Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Voters are turning out in force to vote early at satellite polling locations across Fairfax County. Although media reports expressed concern about voter apathy in Virginia following last year’s record-breaking turnout for the presidential election, veteran elections observers were surprised by the onslaught of early voters last week. Lines were long, but the lovely autumn weather kept spirits positive during the wait. Early in-person voting continues this week at all satellite locations: weekdays 12 noon until 7 p.m.; Saturday, October 30, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you have not voted early, you should go to your regular polling place on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., to cast your ballot. Bring a current and valid photo identification, or other acceptable identification, with you to the polling place.


Yard waste collection, or lack of same, in Fairfax County Sanitary Service Districts, continues to lag. The county has hired outside contractors to catch up the collections, but it may be a few more weeks before collections are caught up fully. Residents in the service districts are reminded to leave their yard waste bags and rigid containers at the curb until picked up, which might not be on your regular collection day. The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services anticipates that vacuum leaf collection will be minimally affected as the warm fall days, fortunately, are delaying leaf drop.


More than two dozen walkers, children, and pets stepped off last Sunday to explore the proposed Annandale Greenway, which winds for about four miles from Green Spring Garden in Lincolnia, all the way through Annandale to Hidden Oaks Nature Center and Annandale Community Park. The Greenway uses existing park trails and public sidewalks, generally flat and easy to traverse, but not fully ADA-accessible, for most of the route. At some points, though, the Greenway seems to fade away, which is why easements and wayfinding signs may be needed to make the Greenway a vital part of connecting neighborhoods. “Connecting the Dot” puzzles are easy for children; reality makes connecting the dots more challenging, which is why a joint meeting between public agencies and Greenway volunteers will be scheduled soon. Using what is already on the ground (the built environment) is an efficient method to provide additional passive recreational opportunities for residents. Little River Turnpike was one of the first toll roads in our area more than two centuries ago; the Annandale Greenway parallels some of that first toll road, but it will be free!

The long-awaited opening of the Jefferson Fire Station, also known as Station 18, south of Arlington Blvd and east of Graham Road, will be celebrated on Saturday, October 30. The short ceremony, abbreviated by Covid-19 protocols, will feature Fairfax County Fire Chief John Butler and Fire and Rescue staff. Completion of the new station, which replaced a decades-old building on the same parcel, was plagued with pandemic and contractor-related issues. The new apparatus bays permit fire engines to enter from the rear and pull-through. No more backing up into narrow bays that snagged side mirrors, often a test for rookie firefighters assigned to the station! The new station will have separate accommodations for male and female staff, as well as new kitchen and dayroom facilities. Fairfax County fire stations are staffed and on alert 24/7/365, so the new facility is a welcome change from both the old station and the temporary station on South Street. The South Street location will be used by Station 28, Fort Buffalo, during its forthcoming renovation.

Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]