(Updated at 5:05 p.m. on 2/29/2024) Fairfax County’s supervisors believe that grassland birds deserve a safe nesting ground, even if it’s atop a former landfill.
The Board of Supervisors directed county staff on Feb. 20 to work with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia to identify areas within the I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Road) in Lorton where mowing can be minimized to protect grassland birds during their nesting season.
Though the facility still provides waste disposal services, most of the landfill closed around the late 1980s to early 1990s, according to Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck’s office.
Since then, the site has become a habitat for 100 species of grassland birds, including grasshopper sparrows, eastern meadowlarks, bobolinks and American kestrels.
“These are all birds of concern because of declining grassland habitats,” Greg Butcher, the former director of bird conservation for the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, told FFXnow in an email.
The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) currently has an agreement with the Audubon Society to permit bird monitoring at the landfill.
Recently, the environmental organization reached out to the board, urging the county to consider restrictions on mowing during the nesting season, from April 1 to mid-July, due to its potential to destroy nests and eggs and harm fledglings and adult birds.
However, since federal and state regulations require mowing for post-closure maintenance of the landfill, DPWES and the Audubon Society must collaborate with DEQ to devise a strategy that both preserves nesting birds and ensures access to the landfill cover and gas wells, while also maintaining proper drainage.
Representatives from DPWES and the Audubon Society are set to start discussions soon and aim to formulate a plan in the upcoming weeks, DPWES Deputy Director Eric Forbes told FFXnow in an email.
“We are anticipating about a month for the development and coordination of the pilot plan to try to be ready for this season’s bird nesting,” he said. “The pilot plan would include a map showing no mow areas, access pathways to our landfill infrastructure (gas wells and stormwater conveyance), and a schedule for mowing in non-peak nesting season.”
For its part, the Audubon Society plans to send volunteers to map the locations of the birds and their potential nesting areas, Butcher says. But he noted the organization doesn’t know yet how big the “no-mow” area will need to be.
It’s also unclear how much the project will cost, but the board asked staff to provide an estimate in a report.
In addition, a public park with trails, an amphitheater and other amenities is being developed on the former Lorton Landfill across the street at 10001 Furnace Road. Owned by Furnace Associates, Inc., the private landfill stopped accepting construction and demolition debris in 2018 and completed the closure process in 2021.
Correction: This story originally conflated the I-95 Landfill Complex with the privately owned Lorton Landfill. It has been updated to clarify that the two sites are different. Image via Google Maps
Another person has been killed in a crash in the Richmond Highway corridor.
An adult man was transported to a hospital in life-threatening condition. He was pronounced deceased at the hospital, the Fairfax County Police Department said at 10:37 a.m.
“Memorial St is closed as our Crash Reconstruction Unit investigates,” the police department tweeted.
Officers are on scene of a single vehicle crash on Memorial St at Richmond Hwy in Hybla Valley. One adult man was taken to the hospital in life threatening condition and pronounced deceased. Memorial St is closed as our Crash Reconstruction Unit investigates. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/Y4LgKkLIUH
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) February 22, 2024
Just minutes earlier, around 9:21 a.m., Richmond Highway was shut down in both directions in the Lorton area after a multiple-vehicle crash at Hassett Street. Police said at 10:16 a.m. that an adult woman was taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.
“Please use an alternate route,” the FCPD said.
Both directions of Richmond Hwy closed for roadway clean up:
Officers on scene of a multiple vehicle crash at Richmond Hwy and Hassett St in Lorton. One adult woman taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Please use an alternate route. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/T4HyGmVAY9
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) February 22, 2024
There have now been four fatal crashes along Richmond Highway this month.
A man was arrested on Sunday (Feb. 18) after a reported hit-and-run that killed a pedestrian at the Brevard Court intersection in Woodlawn, and another pedestrian died in a crash at Belfield Road in Belle Haven on Feb. 15. In addition, a 19-year-old driver died after rear-ending a dump truck in Lorton on Feb. 14.
