Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Get Your 2010 Energy Tax Credits, Filing Tips for Form 5695

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.


Friday, February 11, 2011

A Brief Summary of the Fairfax County “South County” Area

You may have wondered… “What is this “South County” area of Fairfax County I keep hearing about?”  South County is composed of Lorton, Mason Neck, and parts of Fairfax Station and Springfield – The South County Federation describes these boundaries:  on the south by the Occoquan River (Prince William County), on the north by Fort Belvoir, the Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways, on the east by the Potomac River, and on the west by Lee Chapel Road.  Regardless of exact definitions, the South County area is made up of many active and diverse neighborhoods, just a few of which include Crosspointe, South Run Oaks, Barrington, Newington Forest, Newington Commons, Saratoga, Lorton Station, Laurel Hill, Laurel Crest, Laurel Highlands, Lorfax Heights, South Run Forest, Gunston Corner, Gunston Manor, Gunston Heights, and many other smaller communities.  These neighborhoods are vibrant communities –and maintain that “small town” family feel with active community associations, churches, schools, sports & clubs --while still having quick access to major commuter routes, shopping, and recreation.  Here is a map of Fairfax County so you can get an idea of the area… on this map, South County is composed primarily of part of the Mount Vernon District and a portion of the Springfield District.
Here are a few more details about the area:
South County Transportation-- South County is a unique location in that it is very convenient for commuters with quick access to Route 123, Route 1, I-95 and the Fairfax County Parkway.  Public Transportation is accessible and close – options include VRE (in Lorton Station), metro bus, and Springfield Metro.   There are also numerous commuter parking lots, which serve as departure points for car and van pools and “slug” lines.  Lorton is the departure point for Amtrak’s “Auto Train” to Florida.

South County Parks and Rec, History, Arts – This area of the county has more open space than any other part of Fairfax County.  With the closing of Lorton Prison in the 1990s, Fairfax County Park Authority gained over 1000 acres of parkland – plus Lorton became an “up and coming” address with lots of new homes and an Art Center.  Check out some of the many options:
·         Mason Neck State Park  -- on the River, lots of wetlands and trails, offers special programs and classes -- http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/mas.shtml
·         Burke Lake – just outside of “South County,” but very close – this area was originally going to be an airport!! ; hiking, mini golf, Frisbee golf, picnicking, mini train, fishing, classes/camps through Fairfax County Parktakes-- http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/burkelake/
·         Lake Mercer – a hidden gem!  Hiking trails around lake, plus trails connecting it to Burke Lake and South Run Rec Center -- http://www.restonpaths.com/LakeMercer/index.htm
·         South Run Rec Center and Lee District Rec Center – fitness, indoor pool, all sorts of classes & camps through Parktakes -- http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/srunrec.htm and  http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/leerec.htm
·         Occoquan Regional Park – boat ramp access to Occoquan River/Potomac River, trails, baseball fields, picnic shelters, occasional special programs -- http://www.nvrpa.org/park/occoquan/
·         Pohick Bay Regional Park –  boat launch facilities to access the Potomac River, Golf, Frisbee Football and the home of the Pirate’s Cove Waterpark!!  -- http://www.nvrpa.org/park/pohick_bay
·         Bureau of Land Mgmt Meadowood Recreation Area – public hiking and horseback trails, stalls for boarding horses, fishing ponds, occasional wild horse auctions -- http://www.blm.gov/es/st/en/fo/lpfo_html/nature_at_meadowood.html, Map: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/es/meadowood/meadowood_trails.Par.66644.File.dat/2009_trail_map.pdf
·         Laurel Hill Park/Giles Run – former prison land with hiking and mountain biking trails, Frisbee golf in the Giles Run Meadow section, and part of the CCT/Greenway goes through here.  Future plans for Sports Complex and Equestrian Center.  See Map: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/laurelhill/ Giles Run: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/gilesrunmeadow.htm#
·         CCT/Greenway – 40 mile Cross County Trail running from the Occoquan to Great Falls -- http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/cct/cctoverview.htm  --  Interactive map, you can click on different sections to see details about the trail.
·         Fountainhead Regional Park – Boat ramp to Occoquan Reservoir, special programs and hikes, extensive mountain biking trails, horse trails, hiking - http://www.nvrpa.org/park/fountainhead
·         Gunston Hall Plantation– George Mason’s home/farm, special events and programs -- http://www.gunstonhall.org/
·         Lorton Workhouse Arts Center – Housed in the historic prison site, many buildings with artists, special events, classes… a great place to visit!  -- http://www.workhousearts.org/
·         Laurel Hill Golf Course – Built on previous prison property, an 18 hole world class golf course, number 15 on the “Nation’s 50 Best Municipal Courses” --  http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/golf/laurelhill/

