Geer’s death exposed “obfuscation … and a lack of public accountability.”
Adam Torres, charged with murder in the death of Springfield resident John Geer, was the first Fairfax County Police officer in the history of the department to be charged in such a death.
Still striving to be the Connection to your community.
Connection Newspapers won dozens of awards from the Virginia Press Association for work done in 2015.
While FCPD has embraced many critical changes, supervisors need to move forward with oversight.
Last week, the Fairfax County Police Department posted a list and progress report of 202 recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission, each currently labeled as one of: implemented, in progress or under review.
Affordable Care Act could pay for help, better health for 100,000 uninsured people in Virginia with mental illness or addiction issues.
Poor people without health insurance in Virginia are being unnecessarily tortured, in some cases to death, by a General Assembly that refuses to expand Medicaid.
Homelessness should be rare, brief and non-recurring; 776 fewer homeless individuals in 2016 than in 2008.
Homelessness is down in Fairfax County in every major category, a fact confirmed on Jan. 28, 2016, the annual Point in Time Count.
Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), will offer the 2016 St. Patty’s Day SoberRide program, providing free cab rides to would-be drunk drivers throughout the Washington-metropolitan area next Thursday, March 17.
In a world: Barbaric.
No doubt Virginia and Texas will be the last two states to continue with the death penalty until, inevitably, evolving standards of decency lead the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that the death penalty is unconstitutional.
General Assembly has potential to do lots of damage in a short period.
From pressing for use of a barbaric form of execution, the electric chair, to codifying discrimination, to stripping localities of the major tool for ensuring infrastructure is in place for new development, to hiding more and more critical public information from the public, the Virginia General Assembly is poised to do harm to the Commonwealth.
Last week, the Assembly passed SB 202, which undid a major push eight years ago to ensure that all of our public spending was ‘online’ and searchable by ordinary citizens. This, of course, meant disclosing the salaries of public employees over a certain income level.
When police encounter someone in mental health crisis, they can transport them to Merrifield Crisis Response Center instead of jail.
Natasha McKenna died a little more than a year ago on Feb. 7, 2015.
Assembly rushes bill limiting proffers without addressing who will pay for infrastructure.
In Virginia, a Dillon Rule state, local governments have only the powers explicitly granted by the General Assembly. And what the assembly gives, the assembly can take away.
Super Bowl Sunday is Sunday, Feb. 7, and often more about the parties than the game.
The General Assembly prides itself in providing a pro-business climate, but refuses infusion of more than $3 billion annually.
Hundreds of bills before this year’s General Assembly session focus on “business climate,” providing incentives for businesses to locate and expand here, extending tax exemptions and tax credits, encouraging international trade, reducing regulation and many other approaches perceived as pro-business.
Bills to rein in predatory lending die in Senate committee.
Have you ever paid 36 percent interest on a loan or credit card?
General Assembly action matters more in Virginia.
The Virginia General Assembly began its 60-day 2016 session on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
County looks at “lines of business,” schools call for full funding.
Karen Garza didn’t move to Fairfax County from Texas to preside over the decline of Fairfax County Public Schools.
A few wishes for the Virginia General Assembly, more coming ...
Issues and elections in 2016.
The pages of the Connection have been full of holiday spirit for more than a month. Menorah lightings, group and individual efforts to help the needy, stories of giving, secular celebrations, religious celebrations.
It’s an opportunity to talk about responsibility, alcohol and planning ahead.
The holiday party season is here, and we will almost all be celebrating in some way. Some ways will involve celebrations that include alcohol.
Every day can be “small business day.”
There is a joy to participating in community traditions and celebrations during the holidays, from walking along a sidewalk with the streets decked out for the holidays, to shopping in local stores, to being greeted by someone likely to be the owner of the store, to finding gifts that are not mass-produced
The holidays are about giving, and giving thanks. The holidays are about children and family. The holidays are about sharing, about joy.
Every veteran has a story, and a path to housing.
Jameel Mubaarik of Reston is a 63-year-old Army veteran and mechanical engineer, a former Reston homeowner.
Get ready to send your submissions soon.
During the last week of each year, The Connection devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children.
Report: Local schools spend less to educate more challenging students.
Since Fiscal Year 2009, Alexandria Public Schools has reduced per pupil spending by 13.3 percent, adjusted for inflation.
Early voting available for most voters now; vote by Nov. 3.
The news is all about Donald, Hilary, Bernie, Carlie, Joe and Jeb. That’s next year, November 2016. The election in less than a month matters here in Northern Virginia. What are your priorities?
Evolving standards will eclipse the death penalty entirely at some point in the future.
It’s sad to see senseless death as a response to senseless death. Alfred R. Prieto is not a sympathetic figure, a serial killer who was on death row in California when DNA connected him to murders and rapes in Reston and Arlington that took place in 1988. He is scheduled for execution this week, at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1.
4:50 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18: Crossing Prince Street in Old town Alexandria.
Voting begins in two weeks, Sept. 18.
Election Day is Nov. 3, and on that day, virtually every state and local office is on the ballot. In-person absentee voting begins Sept. 18, barely two weeks from now.
