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A historical marker for the McLean Volunteer Fire Department was installed outside the Old Firehouse Center in 2020 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

If buildings could speak, the Old Firehouse Center in McLean would have some tales to tell — almost a century’s worth, in fact.

Originally built in 1925, the low-lying brick structure hosted the McLean Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) as well as the wider community, which was starting to take shape.

“McLean’s fire department was the first to be incorporated in Fairfax County,” Carole Herrick, a Dranesville District representative on the Fairfax County History Commission, said. “Back then, it served as the community center of its day, and we want to preserve its rich history.”

The history commission will help honor that legacy with a belated dedication ceremony later this month for a historical marker erected outside the firehouse at 1440 Chain Bridge Road in 2020.

Delayed by COVID-19 concerns, the ceremony will take place at last at the Old Firehouse Center at 1 p.m. on Aug. 21, according to the McLean Community Center, which now uses the facility for its teen after-school programs.

Free and open to the public, this event is being sponsored by MCC, the county history commission, the McLean Volunteer Fire Department, and the McLean Historical Society.

Speakers will include Herrick and Fairfax County History Commission Chair Cheryl Repetti, and MVFD members will be on hand “to discuss various displays,” the press release says. The ceremony will open with Boy Scout Troop 128 and close with an indoor reception.

Joining a sign posted for McLean overall in 2003, the MVFD marker is one 55 installed since Fairfax County’s Historical Marker Program began in 1998. It reads:

The McLean Volunteer Fire Department incorporated in 1923 in Fairfax County. A two-bay firehouse was built and a Ladies Auxiliary formed in 1925. Construction of a rear addition in 1932 provided work during the Depression and offered space needed for equipment and community activities. For several years, the firemen organized the McLean Carnival to raise funds for the department. An air raid observation tower was added during World War II. In 1948 a four-bay station replaced the previous building. A new station opened on Laughlin Avenue in 1988, ceding the vacant firehouse to Fairfax County that the McLean Community Center converted into a teen center.

Though the department has a new home, the old firehouse still holds a special place in the memories of long-time volunteer firefighters like Clyde Clark, who joined the department in June 1962 and recently commemorated 60 years in the role.

Clark’s tenure with the fire department has included stings as chief, assistant chief, and on the board of directors. Currently on the McLean Volunteer Fire Department History Committee, he fondly recalled the firehouse’s role in the department and the community in a statement to FFXnow.

“The coffee pot was always on. People were welcome to stop by, to hear the latest local news and local gossip,” he said by email. “There really was nothing else open like that. No Starbucks like there is today. It was a delightful place to be, and it really served as the center of the community.”

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Morning Notes

Looking south to Falls Church over Washington Blvd. (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Health Department Updates Covid Data — The county’s dashboard for COVID-19 data will report the 7-day average number of daily cases instead of the number of new cases, and two other metrics were added to the dashboard. The additions are the 7-day average number of daily new deaths, and the current community level, including the metrics that determine the level (hospitalizations, hospital capacity and cases within a community). [Fairfax County Government]

FBI Relaunches New HQ Search — “President Joe Biden’s administration made it clear that the federal government would be consolidating the FBI’s headquarters outside of D.C. in the General Services Administration’s fiscal year 2023 budget request…The move has been in limbo for years. During then-President Barack Obama’s administration, the GSA had narrowed down potential locations to Greenbelt, Landover and Springfield.” [Bisnow]

Three Fort Belvoir Firefighters Have Babies in 24 Hours — “They were all expecting their sons to be born soon, and they joked at the fire station that they would run into each other at the hospital. None of them thought it would actually happen.” [Washington Post]

Food for Fines Adapts to Read and Feed — “As of Jan. 1, FCPL no longer charges overdue fines on most materials. To continue its partnership with Food for Others, FCPL is now hosting ‘Read and Feed’ in April. Those who wish to give may simply drop off donations at any FCPL branch during its regular hours throughout the month of April.” [Fairfax County Government]

Vienna School Renovation Progresses — “Fairfax County Public Schools’ plan to renovate and expand Louise Archer Elementary School got some necessary boxes ticked March 21 when the Vienna Town Council unanimously approved a series of site modifications.” [Sun Gazette]

