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Morning Notes

People walk by Caffi Field, a football field in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Driver in Fatal Franconia Crash Charged With Manslaughter — Sara Flores, 20, of Lorton was charged with involuntary vehicular manslaughter yesterday morning (Thursday) for a May 12 crash in Franconia where she allegedly drove into a telephone pole, killing a passenger. Police had already obtained a warrant charging Flores with driving under the influence. [FCPD]

Developer Pleads Guilty in Teen’s Death — “The owner of a Virginia construction company that specializes in luxury homes pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 16-year-old boy who was killed while working for his company in 2019. Thomas Digges, of Digges Development Corporation, operated the Fairfax County job site where a trench gave way and buried Spencer Lunde, of McLean, on July 23, 2019.” [NBC4]

Two Displaced by Fair Oaks Townhouse Fire — A fire at a three-story townhouse in the 12000 block of Dorforth Drive on Wednesday (Aug. 10) was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says. The fire displaced two residents and resulted in approximately $175,000 in damages. [FCFRD]

One Rescued From Annandale House Fire — “8/11/22 at 1:08 a.m., in 3800 block of Gallows Road. One occupant trapped on 2nd floor was rescued by #FCFRD crews via ladder. Fire contained to basement. No injuries. NO smoke alarms found in home! Cause: improperly discarded smoking material. Damages $16K.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

County Names New Planning and Development Director — Fairfax County has appointed Tracy Strunk as director of its Department of Planning and Development, where she succeeds Barbara Byron, who retired earlier this year. Strunk’s career for the county goes back to 1998 and includes work as a planner and a member of the team that helped develop the Tysons Comprehensive Plan. [Fairfax County Government]

Fairfax County Public Schools Creates Program to Help Hire Teachers — “[Catherine] Coulter is entering her first year teaching in Virginia’s largest school system as a teaching resident, a newly-created position aimed at placing qualified teachers in classrooms while they take the final steps toward receiving a specific certification.” [WTOP]

Expansions and Renovations in Progress at FCPS — “Most students and teachers have taken the summer off, but Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has been busy with its usual tall order of school renovations and additions. Improvements now are in progress at these schools in the Sun Gazette’s readership area” [Sun Gazette]

Falls Church Development Nears Movie Theater Lease — “Developers of the new Founder’s Row mixed use development…announced through a new filing with the City that it is ‘in the final stages of securing a lease with Paragon Theaters,’ noting that ‘Paragon will operate a seven-screen movie theater, including an IMAX-similar screen with a total capacity of approximately 600 seats.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Fairfax Shopping Center Gets New Mural — “If you’ve been by the Giant at Scout on the Circle recently you might have noticed some color appearing on the walls! The Abstract Expressionist painting on the corner of the building is by Steven Johnson. Johnson is a Indiana biased artist, who recently made his art available in the public domain.” [City of Fairfax/Facebook]

It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 81 and low of 68. Sunrise at 6:21 am and sunset at 8:09 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A popsicle melts at Capital One Center’s The Perch in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Dog Dies in Newington Townhouse Fire — Unattended cooking started a fire at a townhouse in the 6700 block of Red Bird Woods Court last Friday (July 15) that displaced one resident and caused approximately $93,750 in damages. County firefighters found a dog while searching the property that was given medical care but didn’t survive. [FCFRD]

Fairfax Nonprofit Helps Rescued Beagles — The Fairfax-based animal rescue group Homeward Trails is one of several shelters across the country helping the Humane Society find homes for beagles rescued from a Cumberland breeding facility. The nonprofit will place 1,500 of the dogs and has already received almost 1,000 adoption applications. [Washingtonian]

New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Available — “A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County…Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing [National Suicide Prevention Lifeline] number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.” [Fairfax County Government]

GW Parkway Rehab Could Bring Traffic Cameras — “WTOP has learned that an upcoming major rehabilitation of the George Washington Parkway’s northern section will lay the groundwork — literally — for live traffic cameras along a 7-mile stretch of the roadway running from the Capital Beltway to Spout Run. Ground was broken for the project on Monday.” [WTOP]

