Newsletter of the Rose Hill Civic Association
RHCA Officers and Volunteers
Editor, The Rambler
RHCA, P.O. Box 10891, Alexandria, VA 22310
Traffic Calming Petition Drive Nears Deadline: Sign Up Now
By the time the Rose Hill Civic Association meets at the John Marshall Library at 7pm on Tuesday, September 25, every street in the community will have been canvassed by volunteers asking support for a traffic calming petition. As of September 15, almost 300 residents have signed the petition, which asks the County and the Virginia Department of Transportation to provide a plan for traffic calming on Rose Hill Drive and Cottonwood Drive west of Rose Hill Drive. When the petition is presented to the County and VDOT, RHCA will ask that numerous other streets in the community be added to the list.
If you haven’t signed the petition as yet, please come to the September 25 meeting and add your name to the list. All of the sheets provided by the County and VDOT will be available for the signatures of those who have not yet signed. All streets in Rose Hill with the exception of the east side of Roundhill Road and its cul de sacs, Thornwood Drive, and Driftwood Drive are included. If you want your street to be considered for inclusion on the list, please add your signature to the petition.
Volunteers have been knocking on doors since January. It has been tough going as finding people at home or getting them to answer the door has been difficult. Of those whom we have met face to face, less than 10 have declined to sign the petition. If we haven’t been able to contact you as yet, please help us out by dropping by the Library on Tuesday, September 25. Obviously, traffic safety is a big issue in Rose Hill so join your neighbors in the campaign.
We hope to wrap up the petition drive soon. A large number of signatures will be necessary in order to get the County and VDOT to take our concerns seriously. We have been given a monumental task that requires contact with almost 600 homes. If you haven’t signed, please do so at your earliest convenience. If you can’t get out, call me at 703.971.4716 and I will drop by at a time convenient for both of us. This is extremely important, particularly to our young people who walk to school and those to hike or jog on our sidewalks or use them to get to the bus stop, school, Library, shopping center, or Lee District Park. Most can’t get anywhere without crossing the street, so we want to make it a safe journey by slowing down those who drive on our streets.
It Is Illegal…
to operate a ‘boarding house’ in a residential community
to subdivide a single family home into two or more living quarters
to overpopulate (as defined by the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance) a single-family residence
to allow trash to pile up on the property
to fail to cut the grass or trim the bushes
to park cars on the front lawn
to park more than one commercial vehicle in a residential neighborhood
to park large commercial and/or construction vehicles in a residential neighborhood
to park any vehicle on the grass strip between the sidewalk and the road on Rose Hill Drive
to park unlicensed and/or inoperable vehicles on the public street
to park unlicensed and/or inoperable vehicles on private property that are within view of any property line
to park in such a way to block a fire hydrant or your neighbor’s driveway.
These are a few of the recent violations reported to the County in Rose Hill. If you see a violation in your neighborhood, contact any of the RHCA officers and we will pass it on to the proper authority. We intend to keep our community free of blight. And, a word to those who purchase those large inflatable swimming pools—the County has safety rules governing swimming pools. Please make sure you understand those rules before you put one in your yard. If they are unattended and not behind a fence, they are a safety hazard.
Rose Hill Raid Painting
RHCA has purchased a replica of John Paul Swain’s latest painting, ‘Rose Hill Raid.’ The print is one of a numbered limited series and is signed by the artist, a renowned creator of Civil War art. When properly framed, the print will be displayed at the John Marshall Library. The scene recalls the raid at Rose Hill by Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby and a small group of his men on September 28, 1863. On that occasion, one of the raiders, French Dulany, captured his own father, who owned the Rose Hill house and had remained loyal to the Union. The house was located at the end of what is now May Boulevard. Ironically, young Dulany later was killed in Herndon while engaged against the Second Massachusetts Cavalry around October 1864, while his father, who was imprisoned in Richmond after the Rose Hill raid, survived the war. The print will be unveiled at the September 25 RHCA meeting at the Library. After the meeting, the print will be on temporary display at the Library. After framing, the replica will be displayed permanently there. Rose Hill residents who contribute $25 or more toward the cost of the print and the frame will be acknowledged as part of the permanent display. Make checks payable to RHCA and send them to P.O. Box 10891, Franconia, VA 22310. The print cost $675 plus tax. The cost of the framing and display has yet to be determined. Personal prints of the artwork can still be obtained by individuals. Click on myrosehill.com for information. Come to the September 25 RHCA meeting to view this extraordinary artwork depicting an event during the Civil War that happened right here in Rose Hill.
