NOKESVILLE, Va. (WJLA) – Around 400,000 students in the Northern Virginia area are headed back-to-school Tuesday for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
For many of the students, they’ll be entering a new school or returning to school with a few changes. In Arlington County, students will now be able to take American Sign Language courses for the first time.
Prince William County added 600 new teachers for the new upcoming school year and two new schools, one of which is the Nokesville School.
The Nokesville School, formerly Nokesville Elementary, is the first public school in the county to offer classes to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The brand-new facility is the first of its kind.
Prince William County is also allowing incoming sixth-grade students to receive the state-required Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis on Tuesday if they have not yet received the vaccine. The shot will be administered on site at schools in the county for a $55 fee.
Loudoun County Public Schools will kick off the school year with a new superintendent, Dr. Eric Williams, who was the former superintendent of York County Public Schools. In Alexandria, students at T.C. Williams High School will receive new tablets for the school year.
Students at Falls Church’s Bailey’s Elementary School, one of the Fairfax County's most overcrowded schools, will begin attending classes in a hi-rise office building in Seven Corners.
Fairfax County students will also see a hike in the price of breakfast and lunch by 25 cents.
FAIRFAX, Va. (WJLA) &ndash: Just days after Montgomery County Public Schools officials announced three confirmed and nine suspected cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, among its students, the disease has now spread to Fairfax County.
So far, all of the known diagnosed cases of school-aged students with whooping cough in the Washington, D.C. region have been linked to Capital summer camp in Waynesboro, Pa. The disease has been spreading throughout Pennsylvania this summer.
As Fairfax County Public Schools students return to class on Tuesday, ABC 7 News has learned that the one diagnosed case of pertussis in the county is a summer camper who attends Gesher Jewish Day School, a private school in Fairfax.
On Monday, Fairfax County mother of four Mary Ann Ely and her two daughters were busy getting ready for the first day of school. But because her children&rsquo:s immunizations have already been taken care of, Ely says whooping cough is less of a concern.
&ldquo:I definitely have all my kids vaccinated and up to date on all of those things, for sure,&rdquo: she said. &ldquo:We had an incident last year, where my one daughter, they had whooping cough in the school.&rdquo:
Capital Camps CEO Jonah Geller told ABC 7 News on Monday that &ldquo:As an accredited camp of the American Camp Association, all of our campers and staff members are required to submit a complete medical form signed by a physician prior to attending any of our summer programs, including an immunization record.&rdquo:
But even with up-to-date immunizations, this particular strain of whooping cough is proving contagious. The parents of the Fairfax private school student say their son was immunized for whooping cough as a child, and wasn&rsquo:t yet due for his booster shot.
Suburban Hospital ER physician Dr. Bob Rothstein explained that, unfortunately, immunizations aren&rsquo:t always enough.
&ldquo:We&rsquo:re not quite sure why the vaccine isn&rsquo:t 100-percent effective, but it probably has to do with the immunity is waning, and also bacteria are pretty smart &hellip: they mutate and get resistant to what we&rsquo:re treating with,&rdquo: Dr. Rothstein said.
Whooping cough is considered most serious in small infants, where it can become potentially fatal. In school-aged children, pertussis isn&rsquo:t as dangerous, but Dr. Rothstein says it can keep a child sick for weeks. If you see any signs of fever and persistent cough, contact your family physician.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WJLA) &ndash: Fairfax County Police are calling the discovery of an unidentified man&rsquo:s body in a Falls Church parking lot early Monday suspicious.
Residents of the 6000 block of Bellview Drive woke to the disconcerting sight of homicide detectives and crime scene investigators peppering their apartment complex, looking for evidence in connection with a suspicious death.
&ldquo:They have reason to believe that the victim did know his attacker or attackers,&rdquo: said FCPD Officer Bud Walker.
&ldquo:They say they got four guys [who] tried to rob and kill another one, a single guy,&rdquo: said Falls Church resident Sergio Alvarez.
Just after 2 a.m. on Sept. 1, officers responded to a &ldquo:suspicious person&rdquo: call. Instead, they found a man&rsquo:s body: police believe he was beaten or stabbed to death.
