With 2021 soon to be in the history books and 2022 arriving soon, the Sun Gazette takes a look back at some of the issues that the paper was covering during the past year, two months at a time.
• The American Society of Highway Engineers recently honored the Jones Branch Connector in Tysons as its 2021 National Project of the Year. The half-mile-long project, conducted jointly by the Virginia Department of Transportation and Fairfax County and finished in spring 2020, spans Interstate 495 and links Route 123 in McLean with Jones Branch Drive in eastern Tysons.
• The Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia’s board of directors named Carolyn Pennington as the nonprofit’s new executive director. She succeeded interim executive director Jayne Young.
• Wildlife managers throughout the region tried to determine the source of a mysterious illness that was killing wild birds, including some in Vienna. Symptoms of the avian illness included eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs.
• A new Confederate Names Task Force, established July 13 by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, was assigned to review the names of Lee Highway (U.S. Route 29) and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway (U.S. Route 50) within the county, recommend whether the roads should be renamed and, if so, suggest what their new names should be.
• The Board of Supervisors on July 13 amended comprehensive-plan guidance to allow about 1.8 million square feet of development near the West Falls Church Metro station. The 31.5-acre site consists of two properties a 24-acre parcel owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and an adjacent 7.53-acre parcel owned by Virginia Tech and the city of Falls Church.
• Fairfax County Public Schools officials announced July 15 that Superintendent Scott Brabrand would depart in June 2022. Brabrand said he had no immediate plans for the future.
• Great Falls Citizens Association officials sought to have the federal government provide $100,000 in permanent, annual funding for U.S. Park Police to control traffic at Old Dominion Drive and Georgetown Pike outside the park’s entrance when park usage is especially heavy.
• The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors July 27 allocated $250,000 in county Economic Opportunity Reserve funds to help the Tysons Partnership with its branding initiatives and organizational development.
• Fairfax County supervisors on July 27 unanimously approved a special exception allowing the Turner Farmhouse Foundation to create a retreat center behind the historic circa-1905 house at 10609 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls.
• Unlike the General Assembly’s marathon, 84-day-long special session in 2020, the one that began Aug. 2 was short and focused strictly on allotting the $4.3 billion in federal stimulus funds and selecting Court of Appeals judges.
• D.H. Scarborough, a longtime resident and certified public accountant in Vienna who also was a mentor and community supporter died Aug. 15 at age 85.
• Barry Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax,told Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce members Aug. 19 that the COVID-19 pandemic still was wreaking havoc upon the region’s hospitality industry and full recovery might be a good distance off.
• Wendi “Paige” Crouch, a McLean resident who overcame a devastating car crash and became an accomplished artist by learning how to paint with a brush in her mouth, died Aug. 19 at age 61.
• Vienna Presbyterian Church celebrated its 150th anniversary Aug. 22 with sermons, testimonials, songs and fellowship.
• Leaders from the city of Alexandria and Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties, who spoke Aug. 24 at the sixth annual Northern Virginia Elected Leaders Summit, said pandemic responses had made great strides, but Northern Virginia needed to get more people vaccinated and help the region’s economy recover.