Village News, 11/18/21

Dear Village Neighbor / Friend,

Please hit “reply” and “send” if you receive and read this enews. I don’t need a virtual hug, just again doubting this makes it through cyberspace to your inbox.

1. Toys for Tots – I’m throwing down the gauntlet to challenge those of you who can - to get up off that wallet for this feel-good program. This is a very successful holiday event even if we must praise the Marine Corps. Let’s help Michael Murray (Bluefield Court), his Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) unit, and the US. Marine Corps succeed with this meaningful service project for the sake of regional children who will receive a Christmas gift. The Toys for Tots program collects new, unwrapped toys to be given to needy children. Of course, the children benefit most from our generosity. Michael will come to your home in USAF JROTC uniform on 20 November or 4 December to collect your donation and deliver to his flight room, and then later to a Marine Corps facility for distribution to needy children.

You can make a cash or check donation (payable to Michael Murray) or use PayPal (as I did) to donate to Michael at As he did for me, Michael will shop for toys in your stead. I am in; are you? Git ‘er done, please. For more information, contact or visit Marine Toys for Tots.

2. Barnack Traffic Jam - I understand there are some issues with bus transport to and from schools, but last Friday we had cars parked two abreast on Barnack facing Rolling Road and one deep on the other side parked facing Wythe. Many of those facing Wythe were blocking driveways which doesn’t elicit civil conversation when that resident wants to get out. Anyhow, there was just enough room for one car to run the gauntlet but in only one direction at a time. And halfway through the maze I encountered another vehicle coming in the opposite direction and there we sat with Barnack completely blocked until some clever jockeying by that oncoming driver (not me) that allowed us to pass. I worry that a child may get hurt in that mass of vehicles and impatient or distracted drivers.

Not sure if similar issues happen at WSES, but glad I wasn’t in the back of an ambulance suffering from a severe hangnail or responding on a firetruck to a 3-alarm, smore’s fire. There are other, equally safe places to pick up your child, especially the older ones. Enough said; right?

3. And Another One (Sewer Line) Failed – another collapsed, and the homeowner is facing a large repair bill. Most of our sewer lines are over 50+ years old and the normal life expectancy of cast iron sewer pipes is 50 – 65 years. So, I suppose we all should expect issues if you also still have the original as I do. There are insurance plans we can purchase to help offset the cost of repair and/or replacement which is up around $15,000.00.

My plan is with HomeServe that had been offered by Dominion Energy. It’s doubtful that my homeowner’s policy will cover the cost of repair inside our homes, but you might want to check before you have damage. If you have experienced sewer line problems, please let me know who did your repair work and a general comment or two about your experience (price, quality of work, warranty, cleanliness, whether or not did you have the insurance, etc).

Anyhow this homeowner used Home Service Doctors to analyze his problem. They snaked it and then ran the camera down the line to determine that the line had cracked, and a tree root ball had encroached through the crack. They used another tool to track and mark the line from home to the connection with the main line in the street. Mr. Peter Lockard was the representative who seemed to be very thorough. Home Service Doctors can be reached at 703/580-5325 or

4. Beware - Last week a roofing company’s door-to-door canvassers came to the door of John & Lois Hoffmann. They requested permission to inspect their roof for hail damage. John was told that other homes in our village had been damaged, so he granted permission. They showed pictures of “hail” damage from that inspection. With their encouragement John called his insurance company and filed a claim. They agreed to meet with the insurance adjuster to get a total roof replacement, but first needed John to sign a contract authorizing them to do the work. John agreed to endorse all insurance payments to that roofing company - only if his insurance would approve a complete replacement. John would have to pay his deductible also to the roofing company. If a complete replacement was not authorized, the agreement would be voided. John asked the roofing company to discount their price to offset his deductible, but they balked so he cancelled the contract. Contact John or Lois at 703/508-0200 to obtain the name of that company.

John then asked another reputable roofing company for an inspection along with the adjuster and they found no hail damage and that the roof had at least another 5 years before replacement. Be warned. Beware!

5. Directory Ads – I haven’t yet received this year’s pricing guide for directory ads but need all within the sound of my voice to help sell ads to cover the costs of our Village Directory.

6. Directory Photo – do you have a good photo that depicts village life (flora, fauna, activities, etc) that would be a good cover for our next directory? Send a copy of it to Directory Editor Andrea Lewis at for her decision.

7. Contractor Recommendation – John Hoffmann wants to give a big shout out and thank you to Stephen Gagliano, owner of Unlimited Service Construction Company, 6820 Barnack Drive, Springfield, VA 22152 (703/843-3191) for transforming his 1967 vintage bathroom into a zero-barrier shower ADA compliant bathroom. Stephen paid close attention to John’s Parkinson’s needs determining where to place the “blocking” for the safety bars, pull down seat and shower fixtures. Steve also installed the railing in the 3rd picture below.

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8. Calendar:

  • 24, 25 & 26 November – Student Holidays
  • 25 November – Thanksgiving Day
  • 4 December – Winterfest at VW Pool from 1 – 5:00 PM
  • 22 December – Last, Separate Yard Debris Collection

9. Winterfest – at the Village West Pool – 4 December from 1 to 5 PM (rain date is 12/5, 1 – 5 PM). Parents can shop from a variety of handicraft and other vendors while kids enjoy free activities including building their own gingerbread house, making s'mores, a winter scavenger hunt, and winter-themed photo opportunities. Refreshments for sale will include hot cider, sodas, and a hot chocolate and coffee bar. We will be raffling off gift cards and other items (raffle tickets $1; need not be present to win). Vendor spaces are available for $20, or you can donate a comparably priced item for our raffle and get some advance publicity for your business. For questions or to reserve a vendor space, email the pool's socials chair, Emily Stanton, at

Stay safe!

John Cooley

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