The discovery of the victim&rsquo:s body has left neighbors on edge.
&ldquo:Yes, I worry, I&rsquo:m concerned because I have a son: he&rsquo:s 19 years old,&rdquo: said Falls Church resident Maria Delcid.
Many residents say they are concerned the killing was gang related.
&ldquo:It&rsquo:s like the wild, wild West right here,&rdquo: said Alvarez, a father of three, adding that violent fights in the early morning hours are happening at least once a month. &ldquo:People say they are maybe for gang members, or used to be. Who knows?&rdquo:
Police say the incident was not a random crime: they are investigating to see if there is a gang element involved.
&ldquo:There wasn&rsquo:t anything left at the scene that would be a signature of any sort, but that&rsquo:s not always done,&rdquo: Officer Walker said.
Some residents of the mostly Latino neighborhood say they&rsquo:ve had enough. Alvarez, a construction worker, says he&rsquo:s moving out.
&ldquo:My contract is up in two months, I&rsquo:m walking away,&rdquo: he said. &ldquo:I don&rsquo:t want to get involved. The community, they are afraid.&rdquo:
SPRINGFIELD, Va. (WJLA) – Four dogs died in a townhouse fire in Fairfax County on Thursday.
Firefighters with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said units responded to a fire in the 6400 block of Wainfleet Court at approximately 6:05 p.m.
The fire was quickly extinguished, and a woman was able to escape the fire unharmed. However, the four dogs present inside the home could not be saved.
The fire has been ruled accidental, caused by an appliance on the kitchen countertop.
Damages to the townhome are estimated at $50,000.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WJLA) &ndash: When Bailey&rsquo:s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences was bursting at the seams, school officials got creative and converted an empty office building into a new school&mdash:just in time for the upcoming academic year.
Officials are now waiting to see if turning a Leesburg Pike office building into an elementary school meets the approval of some of their most important constituents&mdash:Fairfax County parents, teachers, and the students themselves.
Entering the new school is like walking into a high-end, brand-new, luxury apartment building, but one filled with all the tools needed for teaching in a school where 70 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.
&ldquo:This is so above and beyond and unexpected,&rdquo: said Principal Marie Lemmon. &ldquo:I think the kids are just going to be over the moon. I know the teachers already are.&rdquo:
In this case, serious overcrowding was the mother of invention. Bailey&rsquo:s Elementary was at 130-percent capacity, with 19 trailers outside the original building. Now, the former office building will serve as the campus for roughly 700 students in grades three through five, having been completely converted in just 21 weeks&rsquo: time.
Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Transportation Jeff Platenberg has spent billions building new schools in his career, and was a major champion for this out-of-the-box $20 million vertical concept, an idea that initially took some convincing for skeptics.
&ldquo:You start talking about you&rsquo:re doing it for children, you&rsquo:re doing it so that they have the best places to learn, and you do it so that teaching and learning is conducive for that environment, it&rsquo:s amazing how people start to change their attitudes,&rdquo: Platenberg said.
Now, the students can spread out. Their spacious cafeteria comes with a killer view and special birthday booths. The library has traditional books and computers, but also ergonomic chairs specially designed to help fidgety kids focus. It may be hard to focus in science class, since the view includes takeoffs and landings from Reagan National Airport.
&ldquo:It took a space that some people might not know what to do with and made it a real asset for learning,&rdquo: Lemmon said.
School officials will have to wait until this week&rsquo:s open house and the first day of school on Sept. 2 to see what parents and students think about the unusual, yet innovative new building.
Though the school community will have to deal with Leesburg Pike traffic, administrators insist finding a new campus anywhere in the area would have included dealing with traffic.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Election officials say more than a dozen people in Fairfax County voted in both Virginia and Maryland in 2012.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Virginia Attorney General's Office is investigating allegations of voter fraud in the county.
The Virginia Voters Alliance identified 17 people who voted in both Fairfax County and various localities in Maryland during the 2012 general election. Fairfax electoral board secretary Brian W. Schoeneman tells the newspaper that in some cases, individuals voted in both states in elections dating back to 2004.