South County Shopping & Services – Easy access to great shopping and entertainment in Kingstowne, Occoquan and Woodbridge (home to Potomac Mills & Wegmans).  But over the last 10 years, other local options have popped up…  
·         Lorton Town Center  -- In the center of Lorton Station, has some great restaurants and little shops
·         Lorton Marketplace – restaurants and shopping
·         Smaller Shopping Centers, Restaurants & Services -- Lorton Library, Lorton Post Office, and the new Lorton DMV, Shoppes at Lorton Valley, Gunston Plaza, Saratoga Shopping Center, Fairfax Station Square,  Village Square at Silverbrook, Village Shops at Crosspointe

Schools – All schools in this area are part of the excellent Fairfax County Public School System.  Area elementary Schools include Gunston Elementary, Lorton Station, Silverbrook, Laurel Hill, Halley, Newington Forest, Sangster & Saratoga.  Middle/High Schools are South County Secondary, Hayfield Secondary and also includes areas that go to West Springfield, Lee, Robinson, and Lake Braddock.  A brand new middle school – South County Middle – will open for grades 7 and 8 in 2012.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

National Consumer Protection Week - March 6-12, 2011

The 13th annual National Consumer Protection Week (http://www.ncpw.org/) is March 6-12th, and the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs office (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer/) is joining in with events all week long. To see their e-Newsletter, find out info about their Channel 16 Consumer programs, find out info about filing consumer complaints, tenant-landlord complaints, licensing requirements for solicitors/canvassers (did you know that in Fairfax county a salesperson at your door must be licensed?), and more visit their website. 

In their e-Newsletter, The Informed Consumer, Consumer Affairs gives the following information about National Consumer Protection Week:

Consumer Affairs (CA) is joining with federal, state, and local government agencies and national organizations to celebrate the 13th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) coming March 6-12, 2011. During NCPW, consumer education groups nationwide share tips and information that help consumers protect their privacy, manage money and debt, avoid identity theft, and avoid frauds and scams.
Consumer Affairs is your Information Destination, focusing on Consumer Rights & Responsibilities. Throughout the week, CA will host free seminars featuring accomplished industry leaders and attorneys. Representatives from the Virginia Department of Treasury and the Office of the Attorney General will be joining CA to exhibit information booths and offer additional resources. For more information or to register for an event, please email consumer@fairfaxcounty.gov or call us at 703-222-8435 TTY 711.
National Consumer Protection Week Schedule of Events

Homeowners Association Open Forum Monday, March 7 12:00-1:00 p.m. Government Center Conference Room 4/5
How to be More Energy Efficient at Home Tuesday, March 8 11:30-12:30 p.m. Sherwood Regional Library
Automobile Rights and Responsibilities Wednesday, March 9 1:00-2:00 p.m. Government Center Conference Room 9/10
Getting the Best from Your Cable Company: Video, Voice & Data Thursday, March 10 11:00-12:00 p.m. Government Center Conference Room 9/10
Friday, March 11, 10:00 - 3:00 p.m., South County Center, 8350 Richmond Highway
Consumer Information Booth with VA Department of Treasury Unclaimed Property Division
March 7 - 10, 11:30 - 1:30 p.m., North Atrium, Government Center
Consumer Information Booth: Investigators will be available to answer your questions.