McLean Baseball Player Drafted by New York Mets — “Add one more significant achievement, and likely the best of all, in a season full of big accomplishments and recognitions for Nick Morabito. The McLean resident and 2022 graduate of Gonzaga College High School recently was chosen in the second round (75th pick overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets.” [Sun Gazette]

Great Falls Bank to Expand — “Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region. The private placement…could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar.” [Washington Business Journal]

Annandale Park Field Named After Advocate — “In action at their regular meeting on July 13, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to name rectangular field 6 at Pine Ridge Park in honor of Wanda Rixon at the request of the Fairfax Women’s Soccer Association (FWSA)…FWSA and Rixon played an instrumental role in the effort to retain Pine Ridge Park as permanent park land.” [FCPA]

DMV Stops by Tysons Library Tomorrow — “Looking to renew your license, get the real ID and more? The DMV is visiting the Tysons-Pimmit Library. Registration is required and an appointment can be made here. Please note the DMV takes a lunch break from 12:30pm-1:30pm.” [FCPL]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A dog was rescued after a fire in the Frying Pan area of Fairfax County broke out Wednesday morning (July 13), the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported yesterday (Thursday)

The fire — which was mostly controlled by two sprinklers in the apartment on the 2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle — was caused when combustible items near the burner of the electric stove caught fire, according to fire investigators. 

The dog was successfully rescued from the apartment unit, and no other individuals were home at the time of the incident. Two residents were displaced by the fire. 

Damages of roughly $37,500 were reported.

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) A tractor-trailer caught fire on I-495 this afternoon (Wednesday), shutting down all southbound lanes at the Route 50 interchange in Merrifield.

The fire appears to have sparked right as the afternoon rush hour was getting underway. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported at 4:16 p.m. that it has units on the scene working to extinguish the fire.

“Currently no clue as to how long the entire roadway will be closed,” a fire department spokesperson told FFXnow.

There have been no reported injuries resulting from the fire, according to FCFRD, which notes that the express lanes are open.

The Virginia Department of Transportation advises that drivers find an alternate route. VDOT traffic cameras suggest vehicles backups on the Beltway extend past Tysons to the Lewinsville Road bridge.

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A malfunctioning battery pack caused a townhouse fire in Frying Pan on Saturday (via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department)

A malfunctioning battery pack has been ruled as the cause of a townhouse fire in the Frying Pan area of Fairfax County.

Fire officials say that the fire, which happened on Saturday (June 18) around 9:30 a.m., started in the third-floor bedroom of the townhouse on the 13000 block of Rose Petal Circle. A charging lithium-ion battery pack was to blame.

“No occupants were home at the time of the fire,” the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said in an update released yesterday (Wednesday). “The fire was discovered by neighbors who observed fire coming from the third-floor window. 9-1-1 was called. Smoke alarms were present and activated, according to witness statements.”

Two dogs were rescued from the home. No injuries were reported.

The fire displaced two residents and caused roughly $93,750 in damages. Red Cross services were offered and declined.

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Morning Notes

A heron flying above Lake Audubon in Reston (photo by Marjorie Copson)

County Seeks Feedback on Covid Response — While the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, Fairfax County is starting to evaluate how it handled the crisis. The county government is conducting two surveys — one for the community and one for businesses — to gather feedback on people’s experiences. The surveys are available online and at county libraries until July 5. [Fairfax County Government]

Fairfax City Community to Weigh in on Street Renamings — “Fairfax City Council is hosting a public hearing at its regular meeting Tuesday night to solicit feedback on a proposal to rename 14 streets in the city whose current names are associated with the confederacy, slavery or the ‘Lost Cause.'” [Patch]

Trash Pile Fire Extinguished in Lorton — “Units are on scene of a large outside trash pile fire in the 9800 block of Furnace Road, Lorton. The fire is contained but crews are working to fully extinguish it.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Learn the History of Juneteenth — Author and University of Maryland history professor Dr. Richard Bell will discuss the history and significance of Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery in the U.S. As of last night (Monday), there are still openings for the hour-long, virtual presentation, which will start at 6:30 p.m. and requires advance registration. [FCPL]

