Undeveloped land in Mount Vernon near Richmond Highway that had been eyed for an elementary school is now being considered for an early childhood education center instead.
As part of its approval of the latest Capital Improvements Program (CIP) on Feb. 9, the Fairfax County School Board voted unanimously to reallocate $500,000 in bond funding to the proposed center, which will take the place of a planned Route 1/Pinewood Lakes elementary school.
The money will help Fairfax County Public Schools start planning and designing the facility earlier than previously anticipated in the spending plan, according to School Board Vice Chair Tamara Derenak Kaufax, who represents the Franconia District and proposed the amendment.
“Based on the current budget, this project would have available approximately 15,000 to 20,000 square feet for dedicated classroom use,” Derenak Kaufax said during the board meeting (at the 5:17:33 mark). “The space would allow for up to 400 pre-K, Early Head Start or preschool special education students to gain that critical, strong educational start.”
The center will be located in the Woodlawn neighborhood on 10 acres of land owned by the school board next to Buckman Road near Lakepark Drive. The board also has a smaller, adjacent site at 4300 Keswick Road, but only the larger parcel will be used, Derenak Kaufax told FFXnow.
FCPS first proposed building an elementary school to serve the northern Route 1 corridor in 2013. Voters approved a school bond referendum that November that included nearly $21.2 million for the project — funds still listed in the newly approved CIP for fiscal years 2024-2028 as “projected future project spending.”
However, after the referendum passed, the Department of Defense moved over 11,000 jobs in the area to Fort Belvoir, and FCPS got federal grant funds to build an elementary school on the military base, “alleviating the immediate capacity need” for the Route 1 school, Derenak Kaufax told the school board.
FCPS administrators wrote a report last spring recommending the site be used for a standalone pre-kindergarten center, and Superintendent Michelle Reid brought the proposal to the school board on Sept. 12.
While Fairfax County has seen a general dip in child care options during the pandemic, the need for more early childhood education capacity, particularly in the Richmond Highway corridor, was “significant” even before Covid, Mount Vernon District School Board Representative Karen Corbett-Sanders said. Read More
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) An 18-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection to a fatal shooting in the Woodlawn neighborhood on Saturday, the Fairfax County Police Department announced this morning (Wednesday).
Kevin Alexander Lemus was arrested around 7 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday) after police found him in the 7200 block of John Paul Drive in Groveton, FCPD Major Crimes Bureau Cyber and Forensics Commander Maj. Ed O’Carroll said at a press conference.
After his arrest, Lemus was transported to the Fairfax County Public Safety Headquarters, where he confessed to pulling the trigger that killed 19-year-old Annandale resident Darlin Ariel Diaz Flores, according to O’Carroll.
Also charged with possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, Lemus has had over 80 previous encounters with local law enforcement, including “numerous serious contacts,” police say.
“We are all safer with Lemus behind bars,” O’Carroll said. “He chose to have a gun, not his first time. He chose to shoot a man and ultimately take a life. Now, he will face consequences for his actions.”
According to police, Diaz Flores was in Woodlawn after attending a social event in Maryland and was waiting with friends to get a ride home outside an apartment in the 8400 block of Graves Street.
The confrontation that resulted in the shooting started with an exchange of “very simple words” between Diaz Flores and Lemus, who was passing by, O’Carroll said. Police don’t believe the two men knew each other, the department told FFXnow.
Diaz Flores was shot in the upper body, and Lemus fled the scene, police say. After a community member called 911 at 9:34 p.m., police officers found Diaz Flores, and he was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died shortly after arriving.
According to O’Carroll, FCPD detectives embarked on a multi-day canvass of the neighborhood, where they interviewed witnesses and residents, looked for surveillance footage, and collected forensic evidence from the scene.
“Their important work eventually led to a big break in the case, and Lemus was identified as our killer,” O’Carroll said.
When asked by FFXnow, the FCPD didn’t elaborate on how Lemus was identified as the suspect or his past encounters with local police, stating that it is “not able to discuss juvenile records.”
The gun used in the shooting hasn’t been located, according to the department, which advises anyone with information to contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2, or through Crime Solvers.
Fairfax County General District Court records show that Lemus was already facing three felony charges stemming from an April 20 incident and arrest. He faced two counts of possession of schedule I or II drugs and a related gun possession charge.
A judge had released Lemus in April on a personal recognizance bond of $2,500, the court told FFXnow, though the records don’t show the reasoning behind that decision.
The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney confirmed that the release was the judge’s decision. Fairfax County’s public defender’s office, which is listed on court records as Lemus’s defense attorney, said it had no comment.
Lemus is now being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 25 for a hearing on both cases.
Diaz Flores was the 11th person killed by gunfire in Fairfax County this year, according to the police department.
Photo via FCPD/Twitter
A 19-year-old man from Annandale died Saturday (Sept. 17) after being shot during what police describe as a “confrontation” outside the Woodlawn Garden Apartments.
Darlin Ariel Diaz Flores was reported shot at 9:34 p.m. by a community member who heard a gunshot and found him laying on a sidewalk in the 8400 block of Graves Street, the Fairfax County Police Department said yesterday (Sunday).
When officers arrived at the scene, they found Diaz Flores suffering from gunshot wounds to the upper body, according to police.
“Officers provided life-saving measures and Daiz Flores was transported to Fairfax Hospital with injuries that were considered life threatening,” the FCPD said in its blog post. “Flores was pronounced deceased at 10:22 p.m.”
A preliminary investigation indicates Diaz Flores was with a group of friends outside a nearby apartment when an argument began with a passerby, escalating into gunfire. Police say the suspect was described as a Hispanic man, and he was wearing a black hoodie and black pants at the time of the shooting.
The FCPD is also investigating a separate shooting that occurred in Annandale on Sunday.
According to a tweet from 5:43 p.m., police found a man with a gunshot wound to his lower body in the 3300 block of Woodburn Road, near Inova Fairfax Hospital. The man was hospitalized with injuries initially considered life-threatening.
The victim’s condition was later upgraded, but he remains in the hospital, as of yesterday evening.
If anyone has information about the incidents, the FCPD advises calling its Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS), text (type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411), and online.
“Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest,” the FCPD says.
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]