How Much Have We Lost?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Demolish Woodlawn Elementary School?

Woodlawn Elementary School Today
The Mt. Vernon-Lee part of Fairfax County has always been known for its history.  The Mt. Vernon Estate is our crown jewel.  The Woodlawn Mansion is a National Historic Landmark and the entire estate is subject to a historic zoning district.  The Grist Mill is growing in popularity.  Gunston Hall was the home of founding father George Mason.

U.S. 1 was renamed "Historic Route One" by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2010 with an amendment by Governor McDonnell to HB530 that I requested honoring Route 1 for its trove of historic assets.  One other asset along the road is Woodlawn Elementary School, but it is threatened.

History of U.S. 1: Early Schools along Route One, Part 3


In 2006, the Mount Vernon Gazette ran a series of articles by local author Michael K. Bohn on the history of U.S. 1. They provide some interesting history on U.S. 1.
The following was written by Michael K. Bohn and ran in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, in 2006.
Early Schools along Route One, Part 3

Michael K. Bohn
Mount Vernon Gazette, 2006

This is the final part of the schools segment in the Route One history series. It describes the remaining historic elementary schools and early high schools near Route One.

Potter’s Hill offere a few high school courses, but
was primarily an elementary school.
Potter’s Hill. Telegraph and Accotink Roads (now approximately Telegraph and Beulah Roads). Built prior to1879, the school was replaced by a new structure in 1917 that offered both elementary grades as well as a few high school subjects. Not deeded to the county until 1918, Potter’s Hill burned in 1934.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Little Hunting Creek Cleanup 2013!

It's 2013 and it's time again!  On Saturday, April 6, 2013, the Alice Ferguson Foundation is hosting it's 25th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup!

RSVP NOW BELOW!

Once again, we are back to Little Hunting Creek and this time we are back in force!  My preliminary investigation of the creek has located at least a dozen shopping carts and thousands of bottles, cans and bags along with the usual assortment of bike and other trash. Last year we over 90 volunteers cleared the following from just 1/2 mile of creek:
  • 139 Shopping Carts
  • 120 bags of trash
  • Nearly two dozen tires
  • Over a Dozen Bikes
  • A Tractor Tire, Mattress, Barbells, stereos, paint cans, car bumpers, statues, picnic tables, animal houses, chairs, wheelbarrows, DVD's, vacuums, tools
  • Thousands of pieces of styrofoam and plastic food containers, plastic bags and beverage containers

I even made a video you can watch here:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

An Institution Hangs Up His Quill

Yesterday, we learned that Delegate Lacey Putney is calling it quits after 52 years in the House of Delegates at the age of 84. 

Lacey won his first election in 1961 at age 33 when John F. Kennedy was President.  He was elected as a Democrat, but changed his party affiliation to Independent in 1968.  He has caucused with the Republicans starting in the late 1990's and briefly served as Speaker. 

Lacey is an a trial lawyer who hails from Bedford County - right across the Roanoke River from my grandfather's homeplace in Franklin County.  Every time he speaks, I have flashbacks to my summers spent in Franklin County and my grandparents friends who I met through the years.  People just don't talk like Lacey any more. 

He has seen a lot in his 52 years in the House and I always found my conversations with him in the Member's lounge to be fascinating.  When you have 52 years of experience, you have a lot of wisdom and insight to offer about Virginia, legislating, practicing law, or million other things. 

History of U.S. 1: Early Schools Along Route One, Part II

In 2006, the Mount Vernon Gazette ran a series of articles by local author Michael K. Bohn on the history of U.S. 1. They provide some interesting history on U.S. 1.  Part I can be be found here:


The following was written by Michael K. Bohn and ran in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, in 2006.

Early Schools along Route One, Part 2

Michael K. Bohn
Mount Vernon Gazette, 2006

This is the second of a three-part schools segment in the Route One history series. The first reviewed the development of education in Fairfax County from colonial times through desegregation in the 1960s, and described elementary schools at Accotink, Cameron, Colchester, Groveton and Gum Springs. This section addresses five historic schools in the Mason Neck area. The third and final schools article will survey the remaining historic elementary schools along Route One, as well as area high schools.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

History of U.S. 1: Early Schools on U.S. 1, Part I

In 2006, the Mount Vernon Gazette ran a series of articles by local author Michael K. Bohn on the history of U.S. 1. They provide some interesting history on U.S. 1.

The following was written by Michael K. Bohn and ran in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, in 2006.

Early Schools along Route One, Part 1
Michael K. Bohn
Mount Vernon Gazette, 2006

This is another segment in the continuing series about the history of Route One in the Mount Vernon area.

Route One, and its predecessor, the Potomac Path, has been at the center of economic, residential, and religious development in southeast Fairfax County for hundreds of years. Just as settlers built their homes and churches along the road, they created schools near the route for their children. The population was sparse enough until the middle of the 20th century that transportation to and from school drove the selection of school sites.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hybrid Tax Petition Delivered - Two Days Till Decision

Last Monday, Senator Adam Ebbin and I delivered nearly 7,000 signatures on our No Hybrid Tax Petition to Governor Robert McDonnell at the State Capitol in Richmond.  You can read more about it here:


We delivered the petition to the Governor and his staff told us that he did review the petitions and the over 6,000 comments. 