Help Our Library
The John Marshall Library is looking for volunteers to help sort, catalog, price, and shelve books that have been donated. Profits are used for further programs at John Marshall. If you are like me, you keep your eye on the used book shelf at the Library for reading material. Imagine being able to go through the donations and having first shot at purchasing your favorites. That’s the perk that goes with this volunteer effort. The Library staff will train you. Stop by and sign up to help at our community resource.
And, if you are a computer enthusiast, the Library can use your help in showing customers how to use the electronic facilities in weekly one-on-one sessions. John Marshall recently lost a long-time volunteer who was a valuable resource for both staff and customers. Again, if you can help, stop by the Library and ask for details.
On Wednesday, October 17, you can explore the virtual library at John Marshall through a series of hands-on seminars between the hours of 3pm and 8pm. You can learn how to trace your family tree, download e-books and other electronic programs. Check the front desk at the Library or our Rose Hill Calendar section on Page 9 for a schedule of the events.
Night Out in Rose Hill
Rose Hill participated in the national community-police Night Out program for the first time this year. The nationwide effort takes place on the first Tuesday in August. Citizens gather at cookouts, meetings, etc. to show their solidarity against crime in their communities. Local police and sheriff’s departments visit most, if not all, of the community gatherings. In Rose Hill, we had representation from both the police and sheriff’s departments. A large number of residents gathered in the front yard of Dave and Linda Nichols at 6416 Rose Hill Drive. RHCA provided hot dogs and other goodies. The Nichols provided the lemonade and cold water, a big hit in the 90+ degree weather. Marie Sherfey and Leah Decker pitched in with some delicious cookies. Dave Nichols cooked the hot dogs. There was no formal program, just an opportunity to meet your neighbors and show your support for our local law enforcement officers. The gathering wound up at dark with the police driving some residents who had walked back to their homes so they wouldn’t have to cross Rose Hill Drive. The Nichols are already looking forward to hosting next year’s event. RHCA hopes others will stage similar events in other parts of the community. Rose Hill is a big place, so there’s room for more Night Out events. If you are interested in having an outing on your block, contact either Carl Sell or Linda Nichols. You also will find information at the National Night Out web site.
4612 Roundhill Road
The County has notified the owner that the house must be boarded up to prevent looting or entry by others. The windows are broken so entry would be easy. If the owner doesn’t take steps to secure the property, the County will do it for him and place a lien on the property in the amount of the cost. So, what we’ll have is a boarded up eyesore, not much of an improvement. Numerous attempts have been made to get the County to cut the grass and bill the owner. As of this writing, nothing has been done. RHCA and the neighbors have complained about this property on numerous occasions over the last FIVE years. All the agencies do is pass the buck to another agency until we wind up right back where we began. We are contemplating a publicity demonstration at the property in an effort to embarrass the County into action. Any volunteers?
Although there is nothing new to report on Rose Hill Reserve or the property between Driftwood Drive and Telegraph Road, there was activity over the summer on two other small projects. Clearing took place on the two acres that front on Telegraph Road between Rose Hill Drive and Split Rock Road. The owner or his agent is trying to market the property as a home site, down from the five houses he previously sought to develop. The County has yet to approve a soils report, a prerequisite for any kind of development. Workmen violated private property to obtain access to the site before police were called and they were force to move. Activity was also reported on Rock-A-By Road as the owner of a two-acre lot moved in equipment to engage in clearing in order to develop. Of course, he had no plan on file and was advised that it would not be a smart thing to start cutting down trees prior to submitting a plan. He was also advised that storage of construction equipment on residentially zoned property was not allowed by the zoning ordinance. If you see any activity on vacant land near you, call RHCA immediately. We can’t trust the owners or potential developers to know the rules or abide with them if they do.
