Village News, 5/28/20

Dear West Springfield Neighbor / Friend,

COVID-19 Update: Fairfax County and Northern Virginia will join the rest of the state in the first phase of reopening tomorrow, Friday, 29 May. There will be however, a mask requirement for everyone age 10 and above:

  • Inside all brick and mortar retail establishments, all personal care and grooming establishments, places where people congregate, and food and beverage establishments
  • On public transportation
  • When accessing state or local government services
  • Exceptions will include:
  • While eating, drinking, or exercising
  • If one has trouble breathing or is unable to remove the mask without help 
  • If one’s health conditions prohibit wearing a face covering

Reopening does not mean the end of COVID-19. The Virginia Department of Health shall have authority to enforce this Order.

Outdoor athletic fields in Fairfax County will open for use on 29 May. No permit required. This includes over 850 athletic fields, including synthetic turf fields, at Fairfax County parks and public schools. Open, walk-on use of athletic fields is allowed when the field is vacant and only during regular operating hours. All groups who use the fields must follow all state and CDC guidelines, including limiting group size to fewer than 10 individuals, following social distancing, wearing a cloth face covering if physical distancing is difficult, covering coughs and sneezes, using proper hand washing hygiene and staying home if sick. You might want to recon the field first to see if porta-johns have been positioned or if fixed restrooms are open.

As a reminder, all indoor facilities, including school gymnasiums, continue to remain closed. County farmers’ market and golf courses have begun reopening. The Park Authority will not open outdoor water parks and pools this summer.

Fairfax County Summer Camps are cancelled this summer. This includes: FCPA sponsored summer camp programs, REC-Pac programs held at local schools, summer camp programs sponsored by NCS, and SACC programs.

Local Creek & Forest Dangers – I spotted a couple young men coming back out of the Pohick Stream Park and who had obviously enjoyed the stream itself. Kids, woods and streams are all integral parts of our youth and even though I have no intention of suggesting that the hazards outweigh the joy, please do remind your children that there are dangers:

  • Some trees have been uprooted or snapped off, but have fallen into other trees and now being held aloft waiting for just the wrong time to fall. You may remember the village boy who had his pelvis crushed while playing under such a “widow maker”.
  • Normally, the stream itself looks serene and safe, but it doesn’t take much current for a person to be held against the tress, limbs and debris that lie in the water. Remember the lady who had been suffering from dementia who drowned there and was found pinned up against that debris. Heavy area rains have caused rapid flooding and re-channeling.
  • OK one more, tiny thing to mention and that is the black legged, deer tick that gives us the Lyme disease. Check yourself and your children when you come back from the park and/or the stream. Several in the village have the Lyme Disease and have warned us repeatedly over the years. 

Encourage all to carry a cell phone or whistle to call or signal for help in case you get hurt as did one Lieutenant Colonel out on a run. All part of a healthy life; beware but not afraid.

Springfield Town Center – is at risk of financial failure. Thanks to Kathy D’Amato for submitting this report found in the Washington Business Journal. The owner of two major Greater Washington shopping malls is unsure whether it will be in business 12 months from now as the Covid-19 crisis has materially impacted all aspects of its operation — and nobody can say when things might return to normal. The Springfield Town Center and the Mall at Prince George’s are at risk due to financial instability caused by COVID-19 closings and the inability of tenant stores / shops or restaurants to pay rent. See expanded article at https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2020/05/22/preit-has-substantial-doubt-about-its-future.html.

Switching Utility Service Providers – Beware hidden costs and contract obligations. An interesting dilemma for the village consumer - most of us use natural gas for heating and cooking in our homes. Your neighbor sends a monthly check for gas for the house to WGL Energy. This company provides the actual gas, and includes within its bill an amount for Washington Gas Light Company to distribute the gas to the house.

Last week, an offer came in the mail from another gas supplier named Dominion Energy Solutions. They are polite folks who offer a slightly lower price for the gas. So you think I'll save a few dollars.

Come to find out WGL Energy doesn't like to be undersold, and to be true, we customers usually have committed to a contract ending date. So they have a termination fee which is very excessive ($500+), much more than you would have saved if you elect to change your gas provider.

So your neighbor called Washington Gas, talked to their customer advocate, and stayed with my contract provider, WGL Energy Services, at least thru my current contract period in early 2021. Very confusing and potentially costly; be warned and beware.

American Trash Services – as of today, we have had 10 respond to the inquiry about who may want to change to American Trash Service. That leaves us 90+ short of moving forward with hard-nosed negotiations. So we’ll ask again – do you want to switch if the price is better than their first offer ($117/quarter)?

Girl Scouts - Although Girl Scouts are not meeting in person right now many troops are still conducting meetings virtually, or taking advantage of other online opportunities offered by Girl Scouts of Nations Capital. Girl Scouts is now accepting early memberships for the 2020-2021 year. We have various levels of troops at Rolling Valley Elementary School, or if one of our troops does not work for you we can help find another troop as close as possible. We also need adult family member volunteers to help support our existing troops or to start new troops. If you are interested in getting your up and coming Kindergartner started now, have a girl that has thought about joining, maybe have a girl that took a break but wants to start back up, or just want to find out more then please contact Jessica Gregris by email at girlscoutldr@yahoo.com or call 254/383-4015.

Class of 2020 Graduation Celebration – from Lori Branch (Vancouver Road) - We all know this has been an unfortunate ending to the school year. There will be no formal graduation for the Class of 2020, but they will get to pick up their caps, gowns and diplomas on Monday morning, the original graduation date. Please come out that evening and cheer for the new graduates of WSHS! You can stand along either side of Forrester (road in front of Cardinal Forrest Elementary) or drive by in your car.

Looking for Basketball Hoop – Mitali Mathur (Vancouver Road) is looking for a basketball hoop. If you have a portable basketball hoop that you no longer need and willing to give away or sell, please write to Mitali at mitalikm@outlook.com

Happy Anniversary! Tom & Liz (Cooley) Briggs

LTC Glenn Cooley – my son will retire soon from the Air Force or as of recently, the U.S. Space Force. He, his wife Kerry and 3 of my 5 grandchildren are heading west to Colorado where he will continue working in space programs. Glenn served as an experimental-flight, test pilot, worked his way into the second Gulf War and later into Afghanistan. His current and future job is in space and space defense systems. Good on you son and thanks for your service!

Stay safe and stay healthy!

John Cooley, CAWSV

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