Featured News

  • 29 Aug 2015 2:53 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    Remediation of MTBE (a gasoline additive) in groundwater from the now-closed gas station at 9901 Georgetown Pike has been underway for over a year.  GFCA’s Special Committee on Groundwater Contamination reviewed the most recent quarterly remediation report submitted by the property owner to the state Dept of Environmental Quality (VADEQ). 

    Encouragingly, contamination is being (so-far) successfully reduced in the contamination plume to the south of the site (along Walker Rd towards Wells Fargo bank), although end points have not yet been reached at most locations.  Less encouragingly, there has not been seen a reduction in groundwater contamination in the plume toward the east (across Walker Rd in the BF Saul parking lot), supporting GFCA’s long-standing position that pumping of groundwater in that plume is necessary.  GFCA has commented to VADEQ that concentrations at all remediation wells should be cleaned to the lower end point concentration, about 10 times less than today, and that a recovery well to the east across Walker Rd is needed to pump and reclaim MTBE from that plume.  At least an additional year of groundwater filtration will be required, followed by two years of further monitoring.

    For more details, as well as a map of the current estimated contamination plumes, see: Exxon Spill News

  • 29 Aug 2015 11:45 AM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    GFCA will host a townhall meeting in October with a program to review our community’s long-standing commitment to keeping our skies as dark as possible so that star-watchers, students and residents in general can view the planets, stars and constellations which are often difficult to see elsewhere in the metro area.  The Great Falls Analemma Society hosts regular astronomy observation sessions in Turner Farm Park for the public (see Civic Organizations for info on Analemma).  In most parts of the Washington metro area, the skies are 'washed out' by night lighting that destroys our ability to see the skies.  By contrast, the policy in Great Falls for decades has been to avoid such lighting allowing us to view the glory of the nighttime sky.

    Speakers will discuss:

    • History and benefits of the Dark Skies policy, including how light pollution affects the observation of stars and planets
    • New lighting technology that reduces energy consumption, cost, and light pollution - protecting both safety and the nocturnal environment   

    • Analemma Society's plans to pursue children and adult science education on astronomy, including the new observatory being built in Turner Farm Park
    For more information on the Town Hall program, see GFCA Town Hall Meeting - Dark Skies
  • 23 Jul 2015 4:02 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    Over the past week, there have been a number of sightings of adolescent Black Bears along the Georgetown Pike corridor and surrounding neighborhoods.

    Most of the events were simply sightings, which in at least one case led to a family dog chasing the bear.  Two nights ago, another dog was slightly injured in what appears to have been a physical conflict with a bear (no worries - she's doing fine).

    Fairfax County personnel request:

    • Virginia Dept of Game (VGDIF) asks that any sightings of bear also be reported through the Virginia wildlife conflict helpline.  The helpline is available toll-free at (855) 571-9003, 8:00AM-4:30PM, Monday through Friday.
    Fairfax County Animal Control published information and precautions to be taken should you encounter a bear.  Click here for that information.

  • 14 Jul 2015 10:25 AM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    A community group calling itself 'Save Marmota Farm' will be holding an organizational meeting on Saturday, July 18, 4:30 p.m. at the Great Falls Library.  All interested GF citizens are encouraged to attend.

    Information on the event is here.

    About 1.3 miles to the W.N.W. of "Riverbend/GT Pike" is a property called Marmota Farm. It is at the N.E. corner of Georgetown Pike and Innsbruck Avenue. This is a view of the barnyard in 2001-- It used to be a dairy farm. 


  • 07 Jul 2015 3:16 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    GFCA Board members and families had a great time marching in the July 4th parade this year.  Kids in attendance were thrilled by all the candy we tossed (their dentists were thrilled, too).  

     Truth be told, not all the candy made it to the kiddies ...


  • 10 Jun 2015 6:06 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    At GFCA's TownHall on June 9, Lieutenant Lance Schaible (Fairfax County Police Reston District Deputy Commander), and PFC Officer Laura Redman updated residents on recent burglaries in Great Falls and provided information on measures that can be taken to improve security.

    There have been two distinct sets of burglaries since April (total of 6), including thefts from cars as well as houses, in the northwest area of the community near Seneca Road. The only armed incident occurred in Loudoun County at the end of Seneca.

    The first series of burglaries (total of 3), which occurred between April 14 and May 3, were part of a well-organized crime ring based in Chicago. This ring, which Lt. Schaible referred to as the Polish Mafia, has been operating in many parts of the United States. Foreign nationals with legal work visas operating with the ring hire themselves at low wages to local landscaping firms and use their landscaping cover to case out well-to-do neighborhoods. Typically, they identify specific homes where the residents are gone during periods of the day and that have less physical security and no alarm system. Nighttime burglaries in general occur less frequently.

    Sometimes the ring seeks out homes where garages or doors are left unlocked, and can enter a home when a resident is gardening or otherwise occupied outside. Jewelry, small valuables, cash and credit cards are typically taken rather than large or heavy goods. Entry in and out is quick; their objective is to not to be seen by the resident, neighbors, or those passing by the home. Stolen goods are sent first to Chicago and then shipped overseas.

    The individuals who committed this first series of burglaries have been apprehended and are in the Fairfax County jail. An alert neighbor spotted a suspicious rental car that was then was traced back to the perpetrators at a local hotel where they were staying. Prosecution will take place in Fairfax; some of the stolen property has been recovered.

    The second set of 3 incidents are still under investigation; only limited details could be shared. There were no forcible entries and one of the three burglaries occurred at night when the residents were at home. The suspected perpetrator(s) has/have been indentified and an arrest is anticipated.  In addition, due to circumstances the police are confident that no further burglaries will be undertaken by this person or group.

