News Briefs: February 23rd – March 1st

F.C. Mayor’s ‘Fitness Challenge’ Commences March 18 

The public is invited to compete in the third annual Mayors’ Fitness Challenge that commences March 18 and runs to May 13. Registration on the City of Falls Church website is required, and all who register compete by submitting the number of minutes exercising each week (with any physical exercising counting).

No fee is required, but for those who give $5 a Fitness Challenge shirt is provided.

F.C. Mayor David Tarter will spearhead the effort in F.C., which is competing against the City of Fairfax (which won last year) and the Town of Vienna. A celebratory reception will be held at the conclusion of the challenge to announce this year’s winner.

Meridian Students Score ‘Book Awards’ at D.C. Model U.N.

Henry Behr and Amity Pratt won the Book Award for their work as the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the Pacific Island Cooperation Summit component of Georgetown University’s 60th annual North American Invitational Model United Nations event in D.C. last weekend. Sixteen members of the Meridian High Model U.N. Club participated.

The event draws over 3,000 high school students globally. Resolutions drafted and passed included ones addressing global warming and the impact of private military contractors on international security. 

Sen. Warner Renews Push for Alzheimer’s Project Act

Mark Warner announced this week that he is teaming with Susan Collins to renew the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, through 2035.

In a joint interview on Monday from the Capitol, the senators held up photos of their parents — Collins lost her father, Don, to Alzheimer’s, in 2018, and Warner lost his mother, Marjorie, to the disease, in 2010 — and described the heavy toll Alzheimer’s takes on caregivers.

Metro Opens Public Comment Period on Proposed New Services

The WMATA has opened the public comment period for the proposed Fiscal Year 2024  budget that seeks to expand service on Metrorail and Metrobus, provide more equitable fares, implement a low-income fare program, enhance public safety, and maintain a safe and reliable system through capital investments.

The community is encouraged to provide feedback on the $4.8 billion capital and operating budget proposal that focuses on creating the improved service and customer experience on Metro throughout the region. The funding will modernize transportation and infrastructure for the future and deliver services that support and grow ridership.

Oak Street Bridge Work Begins With Detours

Long overdue work on the Oak Street bridge near the Oak Street Elementary began this week, with resulting rerouting and detouring of traffic that will remain in effect until the end of 2023, the F.C. School Board was informed at its meeting Tuesday.

Walkways to the school remain open as the bridge undergoes its first upgrades since 1953.

All-Affordable High-Rise Moves Ahead in Tysons

An all-affordable residential high-rise project of two 21-story buildings adjacent to the Tysons Dominion Square West Metro site is moving forward. At its meeting this week, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously OKd the project, which will replace parking lots currently used by auto dealerships with two 21-story buildings with 516 apartments and a 33,500 square foot two-level community center.

Fairfax Reports Rise in Opioid Overdose Cases

After declining between 2017 and 2019, opioid overdose cases increased in the Fairfax Health District from 285 in 2019 to 366 in 2022, including 63 fatalities, as of Sept. 30 last year according to the county’s data dashboard.

The department updated the dashboard last week to better illustrate the presence of fentanyl in nearly all overdose deaths and an increase in overdoses among youths, including children and teens.

The dashboard now lists people 17 and under as a distinct age group and provides data specifically on fatal overdoses involving fentanyl “to help Fairfax County residents better understand the threat that opioids, including fentanyl, pose in the community,” Director of Epidemiology and Population Health Dr. Benjamin Schwartz said.