From the files of the Sun Gazette, we bring you some of the big (or just plain interesting) stories of the year.
•• After a grueling six-hour hike from their camp in the middle of the night in early January, McLean High School graduates Rebecca Berkson and Katie Herold at sunrise reached the summit of Africa’s highest peak, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro.
•• The Fairfax County Parents Association issued a statement Jan. 2 insisting that Fairfax County Public Schools continue to keep students in class and not regress back into “virtual” learning.
•• A major storm Jan. 3 dropped about a foot of snow on Northern Virginia.
•• Despite a Jan. 13 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Biden administration’s COVID-vaccine mandate for large employers and an executive order from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) to end mandatory masking in schools, Fairfax County officials said they have no plans to deviate from the existing pandemic policies.
•• The Vienna Town Council on Jan. 24 approved $663,000 for design work for a planned Fairfax County/town of Vienna project to build a new Patrick Henry Library and a 209-space parking garage.
•• The Vienna Town Council on Jan. 24 added Louise Archer Elementary School, which began as a school for African-Americans only, to the Register of Vienna Historic Structures, Sites and Places. The Council at the same meeting designated a circa-1883 house at 131 Courthouse Road, S.W., a Town of Vienna Historic Site and added it to the Vienna Historic Property Register.
•• Vienna officials announced Jan. 24 that Planning and Zoning Director Cindy Petkac had stepped down had departed in December 2021 because she “wanted to pursue other professional opportunities.”
•• The Vienna Town Council on Jan. 24 unanimously awarded a $252,732 contract to Franco’s Liberty Bridge Inc. of Clinton, Md., to construct a new bridge. The long-delayed project still hasn’t been built, however.
•• Fairfax County supervisors on Jan. 25 unanimously authorized the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority to spend $33 million to finance development of the planned 175-unit Dominion Square West Phase 1 affordable-housing development in Tysons. The project, done in coordination with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, will be built on 2 acres at 1592 Spring Hill Road.
•• County supervisors on Jan. 25 unanimously rezoned a 6.73-acre commercial property at 7700 Leesburg Pike in the Falls Church area to make way for 104 townhouses, including nine affordable-dwelling units.
•• Potomac School officials announced that senior Ben Choi, who designed a prosthetic arm that can be manipulated using the wearer’s brainwaves, had won a guaranteed $25,000 prize and top-40 finalist spot in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022 contest.
•• Fairfax County supervisors on Feb. 22 declined to appoint Great Falls resident Bill Denk, an outspoken critic of some of the county’s policies, to serve on a county commission preparing for the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.
•• Vienna Town Council members on Feb. 7 unanimously agreed to rename Wade Hampton Drive, S.W. – which since 1961 had borne the name of Confederate Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton III – as Liberty Lane, S.W.
•• Fairfax County supervisors on Feb. 8 directed staff from the county’s Facilities Management Department, Park Authority and other agencies to start planning for a COVID-19 memorial to be placed on property owned by the county government or its park system.
•• Vienna resident Connie Stuntz, a World War II cryptographer who later authored four books on Northern Virginia’s history, died Feb. 9 at age 98.
•• An 8-acre Civil War-era McLean property known as Elmwood recently became the 129th conservation easement for the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, group officials said Feb. 23. The estate, once the centerpiece of a homestead that spanned from the Potomac River to the center of McLean, was built by the Ball family of Virginia and most recently was the home of the late television journalist Roger Mudd.
•• The Vienna Town Council on Feb. 28 unanimously agreed to allow the Vienna Police Department to use $223,732 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to implement a body-worn-camera program starting in September.