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Look Back, Look Ahead: Fairfax County News to Know

The latest and most popular Patch headlines from the past week.

After Newtown, McDonnell Forms School Safety Task Force

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell formed a task force that will focus on school and safety in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“Even with raw emotions still running so high, it is prudent to begin to consider reasonable policy changes,” McDonnell said in a statement Thursday. “In the aftermath of the horrific and senseless shootings, I have asked all local and state leaders that play a role in school or campus safety to review the procedures, plans, policies and resources dedicated to this effort.”

After Newtown, NRA Ready to Make 'Meaningful Contributions'

After four days of silence, the National Rifle Association, headquartered in Fairfax, released a statement on the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., saying it will make "meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

Moran Introduces 'NRA Members' Gun Safety Act'

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) on Thursday introduced the NRA Members' Gun Safety Act — five gun safety reforms that the congressman's office says are supported by nearly two-thirds of the Fairfax-based National Rifle Associations' members.

Sen. Mark Warner: Newtown is 'Game Changer' on Guns

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner wants to tighten gun laws, saying "enough is enough" in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings Friday that saw 20 young children and six adults killed.

“I‘ve been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights,” the Democrat from Alexandria said Monday outside the Virginia Capitol, where he was attending an unrelated meeting, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Police: 'No Credible Threat' to Gun Rumors at Centreville High, Westfield High

Students at two Fairfax County high schools have reported rumors to parents and police that students may come to school with guns on Friday. 

But Fairfax County Police say there is nothing to the rumors.

Profile of Next Fairfax Superintendent Takes Shape

A month into Fairfax County's superintendent search community input process, a picture of what Fairfax County Public Schools next leader could look like is taking shape: someone who focuses on visibility and engagement, has a good business sense and can navigate the system through difficult budget seasons.

Schools Find More Than $9 M for FY 2014 Budget

Fairfax County Public Schools has found an extra $9.7 million in its Fiscal Year 2013 budget, much of which school board members voted Thursday night to set aside for its FY 2014 beginning balance — a budget year in which the system faces a $162 million deficit.

Stratford Landing ES Playground Shut Down by FCPS Facilities

Over the last three years, the Stratford Landing PTA has worked hard to raise $55,000 for playground improvements.

After selecting a design that was met with approval from the Fairfax County Public Schools Facilities Department, this summer the PTA moved forward with installing the first phase of the playground – a new track and climber.

Surovell's Full Slate: Delegate Preps for 2013 General Assembly

In less than a month, Virginia Del. Scott Surovell (D-44) will be working 12-14 hour days in the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session, and sleeping in the Richmond basement of a friend. Surovell, an attorney by day, will present 15 bills this session, and a number of constitutional and budget amendments.

Forbes: Virginia No. 2 in Best States for Business

Incentives and government policies make the Commonwealth of Virginia the second-best state in the nation to do business, according to Forbes magazine's new rankings. 

Virginia has ranked highly in Forbes' annual "Best States to Do Business" rankings for years. In 2012, for the second year in a row, the Commonwealth was topped only by Utah.

Park Authority Seeks Input on Grist Mill Park Turf Field

The Fairfax County Park Authority is now accepting public comment on the conversion of Field 5 at Grist Mill Park in Mount Vernon.

Earlier this year, the field was renamed to honor Ret. Lt. Col. Gary F. Smith, who perished at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The Smith family is currently working with the Fairfax County Park Foundation to facilitate the conversion of the field to a turf field. The Fairfax County Park Authority has applied for a federal grant from the Virginiia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Land and Water Conservation Fund to fund part of the project cost.

Water Main Break Shuts Off Water on Cherokee Avenue and 8th Street

An 12-inch water main break left residents on Cherokee Avenue and 8th Street near the Lincolnia part of the greater Annandale area without water Friday morning.

Jeanne Bailey, spokesperson for Fairfax Water, said crews arrived at 5 a.m. to shut the water off.

Manassas Man Planned Centreville Home Invasion, Authorities Say

Stacy Lorenzo Reed, the man who is accused of driving the car to a 2010 Centreville home invasion, also planned the attack that ended in the death of a Manassas Park man, authorities allege in court documents.

Springfield Priest Arrested, Charged With Sexual Assault of Adult Male

A priest from a Springfield Catholic Church and School turned himself in to police after being accused of sexually abusing a 29-year-old male. Father Luis Fernando Franco Henao was charged with sexual battery of an adult male, after the victim reported that he was sexually assaulted at St. Bernadette Parish in February.

Constituents to Wolf: 'Extend Tax Cuts' to Middle Class

A group of contituents from Congressman Frank Wolf's 10th District delivered a message to him Thursday: "Don't forget the Middle Class."

That message was delivered in the form of 111 letters delivered to his Herndon office Thursday by constituents Jalmeen Soni of McLean and Chip Taggart, also of McLean.

Welcome to Greater Alexandria Patch

Your local Patch is changing its name but will continue to cover news in the areas we used to call Huntington-Belle Haven and Fort Hunt.

Welcome to Greater Alexandria Patch!

Tips on End-of-Year Giving From the IRS

It's the season for giving, but don't you want something back?

The Internal Revenue Service has offered tips on those deductible donations: 

Clothing and Household Items

Clothing and household items (furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens) donated to charity must be in good used condition or better to be deductible.

Creedon Hall Open for Christmas Day Mass

Good Shepherd Catholic Church is ready for Christmas Eve and Christmas
Day Masses. After months of extensive renovations throughout the facility,
Creedon Hall will open and welcome parishioners and visitors.

This year's Christmas Eve Mass is the first major event since Creedon
Hall closed for renovations in September. The renovations included an
upgraded sound and lighting system, a kitchen extension, and partitions
that divide the space into three smaller spaces. The space can now be used
for a variety of programs.

Volunteers Needed to Help Prepare Tax Returns

Fairfax County is seeking volunteers to help prepare tax returns for low-income families.

The Volunteers Income Tax Assistance (VITA) in partnership with the Fairfax County Department of Family Services needs volunteers from January to mid-April 2013 to: prepare taxes, greet and screen customers, serve as translators, and provide IT support at library sites or act as a site coordinator.

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