<sh>Beware of Mailbox Explosives

<bt>The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and Police Department are alerting area residents to be aware of possible explosives in their mailboxes. Since the end of March, the fire department has investigated 12 incidents involving improvised explosive devices placed in mailboxes in the Chantilly and Centreville/Clifton areas.

The fire department doesn't yet wish to be more specific about the particular communities involved, but says that, so far, no one has been injured and property destruction has been minimal. "It's a pressure device with chemicals inside that, typically, make plastic bottles blow up," explained fire department spokesman Mark Stone, Wednesday afternoon. "But there are no combustible materials, like in a pipe bomb."

He said no messages have been left with any of the devices, but some mailboxes have been damaged and fire investigators have found some of the devices undetonated, while others had already exploded.

Authorities advise citizens to "use extra caution when opening your mailbox, as these devices can be very volatile. If you find any suspicious articles around your mailbox area — or your mailbox has been secured shut — do not attempt to open it; report it immediately."

Some of the devices have also been left in plain view in public areas. Anyone finding a plastic bottle with a cloudy fluid inside is warned not to pick it up. Investigators believe these incidents are related and that area youths might be involved. Anyone with any information about these incidents or the people involved is urged to call public safety officials at 703-691-2131.

<sh>Case Goes to Grand Jury

<bt>The criminal case against a 44-year-old Fairfax man is heading for the grand jury. The man is Ryan Fry of 12723 Lee Highway, and he's charged with assaulting a police officer.

The alleged incident occurred Jan. 18, around 6:45 p.m., on Route 29 (Lee Highway) and Summit Drive in the Crystal Springs community. According to Fairfax County police, Officer O.J. Faulk saw Fry driving a pickup truck, but knew that his license had been revoked.

After Faulk made a traffic stop of Fry in the parking lot of the Pleasant Acres Motel at 12723 Lee Highway, the officer tried to arrest the man. But instead, say police, Fry allegedly resisted and hit the officer twice.

A struggle ensued and, with help from other officers, Faulk was able to take him into custody. Fry had an April 30 General District Court date and, at that time, Judge Richard Horan certified the case against him to the next grand jury for possible indictment.

<sh>Safe Kids Day, May 10

<bt>Centreville Fire Station 17 will hold a Safe Kids Day, this Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The station is at 5856 Old Centreville Road in Centreville. This event will include carseat safety demonstrations, bike obstacle course (bring your own bike and safety gear), fingerprinting for children's IDs, bean-bag toss and other presentations.

<sh>Luck Stone is Approved

<bt>The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on April 22 gave a unanimous approval to the Luck Stone quarry, off Route 29 in Centreville. It extended the quarry's operating permit for five more years.

<sh>Chantilly Community Coalition

<bt>The Chantilly Community Coalition will meet Monday, May 12, at 4 p.m. in the conference room of the Chantilly Regional Library. Call John Hanyok at 703-262-2475.

<sh>Bullying and Harassment Program

<bt>The Westfield Community Coalition will hold an interactive program called, "When Push Comes To Shove — Bullying and Harassing," on Monday, May 12, from 7-9 p.m. at Centreville United Methodist Church, off Route 28 and New Braddock Road in Centreville.

Bullying can affect children and teens of all ages and backgrounds, and this program will help parents learn how to detect and deal with bullying and harassment. Two teens from the Peer Mediation program will discuss who are often the victims of bullying, long-term consequences of bullying, what parents and the school can do, and how other kids can interact to help deal with this ongoing community problem.

Panelists will include Martin Gross, Deer Park Elementary counselor; Todd Peterson, Stone Middle School counselor; Candi Constristan, head of Student Services at Westfield High; and P.D. O'Keefe, from Fairfax County Safe and Drug Free Youth. The program is free and will include refreshments. For more information, call Nancy Bennett at 703-266-2370.

<sh>Park Authority Meeting

<bt>The next meeting of the Fairfax County Park Authority will be Wednesday, May 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 900, in Fairfax. Call Judy Pedersen at 324-8662.

<sh>Dead Raccoon Found

<bt>Fairfax County Animal Control responded April 25, around 2 p.m., to the 4600 block of Walney Road in Chantilly for the report of a dead raccoon. It was found in a trap that was placed in a neighbor's yard. The raccoon later tested positive for the rabies virus at the county Health Department.

<sh>Blood is Still Needed

<bt>The Inova Blood Donor Center in the Centremed I Building on Route 29 in Centreville (across from the Centreville Multiplex Cinemas) is still in urgent need of blood donations — especially O positive or negative, as well as A and B. They are accepted Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, noon-8 p.m.; Wednesday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

To make an appointment to give blood, call 703-322-1970, or just drop in at your own convenience. According to the Inova Health System, it only takes an hour to donate blood, and each donation can save the lives of three people.