Village News, 9/24/20

Dear Village Neighbor / Friend,

Security – Had someone rummaging through unlocked parked cars. We can eliminate most of this nonsense by locking our cars to include those in your garage and by not leaving valuables in plain sight even in locked cars. Please look out for your immediate neighbors’ family and property, as well as your own. If / when you leave or return to the village late at night or in the wee hours of the morn, drive around a bit on village streets; you might just see someone doing something they shouldn’t. Do not confront them, but record as much detail about the person and their car (make, model, color and ideally license plate number) and call the police.

If you become a victim, even if you failed to secure your car or left valuables inside the car - report it to the police, non-emergency number (703/691-2131). Bob Lomax suggests we all have that police, non-emergency number programmed into our cell phones and in the directory of your home phone. He also suggests that we check our cars before going to bed knowing that these incidents usually happen after most bed down and before tmany rise back up (mid night - 4:30 AM). Bob adds that we can for less than a hundred dollars, invest or replace outside lighting with motion activated lighting. Also consider ring door bells and/or outside cameras. All can be found at their neighborhood hardware stores and on line.

Rolling Road Project Design Plans – Our Webmaster, Bob Havey has made it easier to find and view the Rolling Road widening plans - https://www.westspringfieldvillage.org/current-rolling-road-design-plans-10282019. Or, you can also click here to get to the same page. There you can download the design plans and enlarge the schematic to focus on your property.

You should also visit www.virginiadot.org. I pulled this description off about what will be a typical section after the project is completed: will consist of two 11-foot through lanes with seven-foot parking lanes in specific areas and 2.5-foot curb and gutter shoulders, to include shared-use pedestrian/bicycle paths and a four to 16-foot wide, variable-raised median. That plus the utility and water-catchment and construction easements. Let me know if you want more, but start first at our website.

RR Project Acquisition - CAWSV Secretary Kim Brown and her husband John submitted the following concerning the ongoing property acquisition:  “First, as this process moves forward, I hope that all homeowners are respectful to those involved.  While this is not a pleasant experience for the homeowner, the company hired by the state for the acquisition process had no part in the plan itself and deserve to be treated respectfully.  

          Second, we received our offer and decided to contact an attorney. Neighbors on both sides of us have contacted the same attorney.  As a homeowner, you have NOTHING to lose by engaging an attorney.  Their fee is 1/3 of any additional compensation they are able to obtain over the original offer.  Once we were presented with the entire acquisition package and offer, I realized that the amount of paper was impossible for me to comprehend.  Engaging the help of an attorney, as far as I can see, is nothing but beneficial to the homeowner.  The attorney also has more leverage if he has more homeowners.  If anyone would like the contact information for the attorney we have engaged, please feel free to contact me via email at kimturnerbrown@yahoo.com.

          Finally, the construction process will be the worst part for us.  As this project moves forward, it is going to be important for us to seek assistance and support from our neighbors and community, including those who do not live directly on Rolling Road.  Communication is going to be very important!”

Auditors – Thanks to Kathy D’Amato and Jeannette Swain who volunteered to audit Treasurer Liz Greene’s FY20 financial books.

October Membership Meeting – 7:30 PM, 8 October. It will be another virtual, online, zoom meeting. At this meeting, we ratify the FY20 audit of our finances, pass a marked up budget for the next FY and elect a new Board of Directors (President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer). More to follow on accessing the meeting, but until then, let me know if you want to nominate yourself for one of the BOD positions.

LG Fridges - Greg Nakamura wanted to add to last week’s article. Here’s his comments:  “We had the same issue regarding the compressor. When the LG tech was at our house fixing our fridge, he let us know that some of the LG linear compressors were known to have problems. You can see if yours is one of them by checking the serial number, which can be found on a silver sticker on the inside of the fridge.  (Ours was located on the right side, looking in). If your serial number's first three digits is in between 405-609, then there's a high likelihood that your fridge compressor will fail, possibly around the 3-year mark.  (Most compressors should last 10-15 years). Anyways, our fridge serial number started with "507", which is in the range so they were able to fix it.”

          Greg also suggested that those who prefer the LG design, the Kenmore Elite and Gold series are also designed & built by LG.  However, they use the Kenmore mechanicals, which are much more robust/reliable (older technology).  Greg said “Sometimes going with the older but proven technology is the smarter play, and I know which brand I will be taking a closer look at next time around.”

COVID-19 Update – The latest from Fairfax County concerning the virus can be found here.  And, check out this COVID-19 Information Page on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/coronavirus_info/?page_source=bookmark.

VOTE – Chair of the Board of Supervisors wants all to be registered to vote. Even if you think you are, you can verify your status here.  You have until October 13 to register and to update existing registration. We have early voting, absentee voting, curbside voting for those who may need assistance and voting at our polling station on 3 November.

Infant Car Seat Needed – for a single mom with a two year old child. Wayne Kriebel is a deacon for Harvester PCA church in Saratoga that has been helping a young mother. If you have a car seat and willing to donate it, please email Wayne at kriebelwr@gmail.com or call the church at 703/455-7800.