State Board of Elections chairman Charles E. Judd tells the newspaper that election officials have also found dual registration in other localities. But he says officials haven't yet determined whether these individuals voted in both locations.
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Crooked and curving lines on a major Fairfax County roadway are causing confusion for some drivers.
The problem occurred Monday morning on Interstate 66 goes from Centreville to Gainesville.
The Virginia Department of Transportation says temporary lane striping that crews put down over the weekend peeled up and moved.
The department says a contractor will fix the problem.
The agency says it is looking into what caused the striping come unstuck.
CHICAGO (AP) - Pediatricians have a new prescription for schools: later start times for teens. Delaying the start of the school day until at least 8:30 a.m. would help curb their lack of sleep, which has been linked with poor health, bad grades, car crashes and other problems, the American Academy of Pediatrics says in a new policy. The influential group says teens are especially at risk; for them, "chronic sleep loss has increasingly become the norm." Studies have found that most U.S. students in middle school and high school don't get the recommended amount of sleep - 8½ to 9½ hours on school nights; and that most high school seniors get an average of less than seven hours. More than 40 percent of the nation's public high schools start classes before 8 a.m., according to government data cited in the policy. And even when the buzzer rings at 8 a.m., school bus pickup times typically mean kids have to get up before dawn if they want that ride. "The issue is really cost," said Kristen Amundson, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. School buses often make multiple runs each morning for older and younger students. Adding bus drivers and rerouting buses is one of the biggest financial obstacles to later start times, Amundson said. The roughly 80 school districts that have adopted later times tend to be smaller, she said. After-school sports are another often-cited obstacle because a later dismissal delays practices and games. The shift may also cut into time for homework and after-school jobs, Amundson said. The policy, aimed at middle schools and high schools, was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Evidence on potential dangers for teens who get too little sleep is "extremely compelling" and includes depression, suicidal thoughts, obesity, poor performance in school and on standardized tests and car accidents from drowsy driving, said Dr. Judith Owens, the policy's lead author and director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The policy cites studies showing that delaying start times can lead to more nighttime sleep and improve students' motivation in class and mood. Whether there are broader, long-term benefits requires more research, the policy says. Many administrators support the idea but haven't resolved the challenges, said Amundson. She said the pediatricians' new policy likely will have some influence. Parents seeking a change "will come now armed with this report," Amundson said. Amundson is a former Virginia legislator and teacher who also served on the school board of Virginia's Fairfax County, near Washington, D.C. Owens, the policy author, has been working with that board on a proposal to delay start times. A vote is due in October and she's optimistic about its chances. "This is a mechanism through which schools can really have a dramatic, positive impact for their students," Owens said.
(GREAT FALLS, Va.) - There is beauty in the Potomac River. There is also danger.
"I climb up the tree and I am looking down. And oh, I'll just jump in the water here, this looks like a fun time," said Jacob Starrett, 16, of Ashburn.
The water was too shallow for 16-year old Jacob "Jake" Starrett on that July day.
"Before I can get my hands above me, I hit my head on the bottom and immediately go unconscious, floating face down in the water," said Starrett.
A family nearby screamed for help and called 911.
Gabe Donato, a boy scout, and Jake Jones rushed to help.
"I told Jake to gather people on shore. We pulled him out of the water and then basically supported his legs for elevation and gave him a full body analysis," said Donato, 16, of Gaithersburg.
"It was mostly just like keeping calm," said Jones, 16, also of Gaithersburg.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue arrived moments after to get Starrett to a helicopter.
The one challenge for fire crews was actually getting to where Jacob had fallen in the Potomac River.
On Wednesday at Station 39, Starrett and all of his heroes met.
"I owe my life to every single man in uniform and these two boys and even the people who told them how to handle a situation like that," said Starrett to the crowd of first responders and the teens who helped him.
Even the chopper, that helped Starrett, took time to fly over.
"Wow, this is a moment," Starrett said.