Report offers blueprint for transforming aspects of policing, jail and services for people with mental illness.
Yesterday, for the first time in the history of Fairfax County Police Department, a Fairfax County Police officer was charged in a shooting death.
Strongly worded recommendations for police on transparency and public trust; FCPD has miles to go.
Outrage over the shooting death of John Geer of Springfield on Aug. 29, 2013, by a Fairfax County Police officer led the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to form of the Ad Hoc Police Practice Review Commission, which began meeting in March 2015. The Communications Subcommittee was the first to give recommendations to the full commission, and the report pulled no punches.
Share tips in upcoming Newcomers and Community Guides.
The Connection’s annual Newcomers and Community Guides will publish Aug. 26. A bevy of interns, plus staff writers and editors, are preparing this year’s editions, but we need help from our readers.
Thousands of students will begin school this fall at a disadvantage; help now so they have the basics.
The first day of school each year is fraught with anticipation and anxiety. Many local students will be concerned about what they wear, who they will see, what it will be like. They’ve already had multiple shopping trips, online and otherwise, to be sure they have the supplies and extras they need. We live in an area where many if not most families have the means and desire to do almost whatever it takes to give their children the best chances for success.
Thousands of students will begin school this fall at a disadvantage; help now so they have the basics.
The first day of school each year is fraught with anticipation and anxiety. Many local students will be concerned about what they wear, who they will see, what it will be like. They’ve already had multiple shopping trips, online and otherwise, to be sure they have the supplies and extras they need.
Politicians shouldn’t be choosing voters.
Virginia’s Congressional map is unconstitutional because African American voters are packed into District 3, according to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The problem will have to be remedied by drawing new boundaries.
Spend some of your campaign dollars in newspapers.
Here at the Connection, our email boxes are filling up with messages from people running for office. It’s not surprising, since in November, virtually every state and local office in the commonwealth is on the ballot.
Talking and planning about celebrating July 4, and throughout the summer months.
Independence Day is a national celebration, and for many, that celebration includes alcohol. The summer overall and July 4 in particular are times of greater risk for drinking and driving.
New “safe reporting” law encourages people to seek help in time.
The death rate due to heroin overdose more than doubled between 2010 through 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with an average increase of 37 percent per year in the United States.
On Memorial Day, take at least one minute to reflect on those who have died.
On Memorial Day, we remember all of those who have died in military service, more than 400,000 in World War II, more than 30,000 in Korea, more than 50,000 in Vietnam. As many as 620,000 soldiers died in the line of duty in the Civil War, stunningly about 2 percent of the population at that time. To compare, while more than 2.5 million soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, that number is still less than one percent of the U.S. population.
This week and next, we print Mother’s Day photos, and we call for photos for Father’s Day. Father's Day is Sunday, June 21, 2015 and once again the Connection will publish a gallery of Father's Day photos.
Saturday, May 9, is the postal carriers food drive; put a sturdy bag with food donation next to your mailbox that morning.
There are families dealing with hunger in every county in the United States, including here in Northern Virginia.
Why are federal dollars acceptable for roads, but not for helping foster children?
While there is plenty of competition for the title “most vulnerable,” foster children are certainly among them.
Variety of coverage honored at annual Virginia Press Association conference.
On Saturday, April 18, a group of journalists from the Connection Newspapers traveled to Roanoke for the annual Virginia Press Association event to collect awards for business reporting, government writing, writing about health, science and the environment, feature writing, sports writing, column writing, obituaries, cartoons, entertainment pages and writing, public safety writing, editorial pages and writing, page design, informational graphics and more.
Register, research, vote. And vote again.
Every year is an election year in Virginia. Here are a few examples that demonstrate that while elections are ubiquitous in Virginia, they are neither simple nor unimportant. Wade in, a lot depends on figuring this out and voting. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of candidates.
A look at recently ended session of the Virginia General Assembly.
The 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly came to an end last week, and some of the biggest news was about what it did not do.
Time for change in public access to police information.
The first meeting of the Fairfax County Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission will take place next Monday, March 23, and it comes with hope for real change.
Natasha McKenna’s death provides window on national concern.
A national report released on Feb. 11 highlighted the prevalence of people with mental illness incarcerated in local jails.
Secrecy around police shootings has been a problem for at least a decade.
The official position of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on the need for changes in policy after the shooting of John Geer by police in Springfield in August of 2013 appears to be that this is the first time police policies have been a problem: “Policies for handling police-involved incidents, which served us well for decades, were inadequate in this complicated situation.”
Everything about this case erodes public trust and demonstrates police departments should not be allowed to apply “blanket” exemptions to release of information.
After waiting 17 months for any information about the investigation into the shooting death of John Geer, the information released last week is deeply troubling.
The Pet Connection, a bi-annual themed edition, will publish Feb. 25, 2015.
Supervisors should take action, not defer to “outside expert,” on absurd and outrageous behavior of police department.
Finally, now that the Fairfax County Police Department has taken stonewalling into the arena of the absurd, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has at least said it is time for change. It is a step, but a step that continues the appearance of obfuscation if not outright obstruction.