Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpDid you know there is a parking lot over I-66 inside the Beltway? No, it’s not on I-66; Arlington’s Washington-Lee High School parking lot straddles multiple lanes of the interstate, and that was the location of Monday’s announcement, by Governor Terry McAuliffe, of tolling infrastructure that will begin construction this summer. When completed in 2018, the tolling gantries will be a first step in the governor’s goal of making travel easier for everyone who uses the corridor. Some of the toll revenues will fund a new weekday, peak-period, Fairfax Connector express bus service between the Fairfax County Government Center park-and-ride facility and the State Department/Foggy Bottom neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Ten new bus trips in the morning and evening peak periods will serve nearly 300 riders, taking more single occupancy vehicles off the road.

The Democratic and Republican National Conventions are over, but the need for election officials in Fairfax County is never-ending. Fairfax County has 243 voting precincts that must be open and operable on November 8, this year’s Election Day. The November ballot will be a lengthy one – with voting for President (actually voting for the electors who cast ballots as the Electoral College), Members of Congress, local bond referenda, two state ballot questions, and the meals tax question for Fairfax County voters. A presidential election year always draws more voters, so having enough volunteers trained as election officials is critical to ensuring that the election process is swift, easy, and error-free for voters.

Election officers must be registered voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia (residency in Fairfax County is not required), and complete required forms and training. Training, for both new and experienced election officers, will be offered at various county locations in coming weeks. Bilingual citizens are encouraged to serve, as language assistance is needed at many precincts. Serving as an election officer is an excellent way to be a civic volunteer, but election officers also are offered a stipend of $175 for serving a full day (polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., but officers must be available well before, and after, the polling hours). Visit the Office of Elections Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/working.htm, or call 703-324-4735, for more information.

Discovery last week that several Florida residents, who had not traveled outside of the United States, were infected with ZIKA virus, has heightened concerns about mosquito-borne viruses. The Fairfax County Health Department provides tips and guidance about ZIKA, West Nile virus, and other illnesses, on its website, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fightthebite. Mosquitos can breed in as little as a capful of water, so be sure to check your yard and premises to “tip and toss” flower pot saucers, buckets, old tires, tarps, toys, and other familiar yard items that may trap water and invite mosquitos. It takes only a few minutes per week to ensure that you are not “growing” mosquitos along with your flowers and veggies.

The county health department also has designed a captivating 16-month calendar (July 2016 – December 2017) with lots of tips about preventing mosquitos, ticks, cockroaches, and other unwelcome pests from making their home in your home. Kids will enjoy it, too. You can stop by my office (6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale) for your free copy while supplies last.


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.