Lincolnia Fire Started by Unattended Cooking — A townhouse fire in the 4500 block of Southland Avenue on Friday (June 10) displaced five people and caused approximately $77,747 in damages. Investigators determined that the fire was started accidentally by “unattended food cooking on the stove” in the kitchen. [FCFRD]

Vienna Eases Rules for Roofs Over Decks — “The Vienna Town Council voted tonight to amend the zoning ordinance to enable homeowners to upgrade their outdoor living space by putting a roof over up to 400 square feet of a deck under certain conditions. For more details, visit http://viennava.gov/zoning.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

County Urges Vigilance for Signs of Child Abuse — “Fairfax County is asking community members to be on the lookout for possible signs of abuse and neglect, now that kids are out of class…Twana Johnson, assistant program manager, child abuse & neglect prevention services at the Department of Family Services, says as child supervision declines during summer months, so do calls to the hotline.” [WDVM]

FCPS Program Teaches Kids How to Ride Bicycles — “33 schools participate in the program, including both elementary schools — which typically have 30 bikes and 40 helmets on hand at a given time. [Safe Routes to Schools coordinator Sally] Smallwood estimates 10% to 20% of FCPS students in grades three to eight do not know how to ride a bike.” [ABC7]

It’s Tuesday — Rain in the morning. High of 83 and low of 72. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Sunrise Senior Living is under construction at 1515 Chain Bridge Road in McLean (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

County Officials React to Oakton Crash — Multiple Fairfax County elected officials expressed devastation at news that two Oakton High School students have died after a vehicle crash in Oakton yesterday (Tuesday). Crisis support services are available for students, according to school board members. [Twitter]

Fire Reported at Prosperity Flats Apartments — “Fire sprinklers extinguished a fire Tuesday night at a high-rise apartment building in Dunn Loring, according to a 6:58 p.m. post on the Fairfax Fire & Rescue Department’s official Twitter account. Fire units were called earlier to the apartment building in the 2700 block of Dorr Avenue after eighth floor residents reported seeing smoke.” [Patch]

Fairfax County Marks Pride Month — “Today, the Board of Supervisors proclaimed June 2022 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. We urge all county residents, employees and elected officials to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community, and to stand up, speak out and show support for those who face prejudice and discrimination.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

Police Set Up Car Parts Theft Task Force — “The Fairfax County Police Department has created a Catalytic Converter Task Force to investigate the theft of the converters and any organized regional rings behind the increase in thefts…From January to April this year, 333 catalytic converters were stolen in Fairfax County, compared with just 27 similar thefts over the same period in 2021.” [Patch]

Major Broadband Investment Announced in Springfield — Virginia will receive $219.8 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to expand broadband access, Sen. Mark Warner announced yesterday at Northern Virginia Community College’s Springfield campus. The American Rescue Plan Act funds will be allocated to local governments through grants and could improve access in an estimated 76,873 locations. [Mark Warner]

New FCPS Budget Supports Virtual Mental Health Services — “As part of the $3.3 billion budget, school board officials allocated $500,000 for telehealth mental health services for students. The Virginia county is still in the early stages of identifying a vendor for the services, but county officials said program possibilities include access to physical and behavioral health providers and mobile services that would allow students to use their devices for symptom management or tracking.” [WTOP]

Fairfax City Moves Back Fourth of July Celebration — The City of Fairfax will hold its Independence Day Evening Show on July 5 at Fairfax High School due to a shortage of licensed pyrotechnicians. The city says its fireworks vendor has canceled more than two dozen contracts, an issue that has also affected the Town of Vienna. [Fairfax City]

New Urgent Care Clinic Opens in Lorton — Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic has opened a new weekend urgent care clinic in its Lorton office (10716 Richmond Highway, Suite 101) to help patients with acute bone and joint injuries. The clinic, which has also has offices in Fairfax, Arlington, and at Mount Vernon Hospital, accepts both walk-in patients and appointments. [M2 Orthopedics]

It’s Wednesday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 82 and low of 69. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:34 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A Groveton home was struck by lightning Thursday, causing a fire that was quickly extinguished, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said.

