Va. Transit Ridership Continues Downward Trend — Usage of the Metro’s Silver Line stations at Reston and Tysons is increasing, but that’s one of the few bright spots for public transportation ridership in the region. [WTOP]
Board to Determine Fate of Wedell’s Seat — Following Ray Wedell’s resignation from the Reston Association Board of Directors last week, remaining board members have a decision to make about whether to fill the seat and, if so, how. The term on the now-vacant seat runs through April. [Reston Association]
Reston Sisters Make Jewelry for Good Cause — A pair of local girls founded their own charity project, Rays of Hope, in 2012. They make jewelry out of shells they find on the beach in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and sell it to benefit CancerFree KIDS, a cause they became passionate about when their cousin was diagnosed with leukemia. [Connection Newspapers]
County Expands On-Scene Mental Health Work — The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board recently added a second fully operational Mobile Crisis Unit, part of the county’s “Diversion First” initiative to offer alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness and other disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low-level offenses. [Fairfax County]
Free Concert Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by Latin group Mambo Combo. A dance demonstration and instruction will also be provided. [Lake Anne Plaza]
Home Prices Continue Trending Upward — The average sales price of the nearly 2,000 Fairfax County homes that sold in June was $583,620. That’s up 7.2 percent from the annual 2016 average. [Fairfax County]
County’s ‘Diversion First’ Program Chosen for National Institute — Nine leaders from Fairfax County will attend the Data Driven Justice and Behavioral Health Design Institute in Maryland next month to address issues and complexities surrounding the program, which seeks alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and co-occurring substance use disorders. [Fairfax County]
Metro Sued After Rejecting Ads — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against WMATA on Wednesday, alleging that the transit agency’s advertising guidelines violate free speech. WMATA recently rejected an ACLU ad displaying the First Amendment, as well as an ad for a “10-week-after” abortion pill, a PETA ad suggesting people go vegan, and an ad for Milo Yiannopoulous’ new book. [WTOP]
Northam, Gillespie Win Governor Nominations — Virginia’s lieutenant governor will face the former Republican National Committee chairman in November’s general election to fill the Governor’s Mansion. Their running mates will be Justin Fairfax (D) and Jill Vogel (R). [WTOP]
Herndon PD Establishes Drug Collection Station — The new unit at the Herndon Police Department (397 Herndon Parkway) will provide residents with a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired medication, including controlled substances. [Herndon Police]
Former Phys-Ed Teacher Gets Principal Job — Nick Napolitano, who was a physical-education teacher at Aldrin Elementary School from 2011-2014, has been named the principal of W.C. Taylor Middle School in Warrenton. [Fauquier Now]
Diversion First Info Session Tonight — Interested in learning more about the county’s Diversion First program, which was developed to limit the number of mentally ill and disabled people in jail? A presentation is slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne (1609-A Washington Plaza N.). [Reston Now]
Farmers Market, Church Have Strong Partnership — Smart Markets operates out of the parking lot at St. John Neumann Catholic Community (11900 Lawyers Road) from 3-7 p.m. each Wednesday. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Photo courtesy Radhika Murari/RSTA
The Fairfax League of Women Voters is set to host a public presentation on Fairfax County’s Diversion First program.
The event will be on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne (1609-A Washington Plaza N.).
The presentation will include a panel led by the Hon. John Cook, Braddock District supervisor and chairman of the Board’s Public Safety Committee. On the panel will be law enforcement members such as Lt. Ryan Morgan of the Fairfax County Police Department; PFC Janelle Colie of the Fairfax County Office of the Sheriff; and Marissa Farina-Morse, Falls Church Community Services Board Service Director for Diversion First.
Diversion First was developed to limit the number of mentally ill and disabled people in jail. The county found that it was costing too much money to incarcerate people who needed help rather than jail time, according to information about the program.
The program relies on changing how law enforcement interacts with those with special needs. The county has required officers go through Crisis Intervention Team training so that they can better understand mental illnesses and learn how to de-escalate conflicts. The hope is that officers will be able to make informed decisions when confronting those with mental illnesses.
Part of the program allows officers to transfer nonviolent offenders to the CIT-trained officer or deputy assigned to the Merrifield Crisis Prevention Center. A law enforcement official is on duty at least 21 1/2 hours a day, every day of the week.
For more information about Wednesday’s event, visit the website of the League or call 703-658-9150.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) officially adopted its budget for FY2018 on Tuesday, with a 2.79-percent increase in funding for schools and nearly $2 million in additional funding for assistance to those suffering from mental illnesses.
County supervisors also voted to keep real estate taxes at the same rate of $1.13 per $100 assessed value of a property.
In a statement released around 11 a.m. Tuesday, following the BOS meeting, Chairman Sharon Bulova said “few changes” were made to the proposed budget that was previously advertised.
Though it falls roughly $47 million short of what education advocates told the County they needed, the superviors approved a 2.79-percent increase in funding for schools, bringing Fairfax County Public Schools’ annual budget to $2.17 billion for the upcoming 2017-18 school year. The increase is equivalent to an additional $53.4 million over FY2017.
In total, funding for schools is equal to 52.8 percent of the County’s total annual budget, Bulova said.
Another area that will see increased spending in FY2018 is the county’s new “Diversion First” program for those suffering with mental illness.
The program aims to divert individuals with mental illness away from jail and into treatment programs.
“In 2016, 375 people were diverted from potential incarceration, and I am proud to continue supporting this effective public safety and human services initiative,” Bulova said.
Bulova said, looking ahead, FY2019 will likely see even more budget challenges, particularly in areas like schools, housing, human services, the environment, and Metro.
“Metro is anticipated to require a significant increase in funding from local jurisdictions to promote safe and reliable service delivery,” she said. “As always, Fairfax County will remain vigilant to any future changes that may impact the local budget in the upcoming fiscal year.”
Read more about the county’s adopted budget on the Fairfax County Government website.