McLean Little League Opens Season — “McLean Little League players are busy scurrying around the baseball and softball diamonds these days, following the opening of the 2022 season. Enjoy these photos from the annual opening-day ceremonies, held March 26, as captured by Dave Facinoli.” [Sun Gazette]

Bluebells Festival Returns in Great Falls — “After a two-year hiatus, Bluebells at the Bend Festival is BACK! The day’s highlight features the emergence of the iconic Virginia Bluebells, native wildflowers that bloom in the moist woodlands of eastern North America and can create a bit of their spring magic in your own garden.” [Visit Fairfax]

Enjoy Cherry Blossoms at the PARC at Tysons — “#Spring is in #fullbloom at the PARC! Stop by next week, April 4-9 from 9 AM – 5 PM, to check out our @cherryblossfest decorations and enjoy #free fun-filled spring #activities and #treats from @tysons.creamery. You won’t want to miss this spring celebration! #spring2022” [Twitter]

Herndon Middle Schooler Earns Honors — “Jada Elfar, a seventh-grade student in Shawn Ratliff’s civics class at the King Abdullah Academy in Herndon, recently was named the winner in several levels of the American Legion Department of Virginia Middle School Essay Contest.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 64 and low of 55. Sunrise at 6:56 a.m. and sunset at 7:32 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Despite chilly weather, the sun came out Tuesday, casting shadows from trees at the corner of Jefferson Manor Park off Telegraph Road (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

County Libraries to Resume Standard Hours — Fairfax County Public Library will once again open its eight regional branches seven days a week, and its 14 community branches on Mondays, effective this Sunday (April 3). The system truncated its hours starting in January due to the surge in COVID-19 cases and high staff vacancies. [FCPL]

Omicron Subvariant Identified in Fairfax County Patients — “BA.2 is now estimated to be responsible for about one in three COVID-19 infections in the country and one in five COVID-19 infections in Virginia. While BA.2 appears to be more contagious and can spread faster, it is not known to make people sicker.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

County Commonwealth’s Attorney Responds to Miyares Criticism — “The two powerful men have been in a feud for months. Attorney General Jason Miyares is pushing for tough-on-crime policies, while [Steve] Descano campaigned on ending mass incarceration and reforming the criminal justice system.” [ABC7]

“Coming to America” Restaurant Planned for Springfield — “Starting in May, shoppers at the Springfield Town Center can stride through the golden arcs of McDowell’s and order a Big Mick — a burger that is totally different from that other sandwich, thank you very much, because the buns don’t have seeds.” [Washingtonian]

Falls Church Approves Founders Row Part II — “The Falls Church City Council approved yet another large scale mixed use project for its downtown corridor Monday night, by a 5-2 vote giving a final OK to what has become known as the ‘Founders Row 2‘ project that will fill the space at the now vacant Rite Aid and the carpet store at the corner of W. Broad and S. West St.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Congress Members Concerned about Silver Line Phase 2 Delays — “U.S. Reps. Jennifer Wexton (D), Don Beyer (D) and Gerry Connolly’s letter to MWAA came a day after Paul Wiedefeld, the CEO and general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said unresolved issues…are preventing a declaration of operational readiness.” [Patch]

Capital One Partners with MLB — “McLean’s Capital One Financial Corp. is Major League Baseball’s new official banking and credit card partner. Capital One announced the multiyear deal Monday…Terms were not disclosed, but reports have pegged it as a $125 million deal for MLB over five years.” [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Library to Host First Responders on Saturday — “Join us as we celebrate the brave men and women who rush to emergency situations every day to take action when disaster strikes. Meet our local firefighters as they showcase the equiptment used for respond to emergencies. 11am-2pm at Reston Library.” [FCPL]

Local Students Compete in Special Olympics — “Congratulations to the Madison Special Olympics Unified Basketball Team who competed in their first Special Olympics this weekend at Marshall HS.” [James Madison High School/Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 56 and low of 36. Sunrise at 6:57 a.m. and sunset at 7:31 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

American flag blows in wind at Wolf Trap National Park (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

FCPD Officer Found Not Guilty in Taser Incident — “A jury found a Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer not guilty of using excessive force against a man in a June 2020 incident caught on body camera. The officer, Tyler Timberlake, who is white, had faced three misdemeanor assault and battery charges for tasering Lamonta Gladney, who is Black.” [NBC4]

