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Rust holds on to 86th District seat

While Democratic challenger Jennifer Boysko came within a few dozen votes of unseating veteran Herndon Del. Tom Rust (R-Dist. 86), a recount confirms that Rust will hold on to the seat for another two years.

After the election results were certified, Rust held a 54-vote margin of victory. Boysko requested a recount, which was held Dec. 19, just after the conclusion of the statewide recount in the attorney general’s race. The recount narrowed the margin to 32 votes, but Rust was still declared the winner.

In an email to supporters, Boysko said she intends to run again in 2015.

Special election set for Herring’s seat

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has set a Jan. 21 special election date for Senate District 33, now held by attorney general-elect Mark Herring. The Loudoun-centric district includes portions of western Fairfax County.

Candidates for the special election include Democrat Jennifer Wexton, Republican John Whitbeck and Del. Joe May (R-Dist. 33), who is running as an independent.

Wexton and Whitbeck are both attorneys by profession and have unsuccessfully run for other elected positions. Wexton, of Leesburg, ran for Loudoun County commonwealth’s attorney in 2011 and Whitbeck, a Lansdowne resident, ran in the Republican primary for the House of Delegates 10th district seat in 2011.

May has served in the House of Delegates since 1994. A moderate Republican, May lost his party’s nomination to Del.-elect Dave LaRock (R) in the Republican primary earlier this year.

New trails open in central Fairfax County

There are now some new options for people traveling by foot or by car in the central part of Fairfax County. Last week, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced the completion of several bicycle and pedestrian trail extensions linking Interstate 495 overpasses to existing trails on Braddock Road, Little River Turnpike and Gallows Road.

Construction on the $550,000 project began in August 2013.

Falls Church begins trial parking agreement to use private garage

There will be a new parking option this year for those attending “Watch Night” activities or otherwise celebrating New Year’s Eve in the city of Falls Church’s business district. The Kaiser Permanente parking garage, at 201 N. Washington Street near Lee Highway, behind the medical building, will be open for free public parking from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 3 a.m. Jan. 1.

This event marks the start of a six-month trial agreement between the city of Falls Church and Kaiser Permanente for public use of the 563-space garage on weekends and certain holidays.

The public can park for free in the garage on the second floor and above on New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, and weekends, beginning in January, under the terms of the agreement. Weekend hours will be:

• Fridays: 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. (into Saturday)

• Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. (into Sunday)

• Sundays: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Patrons of local businesses, venues and events can make use of the parking deck. Columbia Baptist Church is also expected to use the garage during Sunday services for additional parking.

“Parking decks can be very expensive to build and operate, and this agreement has allowed the City to find a low-cost solution to the challenge of finding convenient parking here in the Little City,” Mayor Nader Baroukh said in a released statement.

For more information on the parking agreement, visit www.fallschurchva.gov/Parking.

Local water quality projects get state grants

Fairfax County, the city of Fairfax and the town of Vienna have each received state grants for stream restoration projects, part of a batch of more than $20 million in funding Virginia officials will disburse.

The projects are designed to reduce levels of phosphorus, a key pollutant in stormwater. They have relatively high environmental benefits in terms of pounds of phosphorus removed per year, and they are the most cost-effective of the proposals that the Department of Environmental Quality considered, according to a release from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s (R) office,

Fairfax County will receive $2.2 million to restore a tributary to Pohick Creek, Rabbit Branch and a stream on the Banks property, as well as a drainage outfall at South Lakes High School in Reston.

The city of Fairfax will receive $285,000 for a stream restoration project along Daniels Run, and the Town of Vienna will get $670,000 for restoration of Hunters Branch.

Regional governments collect blankets for Syrian refugees

Fairfax and Loudoun county residents donated more than 18,000 blankets to aid Syrian refugees during a blanket drive promoted by area elected officials. The blankets will be shipped to Turkey to help people living in refugee camps stay warm during the winter months.

Most of the Fairfax County supervisors’ offices served as collection points for donated blankets after Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D-At large) brought the matter to the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 19. Several faith organizations, working with Faith Communities in Action, supported the cause with donations and volunteer support.

Paxton Van Lines transported the blankets to the port in Norfolk, where they will travel to Turkey via shipping containers. Shipping company Maersk is donating the container space and transporting the containers at no charge.

Fairfax County has a “sisterhood” relationship with the city of Kecioren in Ankara, Turkey.