Map via Google Maps
(Updated at 2:25 p.m. on 2/15/2024) A 19-year-old driver was killed Wednesday (Feb. 14) when he crashed into a dump truck on Richmond Highway, police say.
Police and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units were called to the intersection of Richmond Highway (Route 1) and Giles Run Road around 6:25 a.m. for the crash, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.
“Caller’s advising he’s in a dump truck,” the dispatcher said, noting that at least one of the vehicles was reportedly overturned. “…The whole intersection is blocked.”
One of the drivers, an adult man, was declared dead at the scene, the Fairfax County Police Department said on Twitter at 7:14 a.m.
Richmond Highway was closed in both directions from Gunston Road to the exit ramp off I-95 while police investigated.
In an update released today (Thursday), the FCPD identified the man who died as Occoquan resident Jason Emeric Brunsman.
A preliminary investigation found that Brunsman was driving south on Richmond Highway in a Ford Transit van when he rear-ended a roll-back dumpster truck that was waiting to turn left onto Giles Run Road. The dump truck driver wasn’t injured in the crash, according to police.
“Preliminarily, detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit do not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash and are investigating to determine if speed was a factor,” the FCPD said.
Brunsman was the sixth person to be killed in a traffic crash in Fairfax County this year, the police department says. At this time in 2023, there had been three fatalities.
Officers are on scene of a fatal vehicle crash involving a dump truck and a van at the intersection of Rt. 1 & Giles Run in Lorton. Rt. 1 closed in both directions for the investigation. One adult male driver declared deceased at the scene. Please use an alternate route. pic.twitter.com/jlgyZmLjpF
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) February 14, 2024
Image via VDOT
Fairfax County police recently arrested a D.C. man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at a park in Lorton on New Year’s Day.
Police believe Mohannad Yousef Abura, 39, may have posed as a ride-share driver when he picked up the woman in Dupont Circle after midnight on Jan. 1, according to a news release published today.
Driving a blue Volkswagen Jetta sedan, Abura offered to take the woman home but instead drove her to an unnamed Lorton park and sexually assaulted her, the Fairfax County Police Department says.
Abura was arrested on Jan. 30, according to county court records. He has been charged with rape and abduction with the intent to defile, both felonies.
“Detectives are concerned there may be additional victims and are seeking information from the community who may have had unlawful contact with Abura,” the FCPD said.
The department is asking community members to call its Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3, if they have any information. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Fairfax Crime Solvers.
Abura is currently in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond. A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for May 7, per the Fairfax County General District Court.
(Updated at 1:30 p.m. on 12/8/2023) A growing chain restaurant that specializes in poke bowls is making its first foray into Fairfax County.
Poke Bros. says it anticipates a “large audience of hungry customers” for today’s grand opening of its new franchise in Lorton Marketplace. Doors will open at 9453 Lorton Market Street, Suite 17, at 11 a.m.
“Most fast food options out there are the same old fried food,” Poke Bros founder Xue Gong Chen said in a press release. “We’re proud that Poke Bros gives people something that’s quick and easy for lunch or dinner but with fresh, healthy ingredients and great flavor. Good food should be easy to grab on the go.”
A traditional Hawaiian cuisine, poke originated in pre-colonial days as cut-up raw fish that was eaten with fresh seaweed and preserved with sea salt. Influenced by Japanese immigrants, the dish evolved into its present-day form around the 1970s, becoming trendy in the mainland U.S. over the past decade — to some disapproval from Hawaiians.
Poke Bros was started in 2016 by Chen and two friends who first encountered the dish during a trip to California, according to its website. They opened the first restaurant in December of that year in Columbus, Ohio, with the goal of bringing “an inexpensive and accessible product” to the Midwest.
The fast-casual chain has now expanded to 72 locations in 13 states. The Lorton franchise is just the company’s second in Virginia, joining a location in Midlothian, and its first in the immediate D.C. area.
The menu features signature bowls — such as a “Johnny Utah” with salmon, avocado, edamame, cucumber, masago, Sriracha aioli and the chain’s exclusive, soy-based OG sauce — as well as a build-your-own option with rice and salad bases. There’s also mochi ice cream.