Community Members Rally in Support of FCPS Librarians — “Nearly 70 people participated in a rally to support school librarians March 24 before a school board meeting at Luther Jackson Middle School. At the meeting, several people attacked librarians for supporting LGBTQ students’ rights.” [Annandale Today]

Fairfax County Plea Deal for Shootings Suspect Scrutinized — Recently arrested for allegedly shooting five homeless people, Gerald Brevard III previously faced charges in Fairfax County for assaulting a hotel worker and breaking into an apartment. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares argues that county prosecutors’ plea deal was too lenient, while Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano says weaknesses in the case meant it was the ‘best outcome’ his office could’ve gotten. [The Washington Post]

Armed Carjacking Reported in Mount Vernon — “Detectives on scene of armed carjacking in 3700 blk of Rolling Hills Ave. 4 suspects described as black men 18-20 yo in dark clothing driving bro Nissan Altima. Suspects displayed firearm, assaulted the victim & took a 2017 gray Toyota Corolla. Call 911 w/info.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Capitals Star Relocates Within McLean — “Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie…and his wife Lauren paid $7.5 million earlier this month for a newly constructed 9,890-square-foot home on Dogue Hill Lane, according to public records. The five-bedroom, eight-bath home is within the exclusive Langley Farms community.” [Washington Business Journal]

Crumbl Cookies to Open Reston Store Friday — “To celebrate the April 1 grand opening of [its] new location in Reston, Crumbl Cookies will be giving away a year’s worth of free cookies to one lucky person.” [Patch]

Tysons Corner Center Announces Spring Events — “Easter festivities have begun as April approaches. Families can get the traditional Easter Bunny photos, and there’s even an adults-only egg hunt…From May to September, shoppers can find events like monthly outdoor movies, game night tournaments, live music and more.” [Patch]

Fire and Rescue Department Wins Charity Hockey Game — “A hard fought 6-2 victory for #FCFRD @FairfaxCountyPD Chief Davis will look good in an FCFRD hockey jersey! Great game for great causes! Fantastic crowd! In the end, #FCPD and FCFRD remain one public safety team!” [FCFRD/Twitter]

It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 32 and low of 23. Sunrise at 7:01 a.m. and sunset at 7:30 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Church Street in Vienna on a winter day (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — “St. Patrick’s Day is always an exciting time in the National Capital Region so find fun St. Patrick’s Day events and things to do in Fairfax County, VA and the rest of Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. Whether you’re looking for a quaint local Irish pub to relax in, or a rowdy Irish party to join, you’re bound to find our list of suggestions below a useful St. Patrick’s Day guide to Irishness!” [Visit Fairfax]

No Charges Against Officer in Lorton Shooting — “The commonwealth’s attorney for Fairfax County, Virginia, isn’t going to file charges against the police officer who shot a man in a van in Lorton last month. Michael Vaughan, 34, was shot Feb. 15 in a van on Fitt Court while he was holding a rifle.” [WTOP]

Prominent County Developer Dies — Land-use lawyer and developer John T. ‘Til’ Hazel Jr. on Tuesday (March 15) at 91 years of age in Broad Run. Crucial in shaping Fairfax County, including Tysons and George Mason University, Hazel helped clear land for the Capital Beltway and “went on to develop homes now occupied by 1 in every 10 residents of Fairfax County.” [The Washington Post]

FBI HQ Relocation Search Could Restart — “The omnibus fiscal year 2022 spending bill signed by President Joe Biden this week includes language that would advance the FBI’s selection of a new headquarters location — which it, along with the General Services Administration, had previously narrowed down to Greenbelt, Landover, and Springfield.” [Washington Business Journal]

FCPS Offers New Firefighter Training Program — “Thanks Fox 5 DC for highlighting this unique program and partnership between Fairfax County Public Schools and #FCFRD. Ten alums are now FCFRD career members. Two career elsewhere. Several volunteer firefighters. One attending Naval Academy!” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Facebook]

Herndon Native Stays with NHL Team — “Joe Snively, who grew up and played youth hockey in Herndon, was just re-signed by the Washington Capitals to a two-year, $1.6 million contract. Brian MacLellan, the Caps’ senior vice president and general manager, made the announcement on Wednesday, according to NHL.com.” [Patch]

