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Mary Kimm

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Editorial: Safety Net for Holiday Celebrations

It’s an opportunity to talk about responsibility, alcohol and planning ahead.

The holiday party season is here, and we will almost all be celebrating in some way. Some ways will involve celebrations that include alcohol.

Editorial: Celebrate, Shop, Dine Locally

Every day can be “small business day.”

There is a joy to participating in community traditions and celebrations during the holidays, from walking along a sidewalk with the streets decked out for the holidays, to shopping in local stores, to being greeted by someone likely to be the owner of the store, to finding gifts that are not mass-produced

Editorial: Holidays Are About Giving

The holidays are about giving, and giving thanks. The holidays are about children and family. The holidays are about sharing, about joy.

Coming: Children’s Connection 2015

Get ready to send your submissions soon.

During the last week of each year, The Connection devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children.

Editorial: Vote Now to Avoid the Earthquake

Early voting available for most voters now; vote by Nov. 3.

The news is all about Donald, Hilary, Bernie, Carlie, Joe and Jeb. That’s next year, November 2016. The election in less than a month matters here in Northern Virginia. What are your priorities?

Editorial: Changing Perspective on Death Penalty

Evolving standards will eclipse the death penalty entirely at some point in the future.

It’s sad to see senseless death as a response to senseless death. Alfred R. Prieto is not a sympathetic figure, a serial killer who was on death row in California when DNA connected him to murders and rapes in Reston and Arlington that took place in 1988. He is scheduled for execution this week, at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Editorial: Focusing on Suicide Prevention

Help is a phone call away.

This week is Suicide Prevention Week. Preventing suicide means paying attention to mental health and treating depression, and there is no better time to focus on that than the first week of school.

Editorial: How to Vote; It Matters

Voting begins in two weeks, Sept. 18.

Election Day is Nov. 3, and on that day, virtually every state and local office is on the ballot. In-person absentee voting begins Sept. 18, barely two weeks from now.

Editorial: Sea Changes in Policing?

Report offers blueprint for transforming aspects of policing, jail and services for people with mental illness.

Yesterday, for the first time in the history of Fairfax County Police Department, a Fairfax County Police officer was charged in a shooting death.

Editorial: 'Our Community Deserves Better'

Strongly worded recommendations for police on transparency and public trust; FCPD has miles to go.

Outrage over the shooting death of John Geer of Springfield on Aug. 29, 2013, by a Fairfax County Police officer led the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to form of the Ad Hoc Police Practice Review Commission, which began meeting in March 2015. The Communications Subcommittee was the first to give recommendations to the full commission, and the report pulled no punches.

Editorial: What’s Special about Your Community?

Share tips in upcoming Newcomers and Community Guides.

The Connection’s annual Newcomers and Community Guides will publish Aug. 26. A bevy of interns, plus staff writers and editors, are preparing this year’s editions, but we need help from our readers.

Editorial: Backpacks for All

Thousands of students will begin school this fall at a disadvantage; help now so they have the basics.

The first day of school each year is fraught with anticipation and anxiety. Many local students will be concerned about what they wear, who they will see, what it will be like. They’ve already had multiple shopping trips, online and otherwise, to be sure they have the supplies and extras they need.

Editorial: Yes to Nonpartisan Redistricting

Politicians shouldn’t be choosing voters.

Virginia’s Congressional map is unconstitutional because African American voters are packed into District 3, according to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The problem will have to be remedied by drawing new boundaries.

Editorial: Open Letter to Elected Officials and Candidates

Spend some of your campaign dollars in newspapers.

Here at the Connection, our email boxes are filling up with messages from people running for office. It’s not surprising, since in November, virtually every state and local office in the commonwealth is on the ballot.

Editorial: Safe Planning for Independence

Talking and planning about celebrating July 4, and throughout the summer months.

Independence Day is a national celebration, and for many, that celebration includes alcohol. The summer overall and July 4 in particular are times of greater risk for drinking and driving.

Editorial: Overdose Deaths Are Preventable

New “safe reporting” law encourages people to seek help in time.

The death rate due to heroin overdose more than doubled between 2010 through 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with an average increase of 37 percent per year in the United States.

Editorial: Remembering on Memorial Day 2015

On Memorial Day, take at least one minute to reflect on those who have died.

On Memorial Day, we remember all of those who have died in military service, more than 400,000 in World War II, more than 30,000 in Korea, more than 50,000 in Vietnam. As many as 620,000 soldiers died in the line of duty in the Civil War, stunningly about 2 percent of the population at that time. To compare, while more than 2.5 million soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, that number is still less than one percent of the U.S. population.

