We strive to provide local news, insight, and actionable information about Franconia District, Virginia (which includes areas of Springfield and Alexandria, and Bush Hill, Cameron, Clermont, Crestwood, Fairfield, Forestdale, Franconia, Garfield, Greenspring, Groveton, Hayfield, Huntley, Hybla Valley, Island Creek, Kingstowne, Lane, Lynbrook, Mount Eagle, Pinewood, Pioneer, Rose Hill, Van Dorn, Villages, and Virginia Hills) that will support, engage, and inspire our readers and enable us all—at our local community level through to the aggregate global level—to jointly navigate earth’s future.
Ani was one of the oldest writers in history. Ancient Egyptians compiled an individualized book for certain people of merit upon their death. The book, popularly known as the Book of the Dead, typically contained declarations and spells intended to help the deceased navigate their afterlife. Ani was an ancient Egyptian scribe from the city of Thebes (Greek) or Waset (ancient Egyptian) who was immortalized in the Papyrus of Ani. The Papyrus was a manuscript in the form of a scroll with cursive hieroglyphs and color illustrations. It was created in 1250 BCE and today resides in the British Museum in London. Acies is the Latin word for “insight.” Thus, Aniacies stands for the insights of a scribe. Ke’ is the Taino word for “earth.” The Taino were the indigenous peoples who greeted Christopher Columbus when he reached the new world in 1492. So, Aniacieske –pronounced ANI (Ah-knee) ACIES (a-chess) KE (kay)—stands for “a writer’s insights about the earth.”
The scribe who writes and publishes this website is a U.S. citizen by birth, who has lived in Lee District, Virginia, since 2003. As a journalist, the scribe covered local news for The Washington Post and AOL Patch. He is a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors, Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Authors Guild, and is working to become a member of the National Newspaper Association and the International Federation of Journalists. The scribe is not a subject matter expert about many of the topics that form much of this site’s content, but he is a constant learner, willing to learn from you. If you have a constructive insight, share it. If you are a subject matter expert, drop him a line, correct his misunderstandings, help him inform others better. The scribe has three graduate degrees (MALAS, MSIPA, and MACM), is an avid multi-lingual reader and world traveler whose favorite novel is Don Quijote. The scribe attempts to provide Opinion Journalism (my opinion, via my understanding, based on my research), and to follow most of the foundational principles and practices of Solutions Journalism, Slow Journalism, Accountability Journalism, and Big Local News. As such, we will not publish on a regular schedule but on an ad hoc basis, with a goal of publishing at minimum a quarterly piece. We will also strive to collaborate with other local news media or platforms that supply our community with local information. Among those other entities in our area are WTOP, Inside NoVa, Greater Greater Washington, and Patch, and in terms of general-public-provided input, Next Door.
You can reach us via franconia.news, franconiadistrict.com, franconiadistrictnews.com, franconiadistrictva.com, franconiadistrictalive.com, franconiadistrictvanews.com, franconiadistrictvanews.org, franconianews.com, franconianow.com franconialocal.com, franconialocalnews.com, and franconialocalnews.org.
Aniacieske’s view is that most of us on planet Earth share many similar, local, community challenges. But often it is when we unpack what those concerns really amount to, and how they are related to other issues that at first may not seem related, that we begin to grasp the root cause of the challenge. Only when we understand the interplay between those attendant issues can we really address the original problem effectively and find a lasting solution.
Aniacieske will attempt to look at the interplay between those attendant issues in our community’s challenges to help us get to the root cause of our concerns. In doing so we hope to engage the community at large and especially those subject area experts among us who can provide the insight we all seek. Sometimes the answers we uncover will be locally rooted, other times they may be county, state, regional, or national in origin. At other times it may be that another community halfway around the world has already dealt with our concerns and learning from their success will be the way forward for us. In short, while we may have many local and global challenges, we can learn how to deal with them all if we help inform and educate one another and share best practices. We will do our part by developing and then keeping tabs on the aggregate news about Quality of Life issues in our district and by focusing on five topics.