No one was at the home in the 6800 block of Duke Drive at the time of the lightning strike but one neighbor happened to catch a video of it on a doorbell camera, the department said in a press release. The fire started on the exterior wall of a second-floor bedroom.

Firefighters arrived around 7 p.m. and saw smoke coming from the front of the two-story, single family home. They quickly extinguished the fire and contained it between the first and second floor, the release said.

The fire caused approximately $25,000 in damage but no occupants were displaced.

Video via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

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Morning Notes

The former Crate and Barrel building on International Drive in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Truck Fire Shuts Down I-95 South — “Saturday around 4:30 p.m., units were dispatched for a Truck Fire on I-95 South at Mile Marker 161. Multiple Vehicles on fire being transported by 18-Wheeler Vehicle Carrier, located in local lanes. Multiple Lanes were shutdown in southbound lanes. No reported injuries.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

BB Gun Drawn in Reston Over Smoking Confrontation — A security guard was surrounded by 10 juveniles outside a business in the 11900 block of Market Street on May 31 after telling them that smoking was not allowed there. One of the juveniles displayed a handgun that police later determined was “a replica style Glock BB gun.” No injuries were reported, but police intend to seek petitions for charges. [FCPD]

Idylwood Section of W&OD Trail Opens — A new, realigned section of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail by Idylwood Park has opened. Work on the new trail segment began in January to accommodate new ramps constructed as part of the project to add express lanes on I-66 outside the Capital Beltway. [W&OD Trail/Twitter]

Vienna Police Busy During Memorial Day Weekend — According to the most recent weekly report, the Vienna Police Department responded to a variety of incidents during last week’s ViVa Vienna festival. Issues included a juvenile attempting to enter a locked trailer, a driver backing into a police vehicle, and thefts of $20, a beverage, and 100 wristbands. [Sun Gazette]

Firefighters Rescue Kitten in Woodlawn — “On Saturday, May 28, a crew from Woodlawn Fire Station (Tower 424) responded to a non-emergency call from the Mount Vernon area about a whimpering kitten that had been stuck in a tree for over an hour. The team of first responders, led by Lt. Dave Bender, used the bucket to access the kitten and bring it to safety.” [On the MoVe]

See Photos from Reston Pride — The 2022 Reston Pride Festival was held at Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday (June 4). The festival’s fifth iteration featured more than 65 vendors, drag and spoken word performances, the acapella quartet Kinsey Sicks, and more. [Washington Blade]

Things to Do in Fairfax County This Summer — Fairfax County’s guide to the season highlights outdoor concerts, swimming pools and water parks, a “family adventure pass” to county rec centers, the Fairfax County Public Library’s summer reading program, and the recently launched “Potomac Banks” tourism campaign. [Fairfax County Government]

It’s Monday — Clear throughout the day. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:33 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Improperly discarded smoking materials caused a West Falls Church apartment fire on Sunday (May 29) that damaged 11 units, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said.

Around 2:51 p.m., crews from the county and Arlington County Fire Department responded to the 2900 block of Dover Lane and saw fire visible from the third-floor balcony, according to a press release.

There were three people in the apartment at the time of the fire, which a neighbor saw on the balcony and alerted the building occupants to, the release said. Everyone evacuated before the fire department arrived.

Due to the hot temperatures that day, and the location of the fire, the City of Fairfax Fire Department also responded.

“Crews were able to bring the fire under control quickly,” the release said. “There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported.”

The fire caused about $158,500 in damage and displaced “multiple people,” according to the FCFRD. Smoke alarms did not go off because of the location of the fire.

The local American Red Cross says it assisted 11 families in the wake of the fire.

“Trained disaster workers provided emotional support and financial resources for essentials like safe shelter, food and clothing,” said Ashley Henyan, a spokesperson with the National Capital and Greater Chesapeake Region Red Cross. “Volunteer teams also assisted with replacing medications or medical assistive devices — according to need. In the days and weeks ahead, Red Cross caseworkers will follow up with impacted families as they continue down the road to recovery.”

Henyan says families and individuals affected by this or any other disaster can call 1-800-RED-CROSS for assistance.

Photos courtesy of @xthefirephoto 

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