Abuser Fee Update
It’s hard to get straight information as to how this bill passed the Virginia House and Senate, was amended by Governor Kaine, and finally signed into law. Hopefully, The Rambler will provide some facts you won’t read anywhere else. It is interesting to note that the bill that passed the legislature included penalizing out of state drivers and required a vote of local jurisdiction governing bodies before any fees were levied. Both our representatives, Senator Jay O’Brien and Delegate Mark Sickles, voted for the bill. After the legislative session, the governor amended the bill to exempt out of state drivers from having to pay the abusive driver fee and put the vote requiring the fees in the hands of a regional body, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, instead of our local elected representatives. Faced with the threat of a veto (which would mean no money for transportation), the House and Senate agreed to the changes. The abuser fees are estimated to total $65 million per year, of which $6 million is to be spent in Northern Virginia. A drop in the bucket when compared with our needs. Both Senator O’Brien and Delegate Sickles favor changing the law. Senator O’Brien favors either deleting abuser fees from the law or at least having it apply to all drivers, including those who visit our state. Delegate Sickles favors rescinding the abuser fee portion of the revenue bill for transportation. On his web site, he suggests a gas tax as an alternative. What started as a bi-partisan effort to provide money for transportation has deteriorated into partisan charges as the election heats up. For the record, Senator O’Brien is a Republican, Delegate Sickles and the governor are Democrats. Senator O’Brien’s Democratic opponent has chastised him for his role in this issue. He doesn’t mention Delegate Sickles, who is unopposed, or Governor Kaine, who is running this Fall. So much for bi-partisanship.
New Taxes Coming
In addition to the abuser fees, there are new taxes being assessed with the proceeds going to transportation. The new taxes approved by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission include a $10 increase in the annual safety inspection fee and a $10 increase in the annual registration fee. In addition, there will be a 5 percent increase on the labor costs for auto repairs, a two percent tax increase on rental cars, and a one percent increase in the initial vehicle registration fee on the value for new car purchase or people moving to the region and registering an auto. Also, the seller will pay 40 cents per hundred for the sale of residential or commercial property and there will be a two percent increase in the room rental rate for transient occupancy. And, the Board of Supervisors is moving toward an increase in the assessment for commercial real estate, which currently is assessed at the same rate as residential real estate. The Board has indicated it will use the proceeds for local roads.
Fairfax County Crime Solvers is still asking for the public’s help in identifying the man believed to be responsible for the deaths of two women last year. Marion Barbara Marshall, 72, was found deceased by a friend on Monday, August 14, 2006, around 6pm at her home on Bostwick Drive in North Springfield. An investigation revealed that Ms. Marshall died of trauma to the upper body. Detectives learned that she shopped at the Giant located at 6980 Braddock Road about 11:15am that same morning. The store’s surveillance video shows her in the store. Marion Newman, 74, was found deceased by a friend at 11:15am on Tuesday, November 21, 2006, at her home on Reservoir Road in the Springfield area. A police investigation revealed that Ms. Newman died as a result of result of trauma to the upper body. Detectives found no signs of forced entry but did find evidence of a struggle inside the home.
Detectives have now determined that both homicides were committed by the same suspect. This development stems from evidence obtained in both investigations. Anyone with information on either homicide or the suspect involved, no matter how trivial, is asked to call the Fairfax County Crime Solvers at 1.866.411.TIPS (8477). In addition, anyone who may have seen Ms. Marshall at the shopping center on August 14, 2006, also is asked to call. There are rewards involved in each case. As always, callers never have to give their name or appear in court.
This past August 7, Brian Harold Kennedy, 50, of Centreville, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer in connection with the purchase of an AK-47 assault rifle and to the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition by a user of marijuana. Kennedy was indicted in April by a federal grand jury on six counts of weapons charges and two counts of drug charges. In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Kennedy admitted to having used marijuana for the last 10 years and to having unlawfully possessed on May 8, 2006, 20 firearms and approximately 2,500 rounds of ammunition at his home. He also admitted to using and storing marijuana at his home as well as using it there with his son, Michael Kennedy, and his son’s friends.
On May 8, 2006, Michael Kennedy shot two Fairfax County Police officers at the Sully District Station in Centreville. Detective Vicki Armel was killed at the station. Master Police Office Michael Garbarino died nine days later at Fairfax Hospital. Michael Kennedy was shot and killed at the scene on May 8. Brain Kennedy faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment on each of the two charges.
