The following were among actions taken at the June 2 meeting of the Arlington County Board. For more information, call 358-3130.
PREGNANCY CARE -- The County Board unanimously approved proposals to identify pregnant women in predominantly black areas of the county and pregnant teenagers throughout the county who are not already seeing a doctor and provide them with prenatal care.
The programs, which the board hopes will help reduce the rate of infant deaths in the county, could start by the end of summer if funding is obtained. The county has applied for $65,000 in state and federal grants to finance the projects and expects to be notified in the next couple of months.
In recent years, Arlington's infant mortality rate has been been between 5.6 and 7.4 deaths per 1,000 live births -- roughly half the rate of approximately 11 deaths per 1,000 births for the state of Virginia and approximately 10 deaths per 1,000 births for the nation overall. But the mortality rate has been highest among the babies of minorities and teenagers.
In 1988, for example, the infant mortality rate among the black population in the county was about 12 babies per 1,000 live births -- about three times the mortality rate for white and Hispanic babies. And according to state statistics, women 17 and younger have the highest rate of low-birth-weight babies and infants that die during the first week of life. About 146 of the 2,507 births in the county in 1988, or 5.8 percent, were to women 18 and younger.
In one of the two proposed programs, the county would hire a part-time coordinator who in turn would hire and and train three mothers to establish networks among women in Nauck and Highview, two predominantly black neighborhoods. Through these networks, the advisers would track down pregnant women who are not already receiving prenatal care and refer them to county-sponsored maternity and other health services. In addition, the mothers would provide the pregnant women with information on parenting skills.
In another proposed program, the county would hire two part-time coordinators to recruit about 10 female volunteers who would serve as role models and advisers for pregnant teenagers, offering basic information about health care and child care, referring them to health clinics and other services, and providing transportation and babysitting when needed.
City of Falls Church
The following was among actions taken at the May 29 meeting of the Falls Church City Council. For more information, call 241-5004.
BIKE TRAIL OVERPASS -- The City Council, following a public hearing, reaffirmed in a 5 to 2 vote its support for plans to build twin bicycle bridges over West Broad Street (Route 7) for the W&OD Bicycle Trail.
Last winter, the council contributed $100,000 toward the $1 million project, which is being overseen by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, which owns and operates the 46-mile recreational trail that extends from Arlington to Purcellville in Loudoun County. The plan calls for two parallel bridges to carry trail users in opposite directions over the busy east-west thoroughfare. Currently, signs direct bicyclists, joggers and other trail users to cross at a nearby intersection, but many ignore the signs and cross mid-block, raising concerns about safety and convenience.
The City Council scheduled the public hearing after several opponents of the bridges asked the council at meetings earlier this year to reconsider its support for the project.
Most opponents argue that the bridges as designed are not wide enough to allow bicyclists to pass pedestrians safely and are not convenient for pedestrians, who would have to walk several hundred feet from the sidewalk. In adddition, opponents say, the bridges may encourage vandalism such as grafitti and rock-throwing at cars passing below.
At the hearing, city resident David Evans presented a petition signed by about 100 residents opposed to the bridges.
Supporters of the project, however, say the bridges as designed are visually unobtrusive while providing a safe crossing. At the hearing, residents, trail users from outside the city, owners of nearby businesses, a representative of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and George Thoms, the principal of George Mason Junior-Senior High School, defended the project. About 100 residents recently signed a petition favoring the bridge design as currently proposed.
Council member Carol Delong called the proposed design "the best possible solution for a very, very difficult situation." Delong, Elizabeth Havlik, Elizabeth Blystone, James Slattery and Gary Knight voted for it, while Cynthia Garner and Susanne Bachtel voted against it.
Construction of the bridges is expected to begin next year.
The following were among actions taken by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at its June 4 meeting. For more information, call 246-3151.
RAISE FOR COUNTY EXECUTIVE -- The board voted 6 to 2 to raise County Executive J. Hamilton Lambert's salary 3 percent -- from $125,581 to $129,348. The increase, effective July 1, will make Lambert the highest-paid county employee and among the top paid in his field in the country.
Because he works under contract to the board, Lambert was not included when the supervisors approved a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for county workers as part of the fiscal 1991 budget.
Republican supervisors Elaine N. McConnell (Springfield) and Thomas M. Davis III (Mason) voted against the $3,767 increase, saying that in financially austere times, Lambert is already adequately compensated. Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee) was absent.
PATIENT RECORDS -- Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mt. Vernon) told the board he reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office that law enforcement officials would not examine patient records of Mt. Vernon psychiatrist Paul J. Peckar without consent from Peckar or his wife or a court order from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Peckar, 50, was critically injured Friday when a package containing a pipe bomb exploded in his lap. He remains in critical condition at Washington Hospital Center with second- and third-degree burns over 55 percent of his body. Investigators are considering the possibility that a patient may have mailed the package. Hyland is acting as Peckar's attorney.
SECURITY ALARM CALLS -- The board set a June 25 public hearing, during its regularly scheduled meeting, on a proposal to fine businesses or residents whose security alarms repeatedly are activated unnecessarily.
Last year, more than 98 percent of the security alarm calls that Fairfax County police responded to were unnecessary, according to county officials. Of 37,383 alarms that were activated, police were needed in only 439 cases. The county spent more than 15,000 hours on such calls last year at a cost of more than $1 million, according to Richard A. King, deputy county executive for public safety.
Under the proposal, businesses or residents whose alarms are activated unnecessarily more than five times a year, three times in four consecutive months or three times in one month would be required to have the devices inspected, and to furnish proof of the inspection to the Fairfax County Police Department, which would enforce the ordinance.
Fines, ranging from $20 to $150, would be levied for alarms that continue to be activated unnecessarily, beginning with the third false alarm in a year.
AIRPORT NOISE -- The board recommended that the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, working with the regional airport authority, install airport noise-monitoring devices at three locations in the county: Great Falls Elementary School in the north, Floris Elementary School in Herndon and Lee District Park in Alexandria.
COG has asked nine Washington-area jurisdictions to suggest three sites each for monitoring noise from Dulles International and National airports. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees operations at both airports, plans to monitor noise levels at eight additional locations, as part of noise abatement efforts.
TRUCK TRAFFIC -- The board voted to urge the state highway department to prohibit through truck traffic on Lewinsville Road between Leesburg Pike and Chain Bridge Road near Tysons Corner.
Supervisor Lilla Richards (D-Dranesville) asked the board to recommend the truck ban because residents of the area are concerned about safety on the roadway, which truckers use to avoid paying a toll on Dulles Access Road.