Delegate Ken Plum’s Virginia E-News – May 9, 2007
The Temple on the Hill
Kenneth R. “Ken” Plum
Mr. Jefferson’s temple to democracy on Shockoe Hill in Richmond reopened last week after a two-year renovation and expansion. Designed by Thomas Jefferson while he was Minister to France in 1785, Virginia’s state Capitol is considered a landmark of American architecture being the first monument of classical revival in America. Borrowing from the design of the Maison Carrée, Jefferson created a structure that would become a symbol for representative democracy that would serve the Commonwealth without major modification from 1788 until 1904-06 when wings were added to the original Capitol to house the House of Delegates and Senate chambers.
The just-completed renovation upgraded the mechanical systems of the Capitol and added telecommunication capabilities that were badly needed. The foundation of the original Jefferson core of the Capitol was strengthened, necessitated by centuries of water intrusion. The building was repainted and decorated inside as it looked in 1906. For photographs of the completed work, go to www.VirginiaCapitol.gov.
A much needed 27,000 square feet extension was added for meeting rooms and public spaces. Fortunately the state-capitol-modern extension of Jerusalem limestone and granite is buried under the hill and does not distract from the majesty of Jefferson’s original design. A new public entrance has been added at the base of Capitol Hill on Bank Street that will be much more convenient to the public. Some newspaper photographs of the Visitors’ Entrance which is patterned after a Greek Revival temple-style springhouse at Bremo in Fluvanna County, Virginia, make the entrance appear much larger and closer to the Capitol than it really is. After the excitement at the end of last week of having Queen Elizabeth II visit the Capitol and speak to a joint session of the General Assembly, legislative staff will move back into the building. Unless there is a need for a special legislative session, the General Assembly will have its first regular session in its renovated spaces in January, 2008.
A question remains as to whether the General Assembly will be willing to update some of its procedures to take advantage of its new quarters. For example, meeting rooms have been equipped with the most modern audio-visual equipment available. The public may be able finally to hear the committee deliberations. But will committees continue to meet as early as 7:00 a.m. inconveniencing those wanting to attend? Committee rooms will have electronic equipment for recording votes. Will House rules continue to permit up to 40 percent of bills to be killed in subcommittee without a recorded vote? Will House of Delegates floor sessions be televised in order for the public to see the debates on legislation?
Mr. Jefferson provided a beautiful space in which the legislature can do its work. It is up to members of the General Assembly to make the state meet the highest ideals of democracy.
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Delegate Ken Plum’s Weekly “Virginia Report”
on Reston Comcast Channel 28
Tonight - Wednesday, May 9 at 10:30 p.m. – Laurie Huber, Energy Shift – “Shifting to Renewable Energy”
Tuesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, May 16 at 10:30 p.m. – Debbie Pickford, Allstate Insurance and Janice Brookings, DriveSmart Virginia – “Making Sure Our Teens Drive Smart”
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The Virginia Employment Commission will hold a Town Hall Meeting to discuss changes in their service delivery model tonight, May 9, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Alexandria VEC Office, 5520 Cherokee Avenue, Alexandria. This meeting is provided for interested citizens from Alexandria and the Counties of Fairfax and Prince William.
The Fairfax Choral Society invites you and your family to become a part of its upcoming 2007-08 Youth Chorus Season. Auditions are being scheduled now. The comprehensive program provides quality music education and performance opportunities to students from grades K through 12. “Every rehearsal is a music lesson” for those children and youth participating. Recent performances by this year’s Youth Chorus include “A Capitol Fourth” with the NSO on the US Capitol lawn, concerts with the Adult Chorus and Fairfax Symphony at George Mason Center for the Arts & Schlesinger Center, singing the National Anthem for the DC United season opening match, a performance on the Godspeed to kick off America’s 400th anniversary celebration, and the Youth Chorus Community Concert Series. For information or to schedule an audition email email@example.com or call 703.642.3277.
Attend Reston Neighborhood College, an award-winning community leadership program. Learn how to get involved in your community and how to make a difference, meet your community and local government leaders, learn about cultural competency in our multicultural community, and get leadership development training. There are 6 different meeting times: remaining Thursday evenings, 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. on May 10, 17, 24, 31, and June 7 at Southgate Community Center, 12125 Pinecrest Road, Reston. No charge. A light dinner will be provided. Translation services and child care will be available. Call 703.787.4962 for a registration form. Deadline for registration is April 25.
