A rabid skunk was found on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail on Saturday, June 10, the Fairfax County Health Department confirmed today (Tuesday).
The skunk reportedly chased, sprayed and bit multiple hikers before it was found near Balmoral Terrace and Cannon Fort Drive in Clifton. Health officials advise that it may have had contact with other people or pets during the time that it was sick.
The skunk was described as an adult largely black animal with a large white stripe covering most of its back. It was reported several times between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. before it was captured by Animal Protection Police.
Rabies can infect wildlife — especially foxes, raccoons, skunk, bats and domestic animals. People get rabies when they are bitten or scratched by an animal infected by it.
To date, 10 animals have been diagnosed with rabies in the county this year, including a raccoon that was bitten by a dog in Vienna last month.
Here’s more from the health department on what to look out for:
Animals with rabies may act normally during the early stages of the disease, making it difficult to know if the animal is infected. As the disease progresses, animals often show changes in behavior. For example, wild animals may act very docile and domestic animals may become aggressive. Rabid animals may stagger, drool, or become paralyzed. Protect yourself and your family from rabies: stay away from wild animals and be sure pets are vaccinated against rabies every year. Remember, if the animal is not your own, leave it alone!
If bitten or scratched by an animal that might have rabies, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention right away. When vaccinations are provided in time and appropriately, rabies treatment is 100 percent effective in preventing the disease. But if not treated, rabies is 100 percent fatal.
If anyone was bitten or scratched by the animal on or around June 10, county health officials urge individuals to call the Fairfax County Health Department Rabies Program at 703-246-2433, extension 711.
Photo via Bryan Padron/Unsplash
An Alexandria man was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday (May 10) for selling fentanyl to a woman who died from an overdose in Clifton in 2021.
Reza Hashemi, 34, was sentenced for conspiring to distribute over 400 grams of fentanyl in Northern Virginia between July 2020 and June 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release announcing the judgment by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
According to court documents, Fairfax County police were called to a home in the Clifton area on May 28, 2021 by a witness who told 911 that a woman had taken an “unknown white substance” and needed naloxone, the drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.
A woman identified as J.F. was found unresponsive in the residence’s basement and pronounced deceased at 11:44 p.m. after failed resusitation efforts, one of the responding police officers said in an affidavit.
The witness told police that they had obtained powder fentanyl from Hashemi at a spot near Reed Avenue in Alexandria City.
Police arrested Hashemi in Tysons on June 2, 2021 after he dropped off fentanyl that the witness had arranged to buy from him, according to the affidavit.
Court records indicate that Hashemi reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in February.
“Mr. Hashemi became addicted to opioids after suffering trauma early in his life. He accepted responsibility early on in this case and continues to do so,” the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Alexandria, which represented Hashemi, said in a statement. “Although we do not agree that the sentence imposed was necessary, Mr. Hashemi accepts the court’s decision and is determined to address his own addiction through the next 15 years and beyond.”
In announcing the sentencing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office also linked Hashemi to the Oct. 24, 2020, fatal overdose of a 22-year-old man identified as J.V. in Vienna.
Hashemi distributed drugs, including “pressed counterfeit pills containing fentanyl,” to J.V. from Sept. 18, 2020 to “at least” Oct. 14, 2020, according to a statement of facts filed by prosecutors. After police informed him of J.V.’s death, Hashemi said he didn’t want to talk to law enforcement without a lawyer.
Court documents don’t explain how police determined that the drugs involved in J.V.’s overdose were the ones he got from Hashemi. The U.S. Attorney’s Office didn’t respond to FFXnow’s request for comment by press time.
“The government’s repeated insinuations in connection with [Hashemi’s] invocation of his right to counsel misrepresent the facts and betray an ignorance of every individual’s constitutional rights,” the public defender’s office said.
Photo via Google Maps
About 20 acres of eastern hemlock trees rooted to the Bull Run River banks in Clifton will be formally recognized tomorrow (Tuesday) as likely the oldest trees in Fairfax County.
Believed to be at least 250 years old, the trees in Hemlock Overlook Regional Park are the first stand in the county and only the second in Northern Virginia to join the Old Growth Forest Network, a national nonprofit that aims to identify and protect the oldest known forests in every county in the U.S.
