The first is to congratulate him for winning the Sally Ormsby Environmental Award last Friday in Fairfax County. For those of us who knew Sally Ormsby for years, this award is especially meaningful as she was a dedicated environmental activist who served as the Director of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. I remember seeing her at many Democratic Party functions, talking with her, and listening to her and always admiring her breadth of knowledge and dedication to making Northern Virginia a better place for all of us.
Connolly received this award for his own long work to improve the environment, including his early embrace of the Cool Counties initiative when he served as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Besides that, he also championed smart growth and mixed use development clustered near metro stations to fight suburban sprawl.
Here is an excerpt from a press release I received from Connolly's office:
In accepting the award, Connolly said his efforts were aimed at “humanizing our community and leaving a wonderful legacy for future generations.” Connolly stressed the importance of parks in rapidly urbanizing and developing areas of the County. Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who presented the award to Connolly, said, “He is a man of accomplishment and vision. He is an environmentalist and a realist. He has demonstrated the ability to make positive environmental change and to lead others to understand why those changes are important.”Once again, congratulations to Representative Connolly for his dedication and hard work on environmental issues in Fairfax County.
Connolly is recognized as the “father” of the recently-completed 41-mile Cross County Trail from the Potomac River to the Occoquan, which he cited at the ceremony as one of his proudest achievements. Working with the late Sally Ormsby, he developed the County’s first 20-year environmental plan. His proposal to create “dog parks” where dogs could run and play without leashes was met with skepticism at first, but over time they have become some of the most popular parks in the county.
More than 1,500 acres of parkland were added to the county during Connolly’s tenure as part of his plan to increase the total amount of the county’s parkland holdings to 10 percent of the land mass in Fairfax. Today, nearly 1 out of every 10 acres in Fairfax is open space. Similarly, Connolly started an aggressive program to halt the elimination of the tree canopy in the county with a goal of increasing it to 45 percent. Today the canopy has reached 41 percent.
In addition to this, Gerry Connolly's office is announcing an Open Season Workshop for Federal Employees on November 30 to help federal employees navigate their health benefits package and make any changes.
Every year, the federal govenment holds an open season so that feds can switch health insurance plans, add coverage, and make any changes to beneficiaries who are covered under their plans. As a service to any readers who work for the federal government, I will print the press release from Connolly's office in its entirety:
FAIRFAX – To help federal employees and retirees navigate through the many changes in the 2010 Federal Employees Health Benefits plans, dental and vision insurance programs, and flexible spending accounts, Congressman Gerry Connolly will hold an Open Season Workshop on November 30.Thank you to Congressman Connolly and to his staff for presenting this workshop for federal employees, who make up a large percentage of his constituents.
Connolly’s Open Season Workshop for Federal Employees and Retirees will take place at the Fairfax County Government Center on Monday, November 30, from 10 am to noon. The address is 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA.
“Most FEHB plans have benefit and rate changes for 2010 so it is important that federal employees and retirees know the details on how their current plans are changing and whether or not there is another option that better suits their needs,” Connolly said. “Some plans are changing their coverage options or service areas, while others are dropping out of the FEHB program so it is important that every federal employees and retiree reviews the status of their current coverage.”
Connolly urged every federal employee and retiree, as well as survivor and former spouse annuitants to make sure they review their FEHB plan coverage and other benefits before Open Season ends on December 14. “Federal employees, retirees, and annuitants who have questions or want to make sure that they have the coverage they need and want under the FEHB plans is welcome to attend my Open Season Workshop on November 30,” he said.
Congressman Connolly’s Open Season workshop will feature:
· Dean Schleicher, the Office of Personnel Management’s project leader for the FEHB program annual Open Season and an expert on health plan performance and quality
· Walt Francis, an economist and policy analyst who has authored CHECKBOOK’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees for three decades and worked for the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health and Human Services.
· Representatives of various FEHB health plans who will be available to provide information and answer questions concerning plan offerings for 2010
Federal employees seeking further information about FEHB plans can visit OPM’s FEHB Open Season website at: http://www.opm.gov/insure/openseason/ .
Federal retirees, survivor annuitants, and former spouse annuitants can get additional information concerning their Open Season options at: https://retireefehb.opm.gov/index.asp .
Both of these OPM websites contain detailed information about FEHB plans, dental insurance, vision insurance, and flexible spending accounts for federal employees and dependents. The sites also provide links to frequently asked questions and other information that federal employees and retirees might need to help them make decisions about their current and future coverage.
Federal employees, retirees, or annuitants seeking more information about the Open Season workshop may call Connolly’s District Office at 703-256-3071.