    While the Great Falls police service area (#500) has the lowest crime rate in Fairfax County, it is important that measures be taken by residents to ensure their own safety, i.e. deter, detect, delay and deny. Residents who have a security system should activate it when they leave the house and use it at night when they are home. Those who don’t have a system may wish to install one with a camera. Exterior doors, as well as the door between the house and garage, should be kept locked; the garage door should be closed not only when a resident leaves but also when working outside or retrieving mail. Keyed deadbolts with a 1” to 1.5” throw are also a good idea for doors. Exterior lighting around the perimeter and metal or solid wood doors are all deterrents. Bushes should be trimmed so they do not block a window. More prickly shrubbery, such as holly and rose bushes, will deter break-ins. Charley bars on downstairs windows and sliding glass doors can provide some additional security.

    Residents should not leave a purse, wallet or keys near a door as burglars can quickly grab these items and flee. If feasible, a locked safe room should be set-up on every floor. An old cell phone, including the charger, as well as a spare house key should be kept there.

    When leaving on vacation, it is recommended that lights be set on a timer. Residents may also want to have a low-volume talk radio show on a timer. Neighbors should be advised that the house will be vacant, and the local police station should be alerted. The security system, if one exists, should be activated and mail/newspapers should either be held or arrangements made for items to be picked-up on a daily basis.

    As to vehicles, the police recommend never leaving valuables in your cars, nor anything ‘tempting’ in plain sight (such as tools).  Always lock your vehicles – especially at night – and arm your alarm if you have one.

    If property is stolen, it is it is in the resident’s interest to have a record that can be used to claim items that might be recovered. Records should include a complete description of the item, photos, serial numbers, and purchase receipts (if available). Those who are concerned about the possible loss of more expensive items (or items with sentimental value) may wish to engrave these.

    Residents should report all crimes to the police no matter how small, as this is one of several factors that are considered by the county when determining whether additional funds are needed for assigning more officers to the district.

    In the end, using common sense to secure your property and valuables, ensuring you routinely use your security systems, being on the alert for suspicious persons or vehicles and keeping a record or reporting them to the police, and working with your neighbors will make your home and neighborhood much less likely to be a target of burglars.

  • 05 Jun 2015 9:00 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    At the upcoming GFCA monthly TownHall meeting (on Tues, June 9, 7:30 p.m., GF Library), representatives from Fairfax County Police will provide information to the community on the recent burglaries throughout Great Falls - which include thefts from cars and open garages, as well as breaking | entering and home invasion.  GFCA understands arrests have already been made.  Lt. Lance Schaible, the Reston District Deputy Commander, will update us on what has been happening and what is planned as well as provide residents with steps they can or should take to improve their security.

    Also on the agenda:

    • Elections for Board/Officer positions for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2016
    • Review/approval of proposed budget for FY16
    • Review/approval of by-laws revisions, already approved by the Executive Board

  • 21 May 2015 5:44 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

     

    At GFCA's TownHall on May 12th, the membership voted overwhelmingly in opposition to the current development plans for the Brooks Farm property.  The following is a summary of the meeting.

    • Over 100 people were in attendance (not counting speakers), and 91 members of GFCA were present.
    • A summary of GFCA’s outreach efforts in regard to Brooks Farm was given and the resolution to be voted on (download here) was presented. The question was whether the association’s members were in favor of, or opposed to, the resolution. Those in favor of the resolution would be expressing their opposition to the requested rezoning and cluster development as currently proposed, which calls for rezoning from Rural Agricultural to Residential Estate and the construction of 20 private residences on approximately 52 acres. The resolution endorses a belief that the property should be developed as a five-acre subdivision, perhaps in the Fairfax County Residential-Conservation (“RC”) zoning category. Finally, the resolution calls for development controls during construction, restoration of environmental damage, protection of the common area, and state-of-the-art storm water management on every lot.
    • Representatives from the developer, Basheer & Edgemoore, provided an update on the proposed plans and number of changes that have been made.
    • Melonie Sullivan and Phil Whitworth, representatives from “The Heart of Great Falls”, spoke about the community’s concerns. 
    • Questions and comments were then taken from the floor.
    • The vote was called.  The resolution passed: 79 in favor; 9 opposed; 3 abstentions.
  • 20 May 2015 8:26 AM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)
     

    At the June 9th GFCA TownHall meeting, 3 by-laws revisions approved by the Executive Board in February will be presented to the membership for approval.  These are largely technical and procedural corrections to certain membership procedures reflecting best practice and technology improvements. 

    More information, and the text of the proposed revisions, can be found on the Membership newsblog, here

  • 19 May 2015 4:07 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    The Friends of the Great Falls Freedom Memorial will host Great Fall's annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Great Falls Freedom Memorial on Monday May 25, at 11 a.m.

    This year's activities will include a Taps bugler, patriotic songs By the St. Thomas a Becket Choir, remarks by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Arthur C. Blades, a reading of the names of each of the 25 Great Falls residents who have fallen in service to our country, wreath-laying by local dignitaries, and a raising of the flags by local Boy Scout Troop 55.

    The proceedings will conclude with the dedication of a White Oak tree to the memory of the founder of the GF Freedom Memorial, the late retired Marine Corps Colonel Pete Hilgartner.

    This ceremony is open to all and ample parking is available the the Library parking lot.  In case of rain, the ceremony will move into the Library's meeting room.

    For more information, see the Event calendar

The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Great Falls Citizens Association

Great Falls Citizens Association
PO Box 27  •  Great Falls, VA  •  22066 

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