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks) will celebrate the milestone at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow by unveiling a permanent sign explaining the forest’s significance.
The ceremony will also include an early Earth Day commemoration. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, and other local officials are expected to attend.
“We want the people hiking along the trail to not just have a great experience hiking…but also learn something about the interesting and unique environment that they’re in,” NOVA Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert said. “…This is a very unusual thing to have an old growth forest in an area that has been heavily forested and developed for over 150 years, and it certainly fits with the mission of NOVA Parks to conserve these areas and to educate the public about these areas.”
With its induction, Hemlock Overlook follows in the footsteps of Arlington’s Glencarlyn Park, which had a 24-acre portion added to the Old Growth Forest Network in 2o15.
Founded in 2012 by ecologist and author Joan Maloof, the network has grown to over 190 forests across 32 states. All included forests have protections in place against logging and are publicly accessible, though there are separate designations for private and smaller community forests.
Gilbert says NOVA Parks was aware that Hemlock Overlook had a “very old forest area,” but the Old Growth Forest Network identified it independently and then reached out to the authority.
The nonprofit works with county coordinators in local communities to help it identify potential old growth forests that are publicly accessible, according to Brian Kane, the OGFN’s Mid-Atlantic regional manager and community outreach manager.
The organization had gotten seven or eight nominations in Fairfax County, including for some stands along George Washington Memorial Parkway, but the Hemlock Overlook trees ultimately stood out.
“It’s really kind of remarkable this is standing there in busy Fairfax County,” Kane said. “…We’re absolutely thrilled this is happening.” Read More
A person was taken to the hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries this morning (Wednesday) after a house fire at the edge of Clifton.
Crews had to rescue one occupant, who was transported to the hospital with serious injuries, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. No firefighter injuries were reported.
Prince William County Fire and Rescue provided assistance in extinguishing the fire. Most units were able to return to service by 11 a.m.
Investigators are now working to determine the cause of the fire, the FCFRD said.
UPDATE – house fire in the 6800 block of Compton Heights Circle. Fire is out. One occupant transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries. No reported firefighter injuries at this time. @PWCFireRescue assisting. #FCFRD pic.twitter.com/LSzSKqOvuM
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) February 15, 2023
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) February 15, 2023
A new tree disease has been detected in Fairfax County, threatening one of the region’s most common trees.
County officials have confirmed, in the fall, they found that a number of American beech trees in three parks in Fairfax County were infected with beech leaf disease (BLD). The parks include Burke Lake Park, Hemlock Overlook Park near Clifton, and Fairfax Station’s Fountainhead Park.
The disease causes the leaves of beech tree saplings to develop dark green stripes in the veins as well as potentially puckered, cupped, or distorted leaves. In more mature trees, it can result in reduced foliage.
It can be fatal to the trees, causing them to possibly die within six to 10 years.
BLD is somewhat mysterious, in that officials and researchers at the county’s Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD) are still trying to figure out exactly how it spreads. There is also no cure.
“Good tree care, including proper mulching and watering during droughts, may be helpful,” the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) said in a press release. “There is ongoing research underway to learn more about BLD and how to effectively treat it.”
The disease doesn’t affect humans, animals, other tree species, or yard plants. It hasn’t been detected anywhere else in the county at the moment besides the three noted parks, DPWES spokesperson Sharon North confirmed to FFXnow.
The county is asking any residents who spot a tree they believe might be infected to report it to firstname.lastname@example.org with photos of the tree or by calling 703-324-1770 TTY 711.
“Reporting potential infestations will allow UFMD to quickly begin monitoring BLD and providing treatment once it is developed.”
BLD was first detected in Ohio about a decade ago, and Virginia’s first case was found in Prince William County in August 2021. What has officials so concerned is how poorly the disease is understood and the impact it could have on already-dwindling regional forests.
It remains unclear how BLD spreads. Experts are looking into several possibilities, including possible transmission through bacteria, fungi, mites, or even microscopic parasitic worms.
Additionally, the American beech tree makes up about 10% of the county’s forests. Any mass loss of the trees could permanently change the region’s landscape.
“Given the American beech tree comprises a large portion of our eastern trees, the disease can potentially alter the composition of the eastern forest,” DPWES said. “It is one of the most common local giant trees.”
