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Former Falls Church Bicycle Shop Owner’s Mythology Unravels — “We’re not just talking about one man’s fabrications, but the ripples from those fabrications: a team of riders that allege abuse at [Nick] Clark’s hands, a series of embellished life events stretching back to the 1990s, ties with the political and military elite, alleged misrepresentations across multiple industries, and possible stolen military valour.” [Cycling Tips]
Police Thanked for Catching Victoria’s Secret Thieves — “The Fairfax County Police Department’s Tysons Urban Team (TUT) was recognized by executives from Victoria’s Secret on Friday for breaking up a retail theft ring. The thieves are believed to be responsible for the loss of more than $250,000 of merchandise from stores throughout the southern U.S.” [FCPD/Facebook]
Woman Who Sold Mantua Home With Squatter Speaks — “After days of speculation about the identity of the person living in the basement of a viral Zillow listing, the woman has come forward to tell her side of the unusual story. Last week, her Fairfax, Va., home…sold for more than $800,000 with the condition that it came with a person living in the basement who did not have a lease.” [WUSA9]
FCPD Seeks Person Behind Clifton Starbucks Vandalism — “Officers responded to the Starbucks at 5748 Union Mill Road in Clifton for a burglary report on April 27, when someone broke the front window and stole a Progress Pride flag from inside and left. The following morning, officers responded to the same Starbucks for a similar incident.” [ABC7]
Metro Shares Plan to Electrify Bus Fleet — “Metro expects to purchase 12 electric buses and associated charging equipment this year as part of the Battery-Electric Bus Test and Evaluation Program. The buses will begin arriving late this year and go into service in 2023 out of the Shepherd Parkway Bus Division.” [WMATA]
Man Convicted of Killing Fairfax Couple Denied Parole — “The Maryland Parole Commission denied parole to Sifrit, in his first parole hearing, since being sentenced to 38 years in prison, after he and his then-wife Erika killed and dismembered Martha Crutchley and Joshua Ford, of Fairfax City, over Memorial Day weekend almost 20 years ago.” [WTOP]
Capital One Center Named “Best New Development” — The Washington Business Journal has given its “Best New Development” award to Capital One Center, which is bringing 1.47 million square feet of construction to the financial company’s Tysons headquarters. The Reston Gateway office high-rises in Boston Properties’ Reston Town Center expansion was named a finalist. [WBJ]
It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 60. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]
Flint Hill Elementary School students let their green flag fly during a visit yesterday (Monday) from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan.
Invited by the environmental advocacy groups Mothers Out Front and Moms Clean Air Force, Regan stopped by the Vienna school to discuss the federal government’s plans to expand the use of electric school buses over diesel ones, a transition that he said Fairfax County Public Schools is helping lead.
“Fairfax County Public Schools is demonstrating exceptional leadership in being an early participant in what we hope will be a widespread, nationwide movement,” Regan said at a press conference, which followed a bus ride and a student roundtable. “Zero-emission school buses can and one day will be the American standard.”
FCPS received its first electricity-powered school bus in January 2021 and now has eight total in its fleet of 1,625 buses. The district was awarded a $2.7 million state grant in August to add another 10 electric buses.
At the time of the announcement, the new buses were expected to arrive this March, but FCPS says they are now scheduled to come off the assembly line around June 25 in time for delivery in July.
“The supplier has some additional upfitting to do before delivery to align with our specifications,” FCPS said by email. “They will not be placed into full operation (with students aboard) until Fall of 2022.”
Electric school buses will transform how millions of students get to and from school — helping clean the air we breathe, protecting public health, and tackling the climate crisis.
Thank you to these @fcpsnews students for joining me today on an EV school bus ride! pic.twitter.com/AyPIRX8E6w
— Michael Regan, U.S. EPA (@EPAMichaelRegan) March 14, 2022
Superintendent Scott Brabrand reaffirmed yesterday that the school system aims to achieve carbon neutrality with its bus fleet by 2035.
The EPA announced $17 million in rebates on March 7 to help schools across the country transition to electric buses. That includes $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds intended for underserved communities that might not be able to afford electric vehicles and charging equipment on their own.
Congress committed an additional $5 billion over the next five years to replacing diesel buses with vehicles that emit lower or no greenhouse gas emissions with its passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure law in November. The EPA anticipates announcing a first round of funding next month, according to Regan.
“This investment will transform how millions of students get to school each and every day. It will help clean the air we breathe, protect public health, and tackle the climate crisis,” Regan said, stating that the recent surge in gas prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine further highlights the need to transition from fossil fuels to clean, more sustainable energy sources.
While the event focused on electric school buses, FCPS officials and students used the occasion to also put a spotlight on the district’s Get2Green program, which promotes environmental stewardship and education.
Flint Hill Elementary has embraced the program enthusiastically, obtaining its first Green Flag award from the National Wildlife Federation in May 2014 and becoming a permanent Green Flag school in 2019.
Wow – what a morning! Thank you to @EPAMichaelRegan, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for visiting @FlintHillES! @fcpsnews students are committed to environmental stewardship. 🌱@EPAregion3 @FCPSRegion1 pic.twitter.com/XjMIlXEusK
— @HunterMillFCPS (@huntermillfcps) March 14, 2022
Students on the school’s Green Team have helped implement projects from a composting program to flower seed collections and distributions. They partnered with Bryn Awel Primary School in Wales to learn about plastic pollution in oceans and gather data for NASA’s Globe program.
Fifth-grade student Eddie Felber attributed his appreciation for the natural world to Flint Hill’s courtyard, which features a chicken coop, a monarch waystation, and native plant and vegetable gardens. Tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, and other produce from the gardens are used in the school’s cafeteria salad bar.
“We will not stop, because we cannot afford to stop,” sixth-grade student Lena Mudrick said. “We’re the kids now, but we have to make sure to improve the environment for future generations. Our school is incredible in helping student-led projects make change, and we hope more schools will have these opportunities.”
A new rebate program that starts next year would give thousands of dollars to Virginians who buy or lease an electric vehicle.
But it’s not funded.
Fairfax County officials said the Virginia House of Delegates sought to put $5 million into the program, which awards $2,500 rebates and more, but that money wasn’t included in the General Assembly’s budget.
“Until the General Assembly funds the rebates, there won’t be any rebates,” said Tarah Kesterson, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy.
Her department is tasked with establishing a website to administer the program that includes weekly updates about the availability of funds.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam approved HB 1979 — the bill that created the program — on March 31, and it went into effect July 1. It stated that the rebates depend upon available funds.
The rebates would cover vehicles that must use electricity as their only source of power. They’d cover two categories:
- new and leased vehicles that have a base price of $55,000 or less
- used vehicles that cost $25,000 or less
Introduced by Loudoun County Del. David A. Reid, the legislation was intended to encourage greater adoption of electric vehicles in the Commonwealth. About 7% of U.S. adults have an electric or a hybrid vehicle, an adoption rate that lags behind China and Europe, according to the Pew Research Center.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ legislative committee, which tracks state bills and determines the county’s policy positions and priorities, discussed the matter during a meeting on Tuesday (Sept. 21).
Board Chairman Jeff McKay, who serves as vice chair of the committee, suggested that the state should also modify a second rebate that was included in the bill.
Under the law, an additional rebate of $2,000 could be used for people whose household income is 300% or less of the federal poverty level, which currently equates to $38,640 for a single adult or $65,880 for a family of three.
McKay said that threshold would shut out many people in Fairfax County, even though they would be more likely to buy an electric vehicle than residents of some other parts of the state.
“This is really important from an equity standpoint,” McKay said. “Those can be affordable vehicles with these [types] of rebate programs.”