June 11, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

We've had quite a bit of news in the last week. On Friday, June 5 Fairfax County police officer Tyler Timberlake was one of several officers and emergency personnel responding to a 911 call regarding a man in crisis wandering in the roadway. While other personnel attempted to deescalate the situation and help the man, Officer Timberlake used his stun gun in violation of Department policy and, in my view, the law. Officer Timberlake has been relieved of his law enforcement duties and charged with three counts of assault and battery. There will be both an administrative and criminal investigation of his actions. You can read more about the incident here.

Like so many in our community, I'm disgusted by this incident. After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, I called for an acceleration of our body-worn camera program roll-out. We were fortunate that this took place in a part of the county where officers have body-worn cameras, allowing our Police Chief and Commonwealth's Attorney to act quickly in response. At this week's meeting of the Board of Supervisors, we directed staff to identify funds to deliver body-worn cameras across Fairfax County. But that is only a first step in repairing the breach in trust. Clearly we have work to do to ensure this never happens again.

In other news, there is, in fact, a black bear wandering around the Braddock District. A number of residents have posted photos and videos of our large, furry friend rummaging in their backyards or traipsing down the sidewalk.

While state and local officials are aware of the situation, unless an animal is sick, injured, or poses a threat to public safety, we do not remove bears. They are not typically aggressive and will move on to a more hospitable location in a matter of days.

Finally, Fairfax County and Northern Virginia will be moving to Phase 2 of Governor Northam's reopening plan this Friday, June 12. We've included the announcement and more information below.

Continue reading for more information on:

  • Phase 2 of Reopening
  • Board of Supervisors Actions on Racial Equity
  • Black Bear Sightings in Braddock
  • Fairfax RISE Grants for Small Businesses and Non-Profits
  • Discounted Solar for Local Residents and Businesses

Yours in service,
Supervisor James Walkinshaw
Phase 2 of Reopening
Effective Friday, 12:00 a.m., June 12, 2020, the Northern Virginia Region will enter into Phase Two.

"We have made remarkable progress over the past several weeks. As we move forward, we will remain vigilant, cautious, and measured. We will continue teleworking, whenever possible, to wash our hands frequently, to not touch our faces, and to wear face coverings. Through these efforts, we will continue to protect ourselves, our families, and our fellow Virginians as we respond to this emergency." - Governor Ralph Northam

Some need to know updates:

Exercise Facilities
  • Recreation, sport, and fitness centers will be allowed to operate at 30% indoor occupancy.
  • Patrons, members, and guests must remain at least ten feet apart during all activities.

  • Outdoor and indoor swimming pools may open for lap swimming, diving, exercise, and instruction only and must be limited to no more than three persons per lane with ten feet of physical distance per swimmer.
  • Hot tubs, spas, splash pads, spray pools, and interactive play features must be closed.

  • Occupancy may not exceed the 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable.
  • Tables at which dining parties are seated must be positioned six feet apart from other tables. If tables are not movable, parties must be seated at least six feet apart.

Farmers Markets
  • On-site shopping is allowed, as long as physical distancing guidelines are followed.
  • Employees and vendors in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.
  • Vendors must supply hand sanitizer stations or hand washing stations for patrons and employees.
  • A thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted.

Personal Care Establishments
  • Occupancy may not exceed 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy with at least six feet of physical distancing between work stations and no more than two appointments per service provider at a time.
  • Thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted every 60 minutes in operations, while cleaning and disinfecting all personal care and personal grooming tools after each use.

Non-Essential Establishments
  • Occupancy must be limited to no more than 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy.
  • Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

Click here to read the full Executive Order.
Board of Supervisor Updates
During Tuesday's (June 9, 2020) Board of Supervisors Meeting, the Board:

  • The board unanimously passed a motion to identify options to fund phase 2 of the Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Program.
  • This motion requests a timeline and implementation plan to be received June 30.

Natural Landscaping Amendment Passed
The Board passed plan amendment 2018-CW-2CP which indicates that public facilities and sites be designed, retrofitted and maintained in an environmentally sensitive manner with a focus on natural landscaping. Additionally, a definition for Natural Landscaping will be added to the Glossary of the Comprehensive Plan. Click here for additional information.
Black Bear in Braddock
There have been recent sightings of a black bear wandering around in Fairfax County. While black bears are typically not aggressive, please do not attempt to feed or interact with the bear. All bear sightings should be reported to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries through the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at (855) 571-9003, TTY 711.

Unless the animal is sick or injured, or poses a threat to public safety, Fairfax County Animal Protection does not remove bears from a neighborhood. The Fairfax County Animal Protection Police can be reached through the police non-emergency number at (703) 691-2131.

While bears are not commonly encountered in Fairfax County, multiple bear sightings are reported in the county each spring and summer. Bears typically avoid humans, but may wander into suburban areas in search of food. Bears are attracted to bird feeders, garbage, outdoor pet food, compost piles, bee hives, fruit trees, and berry-producing shrubs. If addressed quickly, situations can be resolved almost immediately by removing the food source. Often a bear in your yard is just passing by and if it doesn't find food, will simply move on.
You can help manage the bear population by keeping your property clear of food attractants to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

Follow these tips:

  • Remove bird feeders if a bear is in the area. Bird feeders are a huge attractant for bears on residential property.

  • Secure your garbage. Store garbage indoors, in a shed, garage, or in a bear-proof container. Put garbage out on the morning of pickup, not the night before, or take it to the dump frequently.

  • Pick up pet food. Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove all uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.

  • Cover compost piles and keep compost away from house.

  • Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.

  • Clean the grill often. Do not dump drippings in your yard. Run the grill an extra 5 minutes to burn off grease.

  • Don’t store food, freezers, refrigerators, or trash on porches, patios or decks.

  • Talk to your neighbors. Make sure your neighbors and community are aware of the ways to prevent conflicts with bears.

  • Watch this video for additional tips on bear managment.

Click here to learn more on living near Black Bears.
RISE Grant Application Period Underway
The RISE Grant Program application period is now open until Monday, June 15 at 11:59 p.m. Fairfax County-based businesses and nonprofits are eligible to apply!

The grant program’s primary purpose is to provide immediate relief to small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fairfax County hopes to help small businesses and organizations remain in business through the COVID-19 emergency and address gaps that may exist among complementary programs.
Click here to apply.
Discounted Solar for Northern Virginians
The Solarize NOVA solar energy/energy efficiency program returns to Northern Virginia June 15 through August 31.

Since 2014, 372 contracts have been signed through the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP)'s  Solarize  program, totaling more than 3 MW of solar capacity and nearly $9 million in construction value with regional solar contractors. With a streamlined process and discounted pricing, Solarize NOVA is an affordable and convenient way for homeowners to go solar. The program is run by LEAP in partnership with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), and the participating municipal governments. For more information about the program, tune in to an upcoming  virtual information session .

Click here if you're a home or business owner interested in exploring their solar options. Upon signing up with Solarize NOVA, you will be eligible for  a complimentary home energy assessment with LEAP . This 90-minute assessment will offer you a clear road map for improving the overall energy-efficiency of your home, as well as free energy-saving products.
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