Anchored by Amazon Fresh, Lorton Marketplace is one of three main commercial centers emerging in the area once dominated by Lorton Prison. Other dining options in the shopping center include Glory Days Grill, Chipotle, Tropical Smoothie Cafe and the Japanese restaurant Tokyo One.
The mission of the Lorton center is to enhance the quality of life for clients by providing food, basic needs, and self-sufficiency programs.
“The Lorton Community Action Center has had a longstanding relationship with the Junior League of Northern Virginia,” said Rob Rutland-Brown, executive director of the center. “We are thrilled that JLNV is stepping into an even more generous role – these donations will ensure that women have access to necessary period products whenever they need them,”
The deepened partnership is part of the Junior League’s new focus: Women Helping Women, a commitment to providing essential services and professional development training opportunities for women and families in the community, according to a news release.
Michelle Freeman, president of the Junior League, noted that statistics show that 20% of women in the Washington area live in poverty.
“Lack of access to period products is often a hidden consequence,” she added. “Our partnership will provide much-needed period products in our local area and really embraces our new focus area.”
Buildings that once housed inmates are instead being used to care for infants and toddlers.
“The center will begin operations October 16, eventually welcoming up to 156 children into two historic buildings that once served as maximum-security units at the heart of the old prison complex,” a release from Brynmor said. “In place of the cell blocks are whimsical, light-filled rooms for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. A courtyard between units now boasts a grassy play area with a cement tricycle racetrack, climbing logs, and a ‘mud kitchen.'”
The new facility brings much-needed new childcare to Northern Virginia as part of a development that also includes apartments and retail.
Between 1917 and 1919, a group of women called the Silent Sentinels protested outside the White House. Many of them, including Alice Paul, were arrested and taken to the Lorton prison. They were beaten and subjected to force-feeding, acts which drew national attention to their cause.
Now, the prison has been transformed into the Workhouse Arts Center and Liberty Market, a shopping/dining destination with 352 new residential units. At the center of that new development, Brynmor Early Education & Preschool will be offering classes for children from 6 weeks old through 5 years old.
The school was founded by CEO Rhian Evans Allvin, who previously led the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). She says her goal is for Brynmor’s flagship facility to give the youngest children the “developmental start they need to thrive in life.”
“I am pleased to welcome Brynmor to Liberty to provide much needed child care within this new community,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck said in a release. “This is a great day for our youngest Lorton residents.”
Over at the Workhouse Arts Campus (9518 Workhouse Way), more former prison buildings are being refurbished, with a second location for Fairfax’s Bunnyman Brewing slated to open in one of them.
(Updated at 1:05 p.m.) Fairfax County is ready to unveil its new, combined police station and animal shelter in Lorton.
The Fairfax County Animal Shelter’s Lorton campus and the Lorton District Police Station will get a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Oct. 28. The event will start with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., followed by an open house with games, refreshments, tours and more from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The animal shelter announced on Wednesday (Oct. 11) that its Lorton campus will open for dog, cat and small animal adoptions on Thursday, Oct. 26, but all drop-offs should still be made at the Michael Frey Animal Shelter in Fairfax (4500 West Ox Road) through Oct. 31.
Located at 8875 Lorton Road, the 23,000-square-foot shelter features 44 dog kennels, 42 cat “condos,” two “catios,” a veterinary clinic and a 20,000-square-foot outdoor space for the animals.
The additional space will help relieve capacity at the Fairfax shelter, which has been strained by a post-pandemic influx of pet surrenders, particularly dogs. The expansion will also enable the Fairfax County Animal Shelter (FCAS) to provide services and housing for animals from Fairfax City.
“This facility will allow us to substantially grow the geographic reach and impact of our work for the residents of Fairfax County,” FCAS Director Reasa Currier said. “Not only will we be able to create even more families through adoption, but the second shelter will provide a hub for essential services including behavior and training support, veterinary medical care, pet supplies and other critical services that help keep pets with their families.”