Editorial: Call for Father’s Day Photos

This week and next, we print Mother’s Day photos, and we call for photos for Father’s Day. Father's Day is Sunday, June 21, 2015 and once again the Connection will publish a gallery of Father's Day photos.

Editorial: Hunger Is Widespread

Saturday, May 9, is the postal carriers food drive; put a sturdy bag with food donation next to your mailbox that morning.

There are families dealing with hunger in every county in the United States, including here in Northern Virginia.

Editorial: Fostering Connections, Faltering

Why are federal dollars acceptable for roads, but not for helping foster children?

While there is plenty of competition for the title “most vulnerable,” foster children are certainly among them.

Tease photo

Editorial: Connection Papers Win Awards

Variety of coverage honored at annual Virginia Press Association conference.

On Saturday, April 18, a group of journalists from the Connection Newspapers traveled to Roanoke for the annual Virginia Press Association event to collect awards for business reporting, government writing, writing about health, science and the environment, feature writing, sports writing, column writing, obituaries, cartoons, entertainment pages and writing, public safety writing, editorial pages and writing, page design, informational graphics and more.

Editorial: Counting Homeless; Solution Is Housing

Results of the annual census of homeless show progress, persistence of the problem, and some worrying trends.

On the night of Jan. 28, 2015, there were 1,204 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax County area.

Editorial: A Big Election Year in Virginia

Register, research, vote. And vote again.

Every year is an election year in Virginia. Here are a few examples that demonstrate that while elections are ubiquitous in Virginia, they are neither simple nor unimportant. Wade in, a lot depends on figuring this out and voting. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of candidates.

Editorial: Good, Bad and Ugly

A look at recently ended session of the Virginia General Assembly.

The 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly came to an end last week, and some of the biggest news was about what it did not do.

Editorial: On Police Information and Secrecy

Time for change in public access to police information.

The first meeting of the Fairfax County Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission will take place next Monday, March 23, and it comes with hope for real change.

Editorial: Managing Mental Illness in Jails

Natasha McKenna’s death provides window on national concern.

A national report released on Feb. 11 highlighted the prevalence of people with mental illness incarcerated in local jails.

Editorial: Not the First or Only Time

Secrecy around police shootings has been a problem for at least a decade.

The official position of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on the need for changes in policy after the shooting of John Geer by police in Springfield in August of 2013 appears to be that this is the first time police policies have been a problem: “Policies for handling police-involved incidents, which served us well for decades, were inadequate in this complicated situation.”

Editorial: No Justification for Secrecy, Delay on Geer Shooting

Everything about this case erodes public trust and demonstrates police departments should not be allowed to apply “blanket” exemptions to release of information.

After waiting 17 months for any information about the investigation into the shooting death of John Geer, the information released last week is deeply troubling.

Be Part of the Pet Connection

The Pet Connection, a bi-annual themed edition, will publish Feb. 25, 2015.

Editorial: Outlook

Many bright spots will be overshadowed in the coming budget season.

Long awaited, the opening of the Silver Line promises to bring transformation to Tysons and around the current station in Reston, with another Reston station and Herndon to come.

Editorial: Baby Steps, Not Enough

Supervisors should take action, not defer to “outside expert,” on absurd and outrageous behavior of police department.

Finally, now that the Fairfax County Police Department has taken stonewalling into the arena of the absurd, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has at least said it is time for change. It is a step, but a step that continues the appearance of obfuscation if not outright obstruction.

Editorial: Merry Christmas

A message of peace and joy.

Merry Christmas. It’s a magical time of year, and perhaps Connection Newspapers has over indulged in displaying the many rituals of Christmas on our pages in the past few weeks. In events around the area, a sense of community has infused holiday parades, Christmas tree lightings, menorah lightings, choral performances, singing of carols and other traditional events with warmth and joy.

Editorial: Make a Plan, Talk About It

Here is help in keeping impaired drivers off the roads.

The holiday party season is upon us, and with it an increase in drinking and driving. It’s up to you to make a plan to get home safely.

Editorial: Be Part of Children's Connection 2014

Annual edition showcases youth art and writing.

During the last week of each year, The Connection devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children. The results are always remarkable. It is a keepsake edition for many families.

Editorial: Holidays Are About Giving

Give thanks and share; tens of thousands of families around us are in need.