Join your friends and neighbors at the opening of the Reston Farmers Market’s 10th season on Saturday, May 12, at 10:00 a.m. at Lake Anne. There will be music to enjoy as you browse the stalls, and Congressman Jim Moran will be on hand for the opening.
Delegate Ken Plum will be honored with the 5th Annual Founder’s Award as the Dulles Area Transportation Association holds its 21st Anniversary and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 17, 6:00 to 8:45 p.m. at the Westfields Marriott. Virginia Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer will make the keynote remarks. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703.817.1307.
The 16th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival will be held on May 19 and 20 at the Reston Town Center. The Festival offers plenty to see, taste, hear, and do from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Fabulous artwork in 17 categories by more than 185 of the nation’s finest painters, sculptors, fine-crafters and jewelers will be available for purchase. Added attractions are musical performances, festive foods, a beer and wine garden, and artistic demonstrations. Suggested donation is $5. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.restonarts.org or call 703.471.9242.
The American Cancer Society’s Reston Relay for Life will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, at South Lakes High School. Want to contribute to this worthwhile community event? Go to www.RestonRelay.org and click on Top of the Town Team to make a contribution online. Join in the Relay fun at South Lakes High School athletic field on beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday 5/19 through the evening – see each team’s festive tents, purchase snacks and drinks, hear live music, walk a few laps if you are able. There will be special activities for children. Participate in the Luminaria ceremony Saturday night at 9:00 in remembrance. Call Delegate Plum’s office mornings at 703.758.9733 to find out more about participating, or stop by South Lakes HS on May 19.
In commemoration of Virginia’s 400th Anniversary, The Reston Chorale under the direction of Frederick Wygal, Jr. will present a multi-media event, Foundations of Freedom, on Saturday, May 19, 8:00 p.m. at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus, 3001 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria. Tickets for Foundations of Freedom are $25 for house seats and $40 for box seats, available via www.restonchorale.org or call 703.834.0079. Call for more information or email email@example.com.
Join Voices for Virginia’s Children and the George Mason University Project on Immigration for a forum, “Defining the Unmet Needs of Children in Northern Virginia: The Opportunities and Challenges of a Diverse Community,” on Tuesday, May 22 at George Mason University, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Information about the agenda and registration is available at www.vakids.org.
Help shape Virginia’s transportation future. You can review the Working Draft FY 2008-2013 Six-Year Improvement Program Working Draft on VirginiaDOT.org or attend the statewide hearing in our region on Wednesday, May 23, 7:00 p.m., Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax. Your comments are invited.
Fairfax County is accepting nominations until May 31 for the eighth annual Environmental Excellence Awards Program designed to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses that unselfishly dedicate time, energy and expertise to improve the environment in support of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ environmental goals. For more information call the Fairfax County environmental coordinator at 703.324.1788, TTY 711.
The 19th Annual Clean the Bay Day will be held on Saturday, June 2, 9:00 a.m. to noon. Last June nearly 5,000 volunteers from communities throughout the Commonwealth joined the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s efforts to Save the Bay. Your participation in this high profile event will be a wonderful opportunity to interact with citizens of Virginia who demonstrate grassroots support for a healthy Chesapeake Bay. Contact Charlene Ihrig in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Hampton Roads Office at 757.622.1964 by Friday, May 18, for assistance with finding one of the hundreds of sites close to your home to help with the clean-up.
Make your own rain barrel! The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District invites you to make your own rain barrels to prevent stormwater runoff erosion and water your garden/lawn with recycled water. Workshop is Saturday, June 9, 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center, 2739 West Ox Road. Cost is $35 per barrel for materials and supplies. Call 703.324.1423 for information or registration or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/rainbarrels.htm. Registration deadline is May 30.
The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce has scheduled “Taste of the Town 2007” for June 16 at the Reston Town Center. To celebrate, the chamber has unveiled www.restontaste.com, the new online home of Taste of the Town and your direct link to all things Taste related.
Authorized and paid for by Kenneth R. Plum.
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