First topic—We all want an increasingly better Quality of Life for ourselves and our children, but we don’t always keep tabs on what the constituent parts of that betterment might be. Aniacieske believes that among the most important components of a good quality of life are (1) Public Safety, that we should feel safe in our community—such as having low violent crime and homicide rates—certainly lower than the national average of 394 violent crimes and 5.3 homicides per 100K residents. (2) Health, that our community should enjoy the probability of a high life expectancy—certainly at or higher than the national average of 79 years. That we should all have abundant, reliable, and increasingly renewable energy, broadband Internet, and fast, safe, and reliable (3) Transportation systems. We should achieve at least the national averages of consistent energy availability with a 10%+ renewable energy usage, internet usage of at least 90%, and a one-way commute time of fewer than 27 minutes. Our (4) Education system should ensure results above the national average such as a high school graduation rate above 84% and expected years of schooling exceeding 16.3. Our (5) Economic Development & Opportunity efforts should result in a job growth rate above the national average of 1.2%, employment to population ratio around the national average of 59.6%, a per-capita income above $60,000, and a poverty rate below the national average of 13.4%. The quality of our physical (6) Environment can be impacted by how we manage our land and resource usage, we should endeavor to ensure sustainable resource usage, plenty of green, open spaces for public use, and that our Air Quality Index is healthy, at or below a score of 35.
We will attempt to keep tabs on these six basic indices of quality of life via our Quality of Life Index score where 100% is an excellent grade and anything short of 75% is unacceptable.
Second topic—Most people live in metropolitan areas (such as our own) which are dependent upon certain Infrastructures without which life would be a greater daily challenge—those facilitators of basic living such as local, meaningful, and well-paying employment opportunities; responsive local government; ethical, informative, and accountable news media; competent & fast-acting first responder services; well-functioning systems for residential water & sewage, recycling & trash removal, broadband cable/internet, cell phone service, and energy; public transportation and mail & package delivery; hospitals & pharmacies, libraries, schools, grocery stores, banking & insurance providers; and retail, service, & entertainment venues with sundry products & services. It is when these infrastructures fray that we find ourselves most challenged that our communities suffer the most. It is when these infrastructures work well that we have our best quality of life. We will endeavor to keep track of our local infrastructures, those facilitators who play such critical roles in our lives, and try to help them fulfill their roles.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth topics—that there are, among several others, three global topics of great import to us all which impinge upon every aspect of our lives, including upon those qualities of life indices and our community’s infrastructures. We must all understand these global issues and their interplay at the local level, and we must keep our eyes on the impact of that interplay to ensure we know how to address our challenges today and tomorrow. The three global issues are Climate & Environmental Change, Science, Technology & Innovations, and Inequality.
Climate & Environmental Change—which entails being aware of the effects of climate and environmental change upon our globe and our local environments and undertaking the actions necessary to safeguard our planet and mitigate the effects of that changing environment and climate.
Science, Technology & Innovations—which entails understanding the potential of scientific discoveries, the positive and negative effects of our growing dependence upon certain technologies, and the roles of both our government’s regulators and the companies who bring about and control those discoveries and technologies, to ensure we are all deriving their full benefit while avoiding the brunt of their detrimental effects.
Inequality—all humans are created equal and should be treated as such, yet the globe is replete with examples of current and growing inequality at all levels, and an attempt by some to maintain that inequality. We should all have the right to autonomy, freedom, personal privacy, and equal opportunity, and in a democracy, we, the people, have an equal say in how our nation is governed. Ensuring that equality requires constant vigilance. We will monitor and assist efforts to prepare our communities to handle the impacts of climate and environmental change, ensure science, technology, and innovations serve our common human needs, and that inequality is manifestly reduced in all societies, beginning with our own.
