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Republicans nominate Gillespie to challenge Warner

Virginia Republicans nominated former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie in a statewide convention Saturday to challenge Sen. Mark Warner (D) in this fall’s election.

Gillespie, now a communications consultant who lives in the Mount Vernon area, was a White House aide during President George W. Bush’s administration and has worked as a political strategist for several senate and presidential campaigns.

He defeated three opponents during the party convention — congressional policy adviser Tony DeTora, former Air Force pilot and business owner Shak Hill and businessman Chuck Moss.

Warner, who is running for his second term, is a former governor of Virginia with a professional background in the telecommunications industry. He is also a resident of the Alexandria area.

In his first Senate election in 2008, he received 65 percent of the votes, easily defeating another former governor, Republican Jim Gilmore, and two independent candidates.

With less than five months to go until Election Day, Warner has a significantly larger war chest than Gillespie, having raised $12.7 million so far in this election cycle. Gillespie had raised $2.9 million as of May 18.

Construction to begin on Turner Farm observatory

County leaders and park supporters will celebrate the addition of new facilities at Turner Farm in Great Falls on June 21.

The event will mark the start of construction of a roll-top observatory at the park and the official opening of the new picnic pavilion in the park. The observatory will house four permanently mounted telescopes.The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. and the ribbon cutting for the picnic shelter is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Turner Farm, a 52-acre former dairy farm and Nike missile site, was preserved as a park through a community-led effort in the late 1990s. Private donations and volunteer efforts continue to supplement the Park Authority’s budget for this facility.

The Analemma Society, the nonprofit organization that is sponsoring the observatory, has a partnership agreement with the Park Authority to develop recreational and educational astronomy programs at Turner Farm.

The new pavilion is designed to connect the astronomy features at the Nike site and the park’s equestrian facilities and can be used for picnics and educational events. Members of Save the Farm, the Turner Farm Team and Celebrate Great Falls helped support the project.

Metro to present proposed bus route changes in Annandale

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will host a community meeting June 17 to present service improvement proposals for the Annandale service area. This includes Metrobus Routes 16A, 16D, 16L, 29C, 29E, 29G, 29H, and 29X.

Metro is gathering public comments on service improvement proposals at local community meetings in advance of future public hearings on Metrobus service changes scheduled for late summer.

The meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. This meeting will be held in an open-house format in the library’s meeting room. Metro staff will be present to present service proposals, answer questions and receive comments.