Editor's Pick: Top 10 Stories of 2010
A look back at some of the best stories from 2010
2010 was a big year for Vienna Patch.
We were born in October and hit the ground running, covering everything from Town Council, to sports, to celebrations and moments of grief.
This week, instead of looking back at the last seven days, we're looking back at everything we've done in 2010.
A list of the top 10 stories, in no particular order. Let us know your favorite stories of the year in the comments.
1. Grandmother accused of throwing her 2-year-old granddaughter off a Tysons Walkway: A two-year-old child died at Inova Fairfax Hospital on Nov. 30 after a family member allegedly threw her off a sixth-story outdoor walkway at Tysons Corner Center.50-year-old Carmela Dela Rosa's defense is exploring the grandmother's mental health as they prepare for a Jan. 4 preliminary hearing. Dela Rosa is being held without bond. Police still have no motives.
2. Celebrating "Our School": In 1872, Vienna Elementary School was a wood frame structure with just two classrooms, facing a dirt road atop the place known in town as "Schoolhouse Hill." On Oct. 15, students, staff, and friends of the school gathered on that same hill to celebrate a massive 15,000 square foot addition and renovation of "Our School,"as Mayor Jane Seeman called it, featuring a new library and media center, a new cafeteria and kitchen, administrative offices, a music stage, and the welcomed absence of classroom trailers. Though the building's changed throughout the years – one story, two stories, or, after a fire in 1919, no stories at all – the structure itself isn't what's kept the spirit of the longest continually operating school in Fairfax County alive for the past 137 years. It's the community that's grown up inside it, and rallied and thrived around it.
3. Connolly Wins 11th District Race: Seven days after voters went to the polls, Keith Fimian announced he would concede the 11th District race to incumbent Gerry Connolly, though he trailed his democratic opponent by less than a half a percentage point (49.22 to 48.79) .
4. End of an Era: Cox Farms Leaves Vienna For Good: In the final days before Christmas, veteran Cox Farms employee and official Christmas tree pricer Lynn Hertz sold her last tree of the season. This year, it was also the farm's last sale at this spot along Chain Bridge Road. The produce and plant stand that has stood for nearly 40 years on Route 123 near Nutley Street closed Dec. 23, news that elicited a gasp from just about any Vienna resident. "I'm really sad," said one customer, who didn't want to give her name. "It gives (Vienna) a small-town feel."
5. A Towering Debate: Vienna Patch took a look at the cell towers going up across Northern Virginia in the package "A Towering Debate." Two towers were approved in town, one at Madison High School and another at Thoreau Middle School. The 105-foot tower at Madison will replace an existing light pole along the southern bleachers of the football field. The 115-foot Thoreau tower, just approved on Wednesday, will be colored brown and decorated with artificial foliage to hide its antennas. Milestone Communications founder Len Forkas says the towers, which have space for four different cell carriers, are driven by consumer demand for better and faster service on their ipads and smartphones. Some residents don't agree. The Fairfax County Planning Commission, which is bound by FCC emission standards, can't deny or block a cell tower application based on health concerns, but some residents are seeking other ways to block the structures from going up, including a more than 200-resident petition against the Madison Tower.
6. Silver Lining: If you live in the metropolitan Washington region or have ever driven out to Dulles International Airport, you've probably asked yourself at least one of these basic questions: Why is traffic so bad? What is all this construction? How much is all this road work costing taxpayers? From these questions stemmed a three-part series on the Dulles Metrorail. Patch took a deeper look at several aspects of this Virginia "Megaproject" and will be rolling out articles, photos and a video this week on topics ranging from highway congestion to economic development — all related to the new metro line.
- Part One (Published Dec. 20) "Silver Lining: Light at the End of the Track" and Video: A Brief History of the Dulles Metrorail
- Part Three (Published Dec. 22): "Silver Lining: 'Traffic Will Always Be Bad in Northern Virginia'" and "Who's Who: The Power Players of the Dulles Metrorail"
7. At NOVA Tea Party Banquet, O'Donnell Compares Jobless Benefits to Pearl Harbor: Christine O'Donnell—the Delaware Republican whose U.S. Senate race made her a national figure in the tea party movement—made national news this week from her remarks at the Northern Virginia Tea party banquet, when she called the extension of jobless benefits a "tragedy" on the level of other Dec. 7 tragedies like Pearl Harbor and the death of Elizabeth Edwards. At a Northern Virginia Tea Party banquet at Harvest Moon in Falls Church, O'Donnell urged Northern Virginia Tea Partiers to rally behind their candidates in the upcoming elections. (Watch video highlights of her speech here).
8. Two Key Players Leave Town Hall: Town Manager John Schoeberlein announced his retirement to Town Council in November after 25 years in the position, and more than 40 in local government. Schoeberlein will retire May 1, 2011. George Lovelace resigned Nov. 1 to retire with his wife to a new home in Locust Grove, Va.
9. Police Take Suspected Serial Burglar Into Custody:After more than three months of burglaries, Montgomery County Police arrested a man Nov. 17 they believe is responsible for more than 100 burglary and theft incidents across Fairfax County. Brad K. Edmonds, 34, of Kennebec Street in Oxon Hill, was arrested and charged on several counts. He is currently being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center in lieu of $425,000 bail, according to a Montgomery County Police press release. Fairfax County Police are continuing to investigate and anticipate charging the suspect in Fairfax County, according to a FCPD press release.As of Nov. 3, a total of 109 residences in Fairfax County had been hit. That included several in the Nicholas Circle area of Vienna, and a neighborhood that sits just outside town lines.
10. Bench Dedicated in Murder Victim's Honor: About six months ago, Vanessa Pham and her friends – former classmates at James Madison High School – spent a joyful day at the Vienna Town Green, a place they went often to hang out. They picnicked on the park's stage and took fun photos of each other. Just days later, that beautiful girl lost her life in a tragic, unsolved murder. Pham, 19 and home from her first year at the Savannah College of Art and Design, was found, stabbed, in her car in a ditch off Route 50 near Williams Drive. Her death continues to be investigated. Over the next months, family and friends struggled to comprehend her loss as they raised funds to pay for a funeral and remember Pham in a special way. That became a reality Dec. 27 when friends dedicated a bench at the Vienna Town Green in her memory.