For Sale - Stanley 5-piece wood bedroom set (hardly used).  Bargain price of $400.00.  Set includes chest of drawers, night table, headboard with rails, desk and chair. Buyer must pick up. If interested, please call Louise at 703/307-7211. 

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Stuff the Bus to support ECHO – this Saturday, 26 September from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Braddock District Supervisor’s Office, 9002 Burke Lake Road, Burke, VA 22015. ECHO provides assistance to folks in Burke and our immediate neighbors in need.

Another collection point is at our Springfield District Government Center, but that collection will support Koinonia who covers the rest of Springfield and Franconia, but not our immediate area.

          **Food Items Needed: Box Rice, Muffin Mix, Sugar/Flour, Pancake Mix & Syrup, Pasta, Spaghetti Sauce, Bag Beans, Salsa, Canned Vegetables, Can Soup,  Can Meat and Tuna, Can Tomatoes, Jelly, Macaroni and Cheese, Salad Dressing, Juice, Peanut Butter, Tea/Coffee

          **Personal Hygiene Items Needed: Laundry Detergent, Shampoo/Conditioner, Razors, Hand/Body Lotion, Sanitary Pads, Baby Wipes, OTC Pain/Flu/Cold Meds for children and adults

For more information and the most up-to-date list of needed items can be found on the ECHO website: https://www.echo-inc.org.

Brem for the Bust – Cindy Stark (Loudoun Lane) wanted you to know about this free online event (1 October, 6 – 7:00 PM) to kick start Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to learn more about the importance of early detection from Dr. Rachel Brem and Dr. Angela Marshall. Shawn Yancy will be guest moderator. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brem-for-the-bust-breast-health-virtual-educational-event-tickets-117341105405.

Protection from Disk Crashes, Ransomware, and other Nasty Stuff - from Bob Havey, our webmaster and owner/operator of D2D Computer Services. If the recent breach of security at Twitter and ransomware attacks on Garmin and our own FCPS don't convince you of the need for computer security, nothing will.

Of course protecting these things is outside the scope of what most of us are responsible for, but the incidents are all instructive, and we are all vulnerable.

I haven't seen any analysis of what happened with FCPS, but the Twitter incident was apparently caused by an employee giving their password to someone they didn't know.  The Garmin attack was also attributed to phishing.  In Twitter's case some account holders were embarrassed, and several people fell for a scam where they were asked to send in $1000 worth of Bitcoin in return for $2000 that would be sent back.  Garmin's websites and servers were all compromised and they were unable to operate for several days.  The ransom was reported as $10 million.  Apparently, no data was taken.  The FCPS ransom was likely a smaller number, but the incident was more sinister. Data was actually stolen.

Although individuals are a less lucrative targets, I have had customers that have been hit with ransomware and other such scams.  How do you protect your own computer from these kinds of attacks and what do you do if you are a victim?

Windows 10 has built in antivirus - a big step up from previous versions of Windows.  It is actually pretty good, and although it is sufficient for most home use, a 3rd party computer security product (McAfee, Norton, etc.) certainly won't hurt.  The default settings on the firewalls of all of these products and your FiOS or Cox Router are also sufficient in most cases.

The old joke about cars was that the least safe component was the loose nut behind the wheel.  In computer terms the biggest security problem is between the chair and the keyboard.  The security products will protect you unless you do something that allows the bad guys to bypass them.  Don't talk to strangers:

  1. Don't click links in emails if you don't know where they came from.
  2. Don't click links in emails from casual acquaintances or even friends if there is no explanation regarding what the link is about.
  3. NEVER respond to the pop-up that freezes your computer, sets off alarm bells, and warns you not to turn off your computer.  If you see that pop-up DO turn off your computer (press and hold the power button for about 10 seconds, the computer will turn off), and if you need help, call someone that you trust.

 A ransomware attack that slips by all of your defenses is a little trickier, and without some prior preparation, may be impossible to recover from  That preparation is online automatic backup.  If you are the kind of person that will make a daily local backup and disconnect the backup device once the backup is done, perhaps you can get away with just local backup, but if you are hit with ransomware you will lose up to a day's worth of data.  And, online backup protects your backups from local hazards (spills, drops, theft, the house catching fire).  There are other services, but my favorite is Carbonite (I do not have a reseller deal).  They are pretty close to real time (my files were backed up 6 minutes ago), and they have sufficient depth that if you are the victim of ransomware (the encrypted files will be backed up), you can have a previous backup mounted.  You can then recover from the attack with minimal data loss.

To get Carbonite go to www.carbonite.com, establish an account and download and install the backup software.  The cost the last time I checked was about $70/year

Happy Birthday – Bob Lomax (Edmonton Court).

Have received several questions about a fall community cleanup; that will not happen thanks to the virus. Enjoy this weather. Stay safe, happy and healthy.

John Cooley, CAWSV

 

 

 

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