Best Practices—In our endeavors, we should all be aware that there are activities occurring around us every day that are done so well that they make us wonder, and sharing that wonder should be everyone’s business. These may be simple, funny, inspiring, beautiful, or entertaining, but often, even if complicated, they can be helpful and/or applicable. We need to let others know about what we know that might be of communal benefit, and ask them to share what they know of the same type—we may see something they are missing or might have already solved what ails them, and vice versa; or better yet, by combining what we both see and know we might build something altogether new that solves both of our current or future problems, or someone else’s. Respectful of others’ ownership rights, contributions, and views, we shall endeavor to make all aware of the things others have done well and that may be of benefit to us here at home.
These wonders come in many forms, they can be good people, those who move us forward by working to help others, instructing, inventing, entertaining, volunteering, or leading; those who have great ideas, or make great efforts on behalf of others, or bring to market life-changing products at all levels of existence; or good communication vehicles, such as a book or website, which enhance our lives by opening our minds (informing, entertaining us or by being portals to an alternate existence we might want to strive for), or linking us with others who can be our models, partners or inspirations; or they can be good locations, communities whose inhabitants have taken their own citizenry’s wellbeing to heart and to account, and proceeded proactively. We will keep our eye out for these and share their essence with our readers.
This site will focus on some aspect of, or the interplay between or among, those listed wonders, issues, and infrastructures, and provide a free, weekly, actionable blog post and accompanying content, and for members and subscribers, we will have expanded and/or more in-depth content and occasionally, graphics, photos, videos, online classes or lectures, interviews, reviews, and a list of links and resources for further information. Site guests will make periodic appearances as contributors or interviewees.
Each year Subscribers and Members will vote for their favorite wonder(s) and the winner(s) will receive the Ani Grant Award(s). Three times a year (Fall, Winter, and Spring) we will hold an Ani Forum, a gathering of members, so they can let us know how we can improve, what they want to see us cover, and how to enhance our website’s positive impact.
Finally, readers who want to connect with those mentioned in the published pieces may do so via this website. Send an email to email@example.com with your reason for wanting to contact that person and Ani will reach out to the person and put you both in touch if the interest is mutual. Hopefully, we can begin to build a community of like-minded collaborators.
Ani, who strives to exemplify through communications and actions how to be a good local and international, independent model citizen, hopes you will visit often and help our site improve, leave a comment, subscribe or become a member, vote for your favorite wonder, and find a connection. But mostly Ani hopes you will join in to do your part to make this a better planet for us all to live in today and for our children to live in tomorrow.
Aniacieske.com was founded with funds from Ani and grants and gifts from interested organizations and individuals. The entire enterprise is centered on this website. We provide free, membership, and subscription content. Our income will be derived from the latter two categories, any other gifts which come our way (though we will never solicit them and hereby let all well-wishers know any such gifts are not tax-deductible), and sales of future books, videos, or related merchandise. Our income is first used to help cover our expenses, including funding our contingency and endowment accounts, thereafter all surplus income goes to fund the Ani Award(s).
Our three-tier access system begins with free content for all Readers—our newest feature, top 10 links, Quality of Life News shorts, and our status pieces. Our two pay levels, which are in effect for the twelve-month period from the time of purchase (and both include voting for who gets the annual Ani Award), are Subscribers, at $36 USD per year, which entitles one to expanded and in-depth content beyond the free content, and Members, at $52 USD per year, which entitles one to all Subscriber content, additional content, and allows members to provide input on what issues they would like to see included in our coverage.
Some coverage may require additional funding for out-of-the-ordinary expenses, and Ani will reach out to non-advertising sponsors, donors, subscribers, and members, with the specific budget request as needed.
Coverage Year and Time off—Our coverage entails 40 weeks a year. It begins August 1st and continues throughout the succeeding 12-months with the exception of planned time off. Every year, unless there is a major, accessible event dealing with one of our covered topics, Ani takes off most USA national holidays and his birthday, a few days in the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas-through-New Year’s Day period, and most of June and July as a vacation.