Amazon Plans Chantilly Data Center — “Amazon.com Inc.’s data center arm is working to develop a new data center facility in Chantilly, with plans to invest nearly $36 million into the project, according to Fairfax County records. The vacant property located at 3980 Virginia Mallory Drive is part of Amazon’s 46.4 acres in Avion Parkway, which the company bought for $55.9 million in 2021.” [Washington Business Journal]
Rappelling Stunt Supports Fairfax County Nonprofit — “On Thursday and Friday, about 80 people, including two local elected officials, a Washington Post reporter, and a member of the D.C. Divas women’s football team, dressed in full pads and uniform, rappelled down the side of the Crystal City Hilton to raise funds and awareness for New Hope Housing.” [The Washington Post]
County to Choose COVID-19 Memorial Site by September — “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is positioning the county as one of the first localities in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. to build a permanent pandemic remembrance. The Fairfax County Park Authority recently submitted a memorandum to the board, summarizing project details, including design considerations, the project timeline and next steps, including the memorial’s location.” [WTOP]
County Board Sides with American Legion After Neighbor Complaints — “The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) voted 4-1 April 27 to overturn the zoning administrator’s ruling that American Legion Post 270 in McLean improperly was operating as a banquet-and-reception hall. Surrounding residents have complained about noise, loitering, late-night events and parties lasting until the early morning” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
FCPD Traffic Campaign Yields Citations — “On Tuesday [May 3], officers from our Traffic Division wrote over 100 citations and warnings during our extra enforcement campaign in the Annandale area. This campaign runs through May 22 and is geared towards making our roads safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.” [FCPD/Facebook]
Afghan Refugees Look for Jobs in Tysons — “Job seekers, like 21-year-old Mohammad Fasih Yaqoobi, had the chance to meet with more than 30 employers hiring for roles at all skill levels. In Yaqoobi’s case, the fair represented an opportunity to provide for his family, who have already lived a lifetime of unimaginable circumstances.” [NBC4]
Chapel Road Closed in Clifton Starting Today — “Chapel Road (Route 641) between Water Street and Yates Ford Road (Route 612) will be closed to through traffic, weather permitting, Monday, May 9 through Wednesday, May 11 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]
It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 60 and low of 42. Sunrise at 6:03 am and sunset at 8:10 pm. [Weather.gov]
New Issues Hamper Silver Line Phase 2 — While a summer opening is still possible, don’t expect the Silver Line extension from Reston into Loudoun County before July 1, Metro officials said yesterday (Thursday), citing waterproofing and insulation issues around power cable connections. Past problems with “the orange boot” have caused fire and smoke incidents. [DCist]
County Residents Report Lags in Rent Assistance — “Sarah Allen, regional director of Fairfax County Human Services, told InsideNoVa in October the county was rolling out a separate online portal that tenants could also use to apply for assistance. The online portal has yet to launch, according to a county spokesperson who said it’s still in development.” [Inside NoVA]
NoVA Faces Mental Health Services Deficit — “Last week, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia published a report claiming that as of 2021 approximately 750,000 adults in Northern Virginia are currently receiving or want to receive mental health services. However, 350,000 of those adults who want therapy or counseling are unable to get it.” [Inside NoVA]
County Police and Firefighters Face Off for Charity — “The puck will drop on Friday at 6 p.m. at the SkateQuest ice rink in Reston as the Fairfax County Police Department takes on the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in a charity hockey game…Donations will be accepted at the game and will go to RedHelp.org and BlueHelp.org.” [Patch]
Road Closure Planned in Clifton Next Week — “Kincheloe Road (Route 641) between Old Yates Ford Road (Route 612) and the Kincheloe Soccer Park will be closed to through traffic, weather permitting, Monday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 29 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day to replace two culvert pipes.” [VDOT]
Park Authority Celebrates Women’s History Month — “The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a new website celebrating the accomplishments and impact of extraordinary women who have shaped Fairfax County’s parks.” [FCPA]
Herndon Software Company Acquired — “Wavedancer Inc. (NASDAQ: WAVD), a Fairfax cybersecurity software company, said this week it has reached a deal to acquire Herndon’s Knowmadics, a software-as-a-service company specializing in the Internet of Things device management, for $90 million.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Artists Partner for Capital One Hall Concert — The Virginia Chamber Orchestra, which now resides at the Tysons performing arts theater, will play music by Aaron Copland tomorrow (Saturday) in a joint concert with the College of William & Mary Symphony Orchestra. Artwork by members of the McLean Arts Society will be displayed in the Atrium. [Virginia Chamber Orchestra]
It’s Friday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 58 and low of 45. Sunrise at 7:05 a.m. and sunset at 7:27 p.m. [Weather.gov]
NOVA Parks has installed two new signs to shed light on the effect of slavery and segregation in Fairfax County.
