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Look Back, Look Ahead: Fairfax County News to Know

Here are the top local Patch headlines for the past week.

Three Killed in Thursday Accident on I-495 Ramp

Virginia State Police are investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash Thursday night on the Springfield Interchange.

Three people died in the accident, which occurred around 7 p.m. Thursday on the I-495 Beltway flyover ramp that leads to I-95 South.

Springfield House Fire Reported Christmas Day

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responded to a call on Christmas Day around 10:25 p.m. in the Springfield area. Firefighters arrived in the 7900 block of Lobelia Lane to find smoke near the front door of the home.

Dan Schmidt, spokesman for the department, said firefighters arrived on scene and were able to control and extinguish the fire within 15 minutes of their arrival. There was one occupant in the home at the time of the fire who was able to escape from a bedroom after being notified by an alarm monitoring company.

Sharon Bulova Shares Her Priorities for 2013

The adoption of the Fiscal Year 2014/2015 Budget begins in earnest in late February when County Executive Ed Long releases his Advertised Budget. We already know that Fairfax County is, and will be, affected by the current federal climate. Our income projections (flat to modest) coupled with expenses needed just to maintain our current levels of service result in a projected shortfall of approximately $170 million for FY2014.

State Police Respond to Hundreds of Crashes Wednesday on Slick Roads

The wintry mix that hit Virginia Wednesday made for a busy day for the Virginia State Police.

In all, the state police responded to more than 680 crashes statewide in about 14 hours— 69 of those were in a region that includes Fairfax County.

State Police saw 46 disabled vehicles and 328 calls for service Wednesday in a region that includes Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington and Alexandria.

Ruling Could Stymie Wolfe Trial

A Christmas Eve ruling by a federal judge could make the re-trial of Justin Michael Wolfe in the March 2001 murder of Daniel Robert Petrole Jr. very difficult if not impossible. U.S. District Court Judge Raymond A. Jackson, who previously vacated Wolfe’s 2002 conviction, has ordered Wolfe’s release and barred the state from using any testimony, past or present, from the man who admittedly killed Petrole.

Workhouse Artists M.G. Stout and John Gascot Publish Children's Book

Workhouse Arts Center artists Mary Gallagher Stout and John Gascot (a.k.a. The Art Monkeys) have just published "USA to Z: Artful ABC's for Kids of All Ages." The book features alphabetized mixed media paintings of cities across the country.  

"Kids learn English, geography and using art and thinking in a creative way," Stout told Patch. "John and I had been talking about making a children's book together, and I know that I have more in me that I want to write."

Beavers Make their Home in Fairfax County

Beavers in the ‘burbs?  Many people think of beavers as wilderness animals. They do live in wilderness areas, but also seem comfortably at home in northern Virginia.

Two places in the Mount Vernon-Lee area where you might see beavers are Huntley Meadows Park and the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve.

Fairfax County Housing Authority Receives 'Moving to Work' Award

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has named the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) a “Moving to Work” (MTW) agency.

The title, which according to a news release is only given to 34 housing authorities in the United States, gives “housing authorities the flexibility to create programs that work best for their residents, allowing them to design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies to improve cost-effectiveness and help families achieve self-sufficiency.”

Woman Attacked at Gunston Plaza McDonald's

A woman was beaten at a McDonald's drive-thru in Lorton, and Fairfax County Police are still on the lookout for two suspects in connection with the Dec. 20 incident.

"It happened so fast," said the victim, 27-year-old Rakia Parker, to MyFoxDC.com.

Inova Fairfax Hospital Completes Construction on New South Tower

Construction on the new South Tower at Inova Fairfax Hospital is now complete.

The tower is phase one of a multi-year expansion project for the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, which also includes planned renovations for a 12-story replacement tower for Inova Women’s Hospital and Inova Children’s Hospital in 2016.

Lost Dog from Egypt that Escaped at Dulles Reunited with Owners

One area family got their Christmas wish.

Ralph, the dog from Egypt flown to Washington Dulles International Airport who escaped after landing, has been reunited with its owners, a couple from Germantown, Md., according to a news report Tuesday night on NBC 4.

On Christmas Eve, Ralph was reunited with the family that brought him to the area, NBC 4 reported.

Photos: Virginia Sees First Snow of Season

Mixed precipitation is expected to last a few more hours across the region, as part of the same storm system that brought tornadoes from Texas to Alabama and other parts of the South Christmas Day.

Up here in Virginia, the precipitation caused travel headaches on a day when some returned to work following the long holiday weekend. Secondary roads were slick. 

Earlier this winter, local forecasters predicted a slighty drier-than-normal winter with 6 - 7 storms where snow accumulates.

Check out a few photos of Virginia's first snowfall.

2012: Northern Virginia's Year in Photos From a Patch Photojournalist

The year 2012 is nearly over, and as we look back, it truly was a remarkable period for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The presidential election, a hurricane, and so many other events kept us busy, and there was always reason to celebrate and find happiness.

So, from thousands to choose from, here are my favorite photos of the year. It really was tough eliminating some from the group!

Woodpeckers Easy to See in Winter

With trees bare of leaves, winter is an opportune time to spot woodpeckers.  The treed areas of Mount Vernon are frequented by several species.

Six woodpecker species can be seen in the Washington, D.C., area: Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Red-headed and Pileated, plus Northern Flicker. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a winter visitor.

New Year's Races in Northern Virginia

Some people will be clinking their glasses of champagne or waking up late on New Year's Day. Others will be enjoying a runner's high and working up a sweat during these races on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Running a race is a great way to bond with friends and run in a high-energy environment. It's a healthy way to ring in the New Year - just save your champagne for after the run!

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