Currier added that she’s excited to welcome South County residents “who may have not have had access to our resources and services before,” given the distance to the Fairfax shelter.
The animal shelter is co-located with the Lorton District Police Station, a 34,000-square-foot facility at 8855 Lorton Road. The Fairfax County Police Department has said the new South County station will improve service by allowing smaller patrol areas and reducing response times.
The FCPD has appointed Capt. Richard Morvillo as the station’s first commander.
“He is charged with beginning to develop community relationships with existing advisory committees and HOAs,” the FCPD’s public affairs bureau told FFXnow. “He also will serve as a conduit for any concerns brought to his attention to be relayed to the station commanders responsible for a particular area of the County until Lorton is fully operational.”
When fully staffed, the station will have 70 sworn officers and 10 professional staff employees. There will be about 20 to 30 officers working each day across two shifts, according to the police department.
As the FCPD waits for incoming recruits to alleviate a staff shortage, the new station will follow a phased approach, with officers from the Sully, West Springfield and Franconia districts continuing to patrol the Lorton District area.
“During the initial stages of the opening, the police department plans to begin front desk operations during the day and will have an emergency phone available outside during hours the station may be closed for community members to contact the police,” the FCPD said. “Coverage of the southern county patrol areas will remain the same until we begin transferring officers into the new station.”
In addition to Morvillo, the first phase of staffing includes a police lieutenant and former Fairfax County NAACP president Shirley Ginwright as a new community outreach specialist, On the MoVe reported.
The joint Lorton facilities broke ground in May 2021 after years of planning. The project cost an estimated $30 million for design and construction, funded by a $151 million public safety bond referendum approved by voters in 2015.
Updated at 5:45 p.m. on 10/8/2023 — Police have identified the suspect in Friday’s Lorton stabbing as 27-year-old Jorge Andres Esquivel Rivera, the son of the victim.
Updated at 10:25 a.m. on 10/7/2023 — The man suspected of stabbing a woman in Lorton was arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol in Jacksonville last night (Friday), the Fairfax County Police Department announced today.
“He is now facing a charge of Aggravated Malicious Wounding and will be extradited back to Fairfax County,” the FCPD said in a tweet.
Earlier: A woman has been hospitalized with potentially life-threatening injuries after a person stabbed her at a home in Lorton.
A dispatcher told responding officers that the victim was reported to be bleeding and appeared to have been beaten up, leading police to believe that the stabbing is a case of domestic violence.
The Fairfax County Police Department says the suspect is believed to have fled the scene in a vehicle.
“The victim remains hospitalized,” the FCPD said in a tweet. “The suspect is believed to have left the area. Detectives continue to investigate.”
The victim remains hospitalized. The suspect is believed to have left the area. Detectives continue to investigate. Follow our blog for available information. https://t.co/9NaOOFJFZa
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) October 6, 2023
An 89-year-old man has died in the wake of a two-vehicle crash on Route 123 (Ox Road) in the Lorton area.
Around 9:40 a.m. on Saturday (Sept. 23), Lloyd South, 89, of Fairfax Station was headed east on Ox Road in a 2014 Nissan Frontier truck when he “disregarded” a stop sign and collided with a 2018 Volvo XC90 SUV, the Fairfax County Police Department reported today (Monday).
“The impact caused the Volvo to spin then collide with a highway sign in the median and into the guardrail,” the FCPD said.
“A complaintant passed by, giving more information [about] a black truck spinning out, blocking two lanes on southbound 123, a bit more north at…Workhouse [Road],” a dispatcher said at 9:44 a.m.
According to police, South was transported to a hospital, where he died yesterday (Sunday).
The Volvo driver and passengers were also taken to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, the FCPD said.
“Preliminarily, speed and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the crash,” police said.
South is the 12th person to die as a result of a vehicle crash that didn’t involve a pedestrian in Fairfax County this year, exceeding the 10 such deaths that had occurred at this time last year, according to the FCPD.
He was among two fatalities from the past weekend, joining a pedestrian who was killed on the Capital Beltway (I-495) in the Merrifield area yesterday.