GMU Reopens Renovated Performing Arts Theater — “After 18 months of renovations, Harris Theatre on George Mason University’s Fairfax campus is once again open for performances…The renovation features an expanded lobby, an updated ticket office, a new entrance near the walking meditation garden and a marquee to announce upcoming performances.” [Sun Gazette]

Tysons Contractor Buys Reston Security Company — “McLean, Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton, the largest government IT consulting contractor, continues a recent string of acquisitions by acquiring Reston-based cybersecurity firm EverWatch. Financial terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.” [WTOP]

McLean Fire Department to Host Blood Drive — The McLean Volunteer Fire Department will host another blood drive by Inova from 1-5:30 p.m. on March 25. This will be the department’s second blood drive of the year, following one in January that ultimately saw all spots fill up. [McLean VFD/Facebook]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 58 and low of 49. Sunrise at 7:18 a.m. and sunset at 7:19 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Neighborhood Watch sign by Lake Audubon townhouses in Reston (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Masks Still Required on County Buses — “The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), upon the recommendation from the CDC, is extending the security directive for mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for one month, through April 18, 2022.” [Fairfax Connector]

Traffic Disruption Scheduled in Herndon — “Crews will be working at the intersection of Elden Street and Monroe Street to replace the current traffic signal pole and mast arm. On Friday, March 11th, a brief traffic disruption of approximately 15 minutes will be required as the mast arm is installed. We recommend using Herndon Parkway and the routes shown as an alternative to using Elden Street.” [Town of Herndon]

Inova Hospital Starts Expanded Hours Today — “Effective March 11, we will have expanded hours for visitors. Visitors must be 16 years or older. Everyone must wear a surgical/medical-grade face mask at all times. Mask will be provided if needed.” [Inova/Twitter]

Work on Broad & Washington Project Could Begin Soon — “The Insight Group is getting its massive project at that corner of downtown Falls Church’s central intersection underway at last, with the anchor of the project to be a mega-Whole Foods supermarket, a new home for the Creative Cauldron theater and 339 rental apartments.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Vienna Looks to Cut Real Estate Taxes — “Town Manager Mercury Payton presented the budget proposal Monday. The budget proposes reducing the real estate tax rate by 1 cent from $0.2225 to $0.2125 per $100 of assessed value. Town of Vienna property owners pay this real estate tax on top of Fairfax County’s real estate tax.” [Patch]

Grand Opening Coming for New Reston Fire Station — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will hold a grand opening for its new Fire Station 25 at 1820 Wiehle Avenue in Reston at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday). [Hunter Mill District News]

“Saturday School” Planned in Lincolnia — “Glasgow Middle School Principal Victor Powell is tapping some of his school’s share of federal pandemic relief funding to host an estimated 260 students and their parents in sessions designed to boost reading, math and social-emotional skills, as well as get students and parents alike inspired to think about college and goal-setting for the future.” [FCPS]

McLean Chocolate Festival Returns — “The 10th Annual McLean Chocolate Festival, sponsored by the Rotary Club of McLean, will be held April 24 at the McLean Community Center…Due to the pandemic, the club did not hold a festival last year. However, in 2020, almost 3,000 people attended, and organizers expect a similar number at this year’s event.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Daylight Saving Time Starts This Weekend — Get ready to move your clocks ahead one hour. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday (March 13), running through Nov. 6. We’ll lose an hour of sleep but hopefully be spending more time in the sun. If you hate these changes, you’re with most Americans, and a congressional panel this week looked at why we might want to end this annual custom. [The Washington Post]

It’s Friday — Rain overnight. High of 58 and low of 37. Sunrise at 6:27 am and sunset at 6:13 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Lt. Vernon “Ty” Corbin Jr. (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A firefighter is noting how his dad, who served in the same fire department, helped pave the way for him and others.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Lt. Vernon “Ty” Corbin Jr. recently reflected on the moment, noting how his father, Vernon Corbin Sr., started in 1980 when only a handful of other Black firefighters were there.