In the Rose Hill area, Vocelli’s Pizza in the shopping center was burglarized on Saturday, August 24, at 3:25am. A man entered through the roof, stole an undisclosed amount of money, and fled via the same route. Earlier in the month, a 1989 Ford Taurus was stolen from Thornwood Drive.
Fairfax County Park Authority Sponsored Events
Saturday, September 29. NEW! NYC – Full Island Cruise. Enjoy a refreshing three-hour cruise and discover the secrets of the city – three rivers, seven major bridges, five boroughs, over 25 world renowned landmarks and, of course, a magnificent close-up of the Statue of Liberty. The $110 fee includes motor coach and admission. Bus departs Fair Oaks Mall at 7:30am and returns at 10pm; Mason Government Center at 8am and returns at 9:30am; South County Government Center at 8:30am and returns at 9pm. To reserve, call 703.324.8687.
Saturday, September 29. Jamestown Settlement, VA. Commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown by touring their settlement, viewing artifacts, and experiencing their past through an engaging film. The $77 fee includes motor coach, guided tour, gallery, and movie. Enjoy lunch at the Jamestown Café. Bus departs George Washington RECenter at 6am and returns at 8:30pm; George Mason Library at 6:30am and returns at 8pm; Fairfax County Government Center at 7am and returns at 7:30pm. To reserve, call 703.324.8687.
Sunday, September 30. NEW! National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, VA. Experience the past, present, and future of U.S. Marines at a museum that is a monument to honor, courage, and commitment. The $41 fee includes travel by motor coach. Lunch is on your own. Bus departs Fair Oaks Mall at 11:45am and returns at 5:15pm; Mason Government Center at 12:15pm and returns at 4:45pm; South County Government Center at 12:45pm and returns at 4:15pm. To reserve, call 703.324.8687.
Money’s Role in Virginia’s State and Local Elections
For the past ten years, the non partisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) has brought trans-parency and accountability to the election process. Using computer technology, VPAP helps Virginians understand the role of money in state and local elections. Politics has become a major industry, with state and local candidates spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for part-time jobs. VPAP empowers citizens to see for themselves “without the filter of the media or campaign ads” who is paying for the campaigns for state House, state Senate and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. At www.vpap.org, informed citizens such as yourself can view a complete list of contributors sorted by amount, name, zip code, locality, and occupation. You can even plot the information on a map.
Virginia’s campaign finance system stands in contrast to the federal system, which seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics by erecting legal barriers between elected representatives and special interests. But a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision found a key portion of the 2002 McCain-Feingold law violates the constitutional right to free speech.
Virginia is one of a handful of states that does not limit corporate, PAC, or personal campaign contributions. Anything goes as long as candidates disclose the name, occupation and address of any donor who gives more than $100. The idea is that politicians who do not show restraint will put themselves at risk if voters perceived them to be more responsive to monied supporters than to their constituents.
For decades, the flaw in the Virginia system was that voters had no practical way to access candidates’ disclosure reports, which collected dust in filing cabinets at local and state agencies. In 1997, VPAP brought the information out of the darkness by keying the reports into a database and posting the information online. For the first time, Virginians had immediate and easy access to where candidates got their campaign funds and how they spent it.
During the last decade, VPAP has broadened its view of money in politics by integrating information about gifts and trips reported by elected officials, lobbyist registrations and candidates’ personal financial holdings. VPAP weaves all of this information into a single database and makes it available free to the public at www.vpap.org.
VPAP takes a ‘just-the-facts’ approach. It does not comment or interpret, but leaves it to voters to draw their own conclusions. One Virginia newspaper has called VPAP.org a “remarkable cyberplace” where the public can “learn a lot more about the candidates by tracking their money than by listening to their stump speeches.”
I invite you to visit our site and see for yourself. Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. There is still time for you to learn the source of money behind each candidate and to understand what that says, if any-thing, about what kind of representative they will be.
—David Poole [David is the Executive Director of the Virginia Public Access Project. He may be reached at email@example.com
The Star Spangled Banner
In 1812, the United States went to war with Great Britain, primarily over freedom of the seas. We were in the right. For two years, we held off the British, even though we were still a rather weak country. Great Britain was in a life and death struggle with Napoleon. In fact, just as the United States declared war, Napoleon marched off to invade Russia. If he won, as everyone expected, he would control Europe, and Great Britain would be isolated. It was no time for her to be involved in an American war.
