Teenagers are sleep deprived, and sleep deprivation takes a significant toll on safety, health and learning. We’ve known this for decades. But for decades, literally, Fairfax County Public Schools (and Montgomery County, Md.) have let a combination of reactionary blabber ("buck up and get moving;" "just tell them to go to bed earlier") and organizational resistance prevent implementing a solution to this very real problem. Getting up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. to hop on a school bus at 5:45 a.m. or even as late at 6:30 a.m. to get to school by 7:20 a.m. is not healthy for teenagers. It is nearly impossible for teenagers to go to sleep before 11 p.m. or midnight. Fairfax County high school students average six hours of sleep a night on weeknights. Research shows they need nine hours of sleep. Research has also quantified the costs of sleep deprivation.
I’ve always stood for the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. When I started my presidential campaign in 2003, I was against the Iraq War, and had worked hard as Governor of Vermont to create marriage equality and universal health care in my home state. Those positions weren’t totally popular at the time. But I believe candidates should pay attention not only to their prospective constituents, but also to their internal compass.
Get outside with your family, participate in group activities, or just walk in your favorite park.
Earth Day is April 22, observed April 19-27 and beyond. Fairfax County offers many useful and educational ways to enjoy the day. Don’t miss the chance to get outside, observe the developing spring weather, flora and fauna. Here are some of the opportunities:
As I was completing last week’s column ("I Thought I Was a Goner") and thanking my oncology nurse, Ron, in the process, for the excellent care he has provided me for nearly five years now; a week after I wrote a column thanking my Certified Holistic Health Coach, Rebecca Nenner, for the health and fitness-type knowledge she has given me over those same five years; it dawned on me that perhaps my subconscious mind knew something that my conscious mind didn’t: that I should move closer to the undertaker like Radar’s Uncle Ernest did two days before he died, in the M*A*S*H episode titled "Novacaine Mutiny" from season four.
As you consider the FY 2015 proposed city budget, we urge you to make additional and needed investments in housing, health and human services programs. These recommendations were developed through a collaborative process of nonprofit housing developers, human service providers, and advocacy organizations identifying community needs and then making recommendations for the FY 2015 budget.
If you’ve ever played that classic board game, “The Game of Life,” you’re familiar with the game’s first important life choice: College Path or Career Path. No doubt, a similar choice is on the minds of upcoming seniors at Alexandria’s T.C. Williams High School as they finalize their choices for next year’s classes. For those choosing to pursue the career path first, they have a new course option called the Claude Moore Surgical Tech Scholars Program. Created as a joint venture between Alexandria City Public Schools, Inova Alexandria Hospital and the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, the Surgical Tech program resulted from a very real need to fill healthcare jobs in this specialty right now, while also preparing a pool of qualified applicants to meet future demand. Data from the U.S.
* FY 14 merits and salary adjustments were effective July 1, 2013 * There is no executive summary giving everyone a 5 percent increase, the proposed FY 15 budget contains an average merit of 3.2 percent for the entire organization * 1 percent increase for all employees for VRS As of 3-26-14.
To the Editor: Its budget time again in Alexandria and based on [City Manager] Mr. Young's proposed budget items, once again he continues to leave Alexandria loaded with debt while continuing to raise his salary and those of his staff, cutting 33 positions and just "moving the deck chairs" around as it relates to staff reductions, but no eliminations along with a much higher real estate tax initially proposed due to high debt limit and City Council's inability to say "no" to anything. As such, here are some of my questions/suggestions for Mayor Euille and all members of the council to consider and/or ask Mr. Young before adopting this budget.
To the Editor: We, the presidents of the NorthEast Citizens’ Association and the North Old Town Independent Citizens Association, are writing to express the deep concern of many of our members over the budget proposal to remove Fire Engine 204 from Station 204. The city manager has proposed that rather than keep in the budget firefighter positions needed to staff Station 210, the needed firefighter positions from 204 will be transferred to 210. Fire Engine 204 itself would otherwise not need to be moved; in recent years, the city purchased a full fleet of new engines.
April 16 has been designated as National Healthcare Decisions Day by national, state and community organizations. This special day was established to encourage adults of all ages to plan ahead for a health care crisis. This is also a great day to focus on how you can prepare yourself and your loved ones to face the decisions that will confront us all as we age.
To the Editor: In 2012, the City Council unanimously approved the city’s strategic plan on aging. The plan supports the goal of most older Alexandria residents to age in place, in their homes and in the community they love. The city manager’s proposed budget threatens to undermine the ability of many residents to stay in the city. The budget calls for termination of Senior Taxi; imposition of steep cuts in property tax relief for older or disabled homeowners; and termination of JobLink’s program providing employment assistance for older job seekers.
To the Editor: What is our goal for Alexandria? To be attractive to upper-income retirees? Or make Alexandria a place where talented young people want to live and raise a family? Judging from recent waterfront discussions, it’s the former — affluent seniors. The best research available, however, says if you want to lock in future prosperity, go for young families. Don’t get me wrong. Waterfront development is coming along reasonably well, and I compliment leadership on its work. It’s just that we need a course correction to make sure we’re heading where we want to go and don’t drift into a dead-zone of older seasonal residents whose memories and priorities are elsewhere.
To the Editor: I’ve always wondered what happens when Democrats control a democracy. Alexandria is great petri dish to make this observation. Not only is it full of Democrats, it’s full the best kind: government employees. Alexandria is awash with them. Understandably, their proclivity is to turn to government for leadership, solutions and redress. To this mindset, the government is not the servant; it’s the master. And last month, our local master conquered. It vanquished the Old Town Boat Club. The city used police state threats and $5 million of our money to crush a venerable organization composed of private citizens. The city coveted their club property. Now, it appears what never belonged to the city is nearly in its hand.
To the Editor: Why is it that our property taxes have risen 135 percent since the year 2000? That’s an average increase of 7 percent every year. Yet we are consistently told by our council that the numerous new building developments they have ravaged upon us will create a tax base that will in turn give the citizens a break on their property taxes. That’s just pure baloney, as who is paying for the entire associated infrastructure. Obviously the developers aren’t; we are. Therefore the taxes generated by the city’s numerous overdevelopment programs are being spent in other areas and are not being returned to us as tax rebates.
Public and private sectors must work together to secure the resources critical to working families and at-risk individuals in our community.
The following letter to Alexandria City Council concerning housing and human services budget recommendations from the Alexandria Budget Advocacy Coalition for Housing and Human Services is shared with the Alexandria Gazette Packet.