As of noon today, 7,195 people have signed the petition.  You can still sign up here:


The hybrid tax fails to make sense on a number of levels:
  • It punishes people for doing the right thing - conserving energy.
  • The $100 tax bears no relationship to the gas taxes that are avoided (at most $30/year on a 45 MPG vehicle)
  • The Federal and State Government have been encouraging people to purchase hybrid technology while this punishes people.
  • Hybrid owners already pay their fair share of taxes including (1) 10% higher price for the car, (2) greater titling taxes, (3) greater personal property taxes, (4) $25/yr. for clean energy license plates, and (5) $3,000+ for a new battery after 150,000 miles.
  • The tax is irrational.  There are other vehicles that get better gas mileage than many hybrids such as motor cycles and mopeds.  There are also gas vehicles that get better mileage than most hybrids, and many hybrids that get worse gas mileage than many gas powered cars. 
  • It also inordinately punishes Northern Virginia where 82% of hybrids are registered in Virginia.
The Governor has to act by Monday, March 25, 2013. 

Hopefully, he will do the right thing and offer an amendment deleting the hybrid tax from the legislation. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Attorney General's Medicaid Two-Step

In his opinion issued today finding that the commission created by the General Assembly to bless the Medicaid expansion, the Attorney General wrote the following:
"Furthermore, the General Assembly is prohibiting from doing indirectly that which the Virginia Constitution prohibits it from doing directly" 
He cited  Marshall v. N. Va. Transp. Auth., 275 Va. 41 9, 435, 657 S.E.2d 71, 78 (2008) for this proposition.  I about fell out of my chair when I read that he wrote that. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Belleview Safeway Has Opened!

Back on January 6, I swung by the Belleview Shopping Center to grab a Subway sandwich and a 12-pack of beer on my way to the Redskins-Seahawks games.  I walked up to Safeway and then suddenly realized - it's closed.  You don't realize how important something is until it's not there.

The Belleview Safeway is a community institution and it's absence has been felt.  The Hollin Hall Safeway has been a mob scene for the last six months as it handled all of the overflow, but all that is coming to an end! 

The newly renovated and expanded 45,000 square foot store is OPEN!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Weekly Column: 2013 General Assembly's Mixed Record

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in the week of March 13, 2013.

2013 General Assembly’s Mixed Record
Now that the 2013 session of the General Assembly’s work has been completed, except for the April 3 veto session, I will continue my report on several measures.  I have already covered the transportation legislation and Medicaid . 

I cast 2,000 votes in this session for our district. 
Six bills that I authored or  was chief co-patron for await the Governor’s signature, along with three budget amendments.   Three of my bills were referred to study commissions. 
Last year, we passed legislation that required voters to present some form of identification.  This included a social security card, voter registration card, utility bill, bank statement or paycheck.   The General Assembly this year approved a bill that deleted all of these  and requires a voter to present photo ID.  I opposed this bill.

Monday, March 11, 2013

History of U.S. 1: Potomac Path Churches Part II

Back in 2005, the Mount Vernon Gazette ran a series of articles by local author Michael K. Bohn on the history of U.S. 1. They provide some interesting history on U.S. 1.

The following was written by Michael K. Bohn and ran in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, in June 2005:

Potomac Path Churches, Part 2

Michael K. Bohn
Mount Vernon Gazette, June 2005

This is the second section of the historic churches installment in the Route One series.  The previous section highlighted Pohick Church, while this one features six other churches whose beginnings predate 1900.
 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

History of U.S. 1: Historic Churches of the Potomac Path, Part I

Back in 2005, the Mount Vernon Gazette ran a series of articles by local author Michael K. Bohn on the history of U.S. 1. They provide some interesting history on U.S. 1.

The following was written by Michael K. Bohn and ran in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, in June 2005:
Historic Churches of the Potomac Path

Michael K. Bohn
Mount Vernon Gazette, June 2005

As the population of colonial Virginia expanded beyond its Tidewater origins, the settlers built roads into the frontier to serve social and commercial needs.  One of the most important travel needs—one sanctioned by the colonial government—was getting to church on Sundays.  Before the Revolution, that mostly meant traveling to the King’s church, but as Virginia’s society became more diverse, other denominations built their churches along the Potomac Path.

Integral to the history of Route One is the history of religion along the road.  There are seven historic churches on or near the current highway, each with abundant and interesting lineages—Pohick Episcopal, Woodlawn Friends Meeting, Cranford Methodist, Woodlawn Baptist, Bethlehem Baptist, Woodlawn Methodist, and Accotink Methodist.  There are many more houses of worship along the highway, but space permits addressing only the most venerable.
 
This is the second installment in the Route One history series and it will appear in two parts—first Pohick, then the other churches.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weekly Column: New State Budget Brings Steps to Expand Medicaid

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in the week of March 6, 2013.

New State Budget Brings Steps to Expand Medicaid
Last week, I wrote about the transportation legislation that passed the General Assembly.  The other major policy change this session was the expansion of Medicaid.  This was especially critical for the 44th District.
 
Medicaid is a federal-state health insurance program for low-income and disabled people.  It is also the only provider of long-term nursing care for many Americans, since Medicare coverage and coverage by most private insurance policies is quite limited.  Virginia has one of the most restrictive Medicaid programs in the United States - you have to be very poor to be eligible.  Most rankings put Virginia at 48th in Medicaid expenditures and 7th in per capita income.  In other words, we are a relatively wealthy state and we do not help the poor much.
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