News Briefs

Brief news items from the Greater Falls Church area for the week of September 14.

“Applebee’s America” Co-Author in F.C. Tuesday


Ron Fournier, one of three co-authors of the wildly popular new Simon & Schuster hardback, “Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community,” will be in Falls Church for a book signing next Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 4 to 6 p.m. The location, naturally, will be the Applebee’s here, at 127 E. Broad St. Fournier, an Arlington resident and former Associated Press writer, and his family are frequent patrons at the Falls Church Applebee’s, as it turns out. He told the News-Press this week that his experiences there helped contribute to the idea for the book, which grew from discussions with his co-authors about how the American public is constantly changing and how some businesses do better than others, or than some politicians, in keeping up. The co-authors decided that a chain like Applebee’s, whose restaurants can be found almost anywhere in the U.S., would make a good, common ground for interviewing and gauging shifting attitudes among average Americans in all parts of the country. Fournier and his co-authors have been doing book signings non-stop in recent weeks, but only Fournier will be here to sign at his personal “home base” Applebee’s next Tuesday.


Trodden Named to Virginia Crime Commission

             Richard E. Trodden, the elected Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney whose jurisdiction also covers the City of Falls Church, was appointed earlier this month to a two-year term on the Virginia Crime Commission by Gov. Tim Kaine. The 13-member commission meets monthly in Richmond and reviews proposed legislation, making recommendations to the governor and the legislature. Trodden, who was first elected to his post in 1993, was elected as a Democrat to a fourth term as the Commonwealth Attorney in 2005. Last month, he received the 2006 Robert F. Horan Jr. award by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys. In all, Trodden, 59, has spent 23 years as a prosecuting attorney prior to being a high school teacher and probation officer for Arlington’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.


F.C. Katrina Task Force Completes Efforts

            Commissioned for a year, the City of Falls Church’s Katrina Task Force presented its final report to the Falls Church City Council Monday, having raised a total of $152,000 in donation value to date, along with 5,000 pounds of personal hygiene products, 421 backpacks and extensive volunteer hours. Some fundraising efforts are still underway. City Hall’s Cindy Mester gave the wrap-up report. The on-going efforts include a “Making Change for Katrina Victims” promotion at City Hall, in which citizens are urged to drop change at specified locations. That money will go to Habitat for Humanity’s efforts in the Gulf Coast. Also, copies of a “City of Falls Churchopoly” board game will become available for purchase when they arrive this fall, with an expected $10,000 in proceeds expected to go to the relief effort. The game, a take-off on Monopoly, features local landmarks and businesses on its board, with businesses contributing to be included. Most of Falls Church’s efforts, including the donation of portable classroom trailers from the school system, went to assisting the St. Bernard’s Parish in Louisiana, which lost 14 schools to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita a year ago. Its schools lost enrollment from 8,800 to 334 students. With the F.C. Task Force’s help, the enrollment grew back to 2,300 by the end of the school year last spring.


F.C. Volunteers Re-Appointed to Boards

            Four City of Falls Church volunteer citizens with long-standing service to boards and commissions were re-appointed by the F.C. City Council Monday. Joyce Berg and Charles O’Hara were re-appointed to the Advisory Board of Recreation and Parks, Midge Wang was re’d up for the Historical Commission, and David Jacobs to the City Employee Review Board.


F.C. Acting City Manager’s Salary Set

            Acting Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields, an assistant to the city manager who was named acting city manager on what turned out to be the eve of the passing of City Manager Dan McKeever in July, was voted a salary increase by the F.C. City Council Monday. Retroactive to his appointment July 24, Shields was voted a salary of $125,000, with an annual deferred compensation benefit of $6,000.