“As I’ve gone around to different stations,…there was always, you know, someone saying how they…have deep respect for my dad and what he’s done,” he said. “And it just hit me, you know, ‘He’s done a lot more than I’m aware of and he’s never told me as a kid growing up.'”

Although Corbin Sr. retired after nearly three decades with the department and lives in Oxon Hill, Md., Corbin Jr. has continued to see his father’s legacy as he’s worked his own way up in the ranks.

These kinds of multigenerational firefighting households weren’t as common in the past, but now they’re becoming more prevalent, FCFRD spokesperson Bill Delaney said.

Corbin Jr. thought about firefighting but didn’t choose it as a career until later on. He started in the role in 2007 and soon heard about the difference his dad, an emergency medical services supervisor, made with other responders, such as helping others get promoted.

Vernon Tyrone Corbin Sr. and Jr. (via Fairfax County)

In a way, Corbin Jr., who is 35, experienced a similar benefit: He credits his ability to assess and communicate issues from when his dad would have him read news articles as a kid then summarize them back. He says that helped him get his first promotion to becoming a lieutenant in the county’s training academy to teach skills to incoming recruits.

“Other folks always said … he was very helpful. When he showed up on incident scenes, he was cool, calm and collected, which helped them be more calm in a situation,” Corbin Jr. said.

He’s now in charge of staffing across the county, involving 300-plus personnel assigned each day, and is based at Station 34 in Oakton.

Corbin Jr. has four kids, and they’ve also been able to see their dad at the station. Their mother also works for the department: Erin is a technician/paramedic, and her mom, Pam Leins, is also retired from FCFRD.

The couple’s oldest child — age 15 — has suggested he may continue the family tradition.

“He keeps telling my wife he wants to be a firefighter,” Corbin Jr. said. “Whatever they choose to do, I’d be behind them 100 percent.”

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It took approximately half an hour for the police motorcade escorting the body of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss to travel the 20-mile stretch of I-66 from Gainesville to the I-495 interchange in Merrifield.

Along the way, the procession encountered dozens of Fairfax County police officers, firefighters, and residents who gathered on and under overpasses yesterday (Friday) afternoon to honor Knauss, one of 13 American servicemembers killed in the Aug. 26 bombing at Kabul’s airport during the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

A Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, the 23-year-old Knauss grew up in Corryton, Tennessee, a village about 20 miles northeast of Knoxville, and joined the Army right out of high school. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan after previously serving there for nine months, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Killing at least 170 Afghan civilians, the attack on Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport occurred in the midst of a frenzied effort to evacuate thousands of people seeking to leave the country ahead of the U.S. military’s Aug. 30 departure deadline as the Taliban took control.

The Fairfax County Police Department announced Thursday morning that a funeral procession for Knauss would pass through the county after 3 p.m., advising community members to go to an overpass along the route from I-66 East to I-495 South if they wanted to pay their respects.

Accompanied by several police cruisers and motorcycles, the hearse entered from Prince William County around 3:20 p.m. and traveled east through Fairfax before turning south in the Merrifield area. Upon reaching Springfield, the procession took I-395 North on its way to Arlington National Cemetery.

The motorcade was expected to be overseen by a pair of helicopters, but they were apparently shelved as a late afternoon downpour significantly reduced visibility.

About a dozen people from different backgrounds assembled along the Gallows Road overpass by the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station, undeterred by the rain that drenched the area around 3:45 p.m., just as the motorcade passed.

For Oakton resident Dennis Greza, the decision to watch the procession came from a personal place, spurred by seeing his brother serve in the Air Force. He said he wanted to pay respect to Knauss for making the “ultimate sacrifice.”

The service members killed in the Kabul airport bombing included 11 Marines and one member of the Navy, along with Knauss as the only Army casualty.

Elsewhere along I-66, Fairfax County police officers stood at attention, and American flags hoisted by fire engines greeted the funeral procession.

In a news release sent out at 4:16 p.m., Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner announced that they will cosponsor a bipartisan bill to award all 13 servicemembers a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the legislature.

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the 13 servicemembers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the last days of the war in Afghanistan,” Warner and Kaine said in a joint statement. “We must never forget their bravery. Honoring them with the Congressional Gold Medal is one way to remember their heroic service to our nation.”

Jay Westcott contributed to this report.

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