Starrett fractured some vertabrae and his skull. He also spent several weeks in the hospital and rehab but he is alive.
"To have him walk in here, shake our hands and give us hugs and be so alert and talking it's awesome to see," said Greg Wood, a Fairfax County firefighter.
His mom, Sharon, was brought to tears by the teens and men who saved her son.
He is a son who is grateful and more than thankful,
"I am glad they were there," he said.
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WJLA) - They had long suspected it, but now they have proof.
Fairfax County Parks Authority officials say they have proof that pairs of coyotes have been breeding in at least one of their parks - Ellanor C. Lawrence, located in Chantilly off of Route 28.
A photo released by the Parks Authority shows a young coyote pup officials spotted in the park recently, which they say is proof of what they had been suspecting for some time - that pairs of coyotes have been breeding there.
":This pup is probably around 12 weeks old,": said Parks naturalist Tony Bulmer.
":In early fall the family breaks up and each pup seeks its own home site. It probably is on its own from here on out,": Bulmer explained. ":The first year of life is the toughest on coyotes.":
Bulmer said they will continue to monitor coyote activity in the local parks.
":We will continue with this survey, but I don't expect to see [the coyote pup] again,": he said.
ANNANDALE, Va. (WJLA) - A Fairfax County woman died earlier this month after being stung by a hornet.
According to a WTOP report, Forty-four-year-old Melodye Creason was trimming her azalea plants in Annandale Aug. 2 when she was stung by a white-face hornet, a type of insect known for its aggression. Creason had an allergic reaction to the sting, her throat swelling so much that it became impossible for her to breathe.
Creason was transported to a nearby hospital but her inability to breathe had caused significant brain damage. She remained in a coma for eight days before her family took her off life support. Doctors determined that an earlier sting by a white-faced hornet had prompted Creason's body to develop the severe allergy to the sting.
Click here to read more from WTOP.
With 99 percent of the votes counted, Chafin beat Democrat Mike Hymes 59 percent to 32 percent, according to the Virginia Board of Elections.
Independent Rick Mullins had 9 percent of the vote.
Chafin's victory comes after an expensive and bruising battle, which saw both sides claiming they were victims of unfair attack ads.
"I am especially gratified that the voters were able to see through the baseless negative attacks that became the sole focus of the Democrats' campaign," Chafin said in a statement.
Republicans now control 21 seats in the Senate compared to the Democrats' 19. Republicans have overwhelming control of the state House. Gov. Terry McAuliffe is a Democrat.
Democrats had hoped that Hymes could pull off an upset victory in a heavily red district, which stretches across several counties in the heart of the economically depressed coal country in southwest Virginia. If Hymes had won, Democrats would regain control of the Senate, as Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam would be the tie-breaking vote in a split Senate.
With control of the upper chamber at stake, both parties invested heavily in the race. Hymes raised more than $930,000 in contributions and in-kind support, with the vast majority coming from Democratic party funds. Chafin raised more than $760,000, with heavy backing from the Republican Senate Caucus.
"Our entire caucus has been working toward this day since 2007," Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. said in a statement. "Having a 21st Republican Senator will help us strengthen Virginia's economy and ensure conservative, fiscally responsible management of the commonwealth's budget."
The seat was previously held by conservative Democrat Phil Puckett. His abrupt resignation in June gave control of the Senate to Republicans, who used their new leverage to prevail against McAuliffe in a monthslong showdown over whether the state budget should include Medicaid expansion. A possible job offer to Puckett by the GOP-controlled Virginia tobacco commission at the time of his resignation is the subject of an FBI investigation.
Also Tuesday, Democrats won newly vacant House seats in northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads area. Rip Sullivan Jr. defeated Republican Dave Foster in the 48th House District, which includes Arlington and Fairfax County. And Joe Lindsey beat Republican Marcus Calabrese in the 90th House District, which includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Some publishers do not keep the story for very long. Thats OK, just do a Search here to find it.
These are the latest stories added to the database. With so many information sources pulled into one place, these stories move off the page in a hurry. Clicking on one of these will take you to that feed page on this site.