A new sign in Herndon Caboose Park explains how Jim Crow laws affected passengers on the Washington & Old Dominion train line in the 1900s. Another sign in Clifton describes the significance of a graveyard for enslaved people near Bull Run Marina.
W&OD Trail users can read about the segregationist laws that regulated the regional passenger train service during the 20th century, according to new research by NOVA Parks.
The new sign will be dedicated by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay on Saturday (Feb. 26).
“During Black History Month, it’s important to remember the tremendous challenges Black Americans faced in Fairfax, and to celebrate how far we’ve come while acknowledging we still have work to do in overcoming racial inequity,” McKay said. “We’re grateful to NOVA Parks for documenting this part of our shared history.”
The W&OD Trail covers 45 miles from Shirlington to Purcellville on the former roadbed of the train line, which operated from 1857 to 1968.
At the time, trains provided the main form of public transportation, and Virginia law required separation of races in public places.
Passenger service on the train was discontinued in 1941, and the waiting room for Black passengers was converted into an office. When passenger service was reinstated in 1943 during World War II, Black and white passengers shared the same waiting room. This shared arrangement “bothered no one, since it was a small community, and everyone knew everyone else,” according to the book “Herndon: a Town and its History.”
“These signs recognize/acknowledge a painful part of our past, a time when laws were created to treat Blacks unequally,” NAACP Fairfax County President Karen Campblin said. “Although Jim Crow laws have been overturned, it’s important to remember what Black Americans have endured and to make sure that we are all treated with dignity and respect in the future.”
“In order to foster a community that lives up to the vision of Dr. King’s ‘Beloved Community’ we in Fairfax must come to terms fully and honestly with our troubled past,” said Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano.
The new sign in Clifton stands near the likely site of a graveyard. NOVA Parks found five graves in 2020 using ground-penetrating radar. Each grave has a stone at the head and foot on an east-west axis, with the smaller footstone facing east.
“Historians believe the intention of this burial practice, seen in other graveyards of enslaved people, is to orient the bodies towards Africa in anticipation of resurrection and return home,” a NOVA Parks release states.
By the beginning of the Civil War, Virginia had 490,000 enslaved people — more than any other state, according to NOVA Parks. In 1860, there were 3,117 people enslaved in Fairfax County, about 28% of the entire county.
The signs are part of an effort by NOVA Parks to tell stories from Black history and are tied with a new theme in the NOVA Parks 2022-2027 Strategic Plan: Belonging.
The dedication of W&OD Trail sign will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at Herndon Caboose Park (777 Lynn Street). The dedication of the sign at Bull Run Marina (12619 Old Yates Ford Road, Clifton) is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.
A man allegedly rammed several police cars and nearly ran over officers while attempting to flee police Thursday evening, and he did it with a child in his car.
According to Howard Ludwig, Fairfax County police spokesman, it began when the suspect was driving recklessly and nearly struck an officer riding a motorcycle around 8 p.m. The suspect failed to stop for the officer and fled to Willow Lakes Court, a dead-end street in Clifton.
That is where the motorcycle officer radioed for backup and planned to box him in with the help of responding officers. As officers were responding, the suspect rammed at least one police car and nearly ran officers over as he fled the neighborhood to Clifton Road.
He did not get far, however, as police attempted a PIT maneuver while they pursued him along Clifton Road where he turned down another dead-end street, Old Clifton Road, and was captured.
Amazingly, no injuries were reported. The child was turned over to his mother and the man faces multiple charges, we’re told, though the exact charges were not available as of publication time.