the United States. And you have nothing planned.

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Housing's Roaring Rebound?

In February, Patricia Stack, a broker with Weichert Realtors, held an open house for a single-family home for sale in Vienna just listed for $739,000. Within three hours, more than 70 people toured the home.