Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Availability of vaccines against coronavirus continues to be a significant topic of conversation in Northern Virginia. The Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) collects data weekly about vaccinations across the Commonwealth, with a focus on Northern Virginia jurisdictions. According to the NVRC report, 29,000 Fairfax residents have been fully vaccinated, and nearly 100,000 have received at least one dose of the two-dose regimen. That’s an enormous increase from the week prior, indicating that, when additional doses are allocated by the Commonwealth, those vaccines are going into arms promptly. Even with the increased activity, only 10 percent of the Northern Virginia population over age 16 has gotten the first shot; there still are tens-of-thousands of people, who registered for Phase 1b, waiting for a call to schedule an appointment. It appears that patience, and lots of it, remains a virtue!

The Mason District Police Station is getting a new commander. Captain Shawn Adcock will take command on Saturday, succeeding popular Captain Brooke Wright, whose new assignment is at police headquarters. Captain Wright’s four-year tenure at the Mason Station includes a stint as assistant commander before becoming station commander. Captain Shawn Adcock, born and raised in Northern Virginia, was assigned most recently to the Mount Vernon police district. I look forward to working with Captain Adcock, who will continue the traditional CAC community meetings, virtually, on the first Tuesday of each month.

One of the areas patrolled by the Mason Police Station officers is Lake Barcroft, site of a private lake and the well-known dam that can be seen when driving along Columbia Pike. What you don’t see is the constant monitoring and upkeep of the dam by the Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District (WID). There was heavy activity on the water and the beaches of Lake Barcroft last year, but the dam always comes first for WID staff. An example of the extra effort by WID staff occurred on Christmas Eve, when fierce rains (sorry, no White Christmas for Santa) required WID staff to come back to the compound at 11:30 p.m. The rain had set off electronic signals of high levels of water flow, exceeding the 20 percent level at which warning signals are transmitted to Fairfax County and Alexandria Emergency Management authorities. The lake outfalls to Holmes Run and, eventually, Cameron Run and the Potomac River. The signal system was implemented years ago to avoid potential damage to life and property downstream when more intense and more frequent storms may be experienced. WID staff adjusted and monitored the activity controls at the dam until Christmas morning, when the emergency passed. In most cases, the Lake Barcroft dam is engineered to operate automatically, using technology and engineering to maintain prescribed water levels.

Sometimes, however, weather patterns require staff oversight, perhaps characterized by that catch-all phrase “other duties as assigned.” Last Christmas Eve, rather than “visions of sugar plums’’ or last-minute gift-wrapping, WID staff was keeping thousands of residents safe from potential life-threatening stormwater. WID Trustees Chairman Alan Pisarski noted the WID staff work ethic that is dedicated to addressing the community’s needs, not just in the recreational summertime, but even on a dark, cold, and wet, Christmas Eve. That’s a steadfast commitment!