The holidays are about giving, and giving thanks. The holidays are about children and family. The holidays are about sharing, about joy. The holidays are about being thankful and about faith and appreciation. The holidays are about alleviating suffering for others. Surrounded by the bounty in so many neighborhoods in Northern Virginia, many of us see little signs of the massive unmet needs here. But in Fairfax County Public Schools, more than 52,000 of the students are poor enough to receive free or subsidized meals, a significant measure of poverty.

Editorial: Why Shop Small? Shop Large Locally

Small business Saturday isn’t enough; don’t wait until then, and don’t stop after that.

There is a joy to shopping in local stores at the holidays, to participating in community traditions and celebrations, to walking along a sidewalk with the streets decked out for the holidays, to being greeted by someone likely to be the owner of the store, to finding gifts that are not mass-produced.

Arlington Opinion: Why Shop Small? Shop Large Locally

Small business Saturday isn’t enough; don’t wait until then, and don’t stop after that.

There is a joy to shopping in local stores at the holidays, to participating in community traditions and celebrations, to walking along a sidewalk with the streets decked out for the holidays, to being greeting by someone likely to be the owner of the store, to finding gifts that are not mass-produced.

Editorial: Thanksgiving Help for Those in Need

Roll up those sleeves and help.

This week is the week to jump in to help the many organizations that will help needy families through the holidays. Here are a few ideas of how to help, but the opportunities are limitless. More than 236,000 people living in the area do not have access to enough food to sustain an active, healthy life for all members of their households, according to Catholic Charities. That is to say, more than a quarter of a million people, including many children, go hungry on a regular basis.

Thanksgiving Help for Those in Need

Roll up those sleeves and help.

This week is the week to jump in to help the many organizations that will help needy families through the holidays. Here are a few ideas of how to help, but the opportunities are limitless. More than 236,000 people living in the area do not have access to enough food to sustain an active, healthy life for all members of their households, according to Catholic Charities.

Editorial: Change for the Better in Fairfax County Schools

Later start times, full-day Mondays; who knows, next maybe gifted-and-talented programs for poor students?

Who says big bureaucracies can’t make big changes? One year into the tenure of Karen Garza, we have two huge changes that between them impact almost every single student, every family with children in Fairfax County Public Schools.

Editorial: Coming - Children’s Connection

During the last week of each year, The Connection devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children. The results are always remarkable. It is a keepsake edition for many families.

Does Change in Voter ID Laws Matter?

More than 22,000 active voters in Northern Virginia are without the required ID.

For the current election, new, more stringent voter identification laws are in effect.

Editorial: Deadly Medicaid Debacle

Literally killing poor people who could have health care, while refusing to give Virginia’s economy a boost.

The poor people of Virginia are so seriously harmed by the actions of the Virginia General Assembly in refusing to expand Medicaid at little additional cost to the Commonwealth that those harmed should have some legal recourse.

Editorial: Change Is Coming, Right?

Legislators on changing the culture of cash and gifts in Virginia: Crickets.

With former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen facing what could be decades in prison after their convictions for corruption, a reasonable person might reasonably expect that members of the General Assembly would be gearing up to make some big changes.

What’s on the Ballot; How to Vote

Election Day is Nov. 4, 2014, but you can vote as early as Sept. 19.

Every year is Election Year in Virginia. This year, every Virginia voter will choose one member of the U.S. Senate and their member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

About the Connection

As your local, weekly newspaper, the Connection’s mission is to deliver the local news you need, to try to make sense of what is happening in your community, to gather information about the best things in and near your community, to advocate for community good, to provide a forum for dialogue on local concerns, and to celebrate and record achievements, milestones and events in the community and people’s lives.

Editorial: Back to School - Good Steps, Good Intentions

The first day of school in Fairfax County is Tuesday, Sept. 2, but Monday, Sept. 8 is the beginning of something important. For the first time in decades, elementary school students will have a full day of school on Mondays instead of being sent home hours early. This action makes so much sense in for families with children in elementary school. The ability of Superintendent Karen Garza to facilitate this change to go into effect right away is remarkable, and we hope a promise for more changes ahead.

Editorial: Accountability for Police in Northern Virginia

There is more transparency in the police shooting in Ferguson last week than in police shootings in Northern Virginia.

This is not Ferguson, and tanks do not roll down the streets of Northern Virginia driven by police officers pointing sniper rifles at residents.

Editorial: Brightening Outlook for End of Summer

Local pleasures to offset discouraging news.

The news here has been a bit discouraging, and that’s without considering the human tragedy and disaster of several different international situations.

Editorial: Finally, Marriage Rights Protected in Virginia

On July 28, 2014, in affirming that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Circuit Judge Henry F. Floyd writes: “We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.