At first, our seamen proved better than the British. After we won a battle on Lake Erie in 1813, the American commander, Oliver Hazard Perry, sent the message, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” However, the weight of the British navy beat down our ships eventually. New England, hard-hit by a tightening blockade, threatened secession.
Meanwhile, Napoleon was beaten in Russia and in 1814 was forced to abdicate. Great Britain now turned its attention to the United States, launching a three-pronged attack.
The northern prong was to come down Lake Champlain toward New York and seize parts of New England.
The southern prong was to go up the Mississippi, take New Orleans and paralyze the west.
The central prong was to head for the mid-Atlantic states and then attack Baltimore, the greatest port south of New York. If Baltimore was taken, the nation, which still hugged the Atlantic coast, could be split in two. The fate of the United States, then, rested to a large extent on the success or failure of the central prong.
The British reached the American coast, and on August 24, 1814, took Washington, D.C. Then they moved up the Chesapeake Bay toward Baltimore. On September 12, they arrived and found 1,000 men in Fort McHenry, whose guns controlled the harbor. If the British wished to take Baltimore, they would have to take the fort.
On one of the British ships was an aged physician, William Beanes, who had been arrested in Maryland and brought along as a prisoner. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and friend of the physician, had come to the ship to negotiate his release.
The British captain was willing, but the two Americans would have to wait. It was now the night of September 13, and the bombardment of Fort McHenry was about to start.
As twilight deepened, Key and Beanes saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry. Through the night, they heard bombs bursting and saw the red glare of rockets. They knew the fort was resisting and the American flag was still flying. But toward morning the bombardment ceased and a dread silence fell. Either Fort McHenry had surrendered and the British flag flew above it, or the bombardment had failed and the American flag still flew.
As dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Key and Beanes stared out at the fort, trying to see which flag flew over it. He and the physician must have asked each other over and over, “Can you see the flag?”
After it was all finished, Key wrote a four stanza poem telling the events of the night. Called “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” it was published in newspapers and swept the nation. Someone noted that the words fit an old English tune called, “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a difficult melody with an uncomfortably large vocal range. For obvious reasons, Key’s work became known as “The Star Spangled Banner,” and in 1931 Congress declared it the official anthem of the United States.
Now that you know the story, here are the words. Presumably, the old doctor is speaking. This is what he asks Key:
Oh! say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
(“Ramparts,” in case you don’t know, are the protective walls or other elevations that surround a fort.) The first stanza asks a question. The second gives an answer:
On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mist of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep.
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream
’Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
“The towering steep” is again the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and the British can do nothing more but sail away, their mission a failure. In the third stanza, I feel Key allows himself to gloat over the American triumph. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Key probably was in no mood to act otherwise. During World War I, when the British were our staunchest allies, this third stanza was not sung. However, I know it, so here it is:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung more slowly than the other three and with even deeper feeling.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I hope you will look at the national anthem with new eyes. Listen to it, the next time you have a chance, with new ears. Pay attention to the words. And don’t let them ever take it away ... not even one word of it. [and it’s sung in English]
Star Spangled Banner
—Near the end of his life, the great science fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote this short story about the four stanzas of our national anthem. Thanks to Chuck Wimberly who provided it to The Rambler.
Advertising in the Rambler
We have recently received several inquiries concerning advertising in the Rambler. While a listing in the Business Directory is free to Rose Hill residents who own their business, placing an actual advertisement is open to all with rates as follows per month:
Business Card size 3 1/2" x 2" $10 Quarter page size 3 1/2" x 4 3/4" $25 Half page size 7 1/2" x 4 3/4" $50 Full page size 7 1/2" x 9 3/4" $100
Ads may be bought for either one month only, month-to-month, or as many months in advance as desired. Our newsletter is published nine times a year, excluding July, August and December.
Advertising in the Rambler is an excellent way to reach the 700+ homes in our community. In addition, the ads each month are placed on our website. www.MyRoseHill.com for the world to see.
Anyone interested in placing an ad may call the editor (me) at 703.924.7192. I will need the artwork sent to me either electronically in a .tiff or .jpg format or as a hard copy through the mail. Checks made out to RHCA may be included with ads mailed to me, or sent to our PO Box 10891 for quick access to the treasurer.
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