News Briefs

November 16 – 22, 2006

F.C. Police Chief Murray Announces Retirement

City of Falls Church Police Chief Robert T. Murray will retire after 12 and a half years’ service on Dec. 1, Acting City Manager Wyatt Shields reported yesterday. Murray has held the position since June 1994 and also served as the City’s Public Safety Director and Coordination of Emergency Services since 1996. Shields called Murray “the commensurate law enforcement professional,” adding, “He led the department through the demanding process of state accreditation and has always seen to it that his staff is the best trained and best equipped possible.” He noted that Murray “expanded diversity and encouraged growth from within and career development.” He oversaw the promotion of more than 30 personnel, a high number for a department of 54. Murray will retire with a total of 37 years in law enforcement. In 1998, he managed the F.C. Department’s first state accreditation, established an Emergency Operations Plan, led the implementation of a computer-aided new dispatch system allowing electronic integration of reports from the field, and oversaw implementation of the Department’s 800 MHz radio system facilitating integrated regional law, fire and emergency services agency communications.    


Home Values Continue to Decline in Northern Virginia

According to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, average Northern Virginia home sales prices dropped by 4.7% in October from a year ago, while the total number of homes sold dropped by 21% from October 2005’s number. Active listings grew by 46% and the average number of days a home stayed on the market in October was 83, compared to the 32-day average of October 2005. Year-to-date home values are now less than one-percent higher than last year. The Countrywide Mortgage Company forecasted yesterday that a rebound in the housing market will not begin to occur until 2008.


Queen for a Day in Virginia Next May

It was officially announced yesterday at the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, will hallow the ground of Virginia with a visit during the celebration next May of the 400th anniversary of the settlers’ landing at Jamestown. A statement from Governor Tim Kaine’s office said, “Her Majesty’s first visit to the United States in 1957 coincided with the 350th anniversary of the landing at Jamestown. I am proud that the Commonwealth will once agan have the high honor and privilege of hosting Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to commemorate the 400th anniversary of this pivotal moment in our history. We look forward to celebrating the deep historical and cultural connections between Virginia and the United Kingdom.”


Virginia Fetes National Adoption Day Saturday

This Saturday, Nov. 18, is National Adoption Day, and November is Adoption Awareness Month. “Currently, there are 894 foster children in Virginia who are awaiting adoption placement with a loving, stable family,” according to a statement from Virginia Department of Social Services Commissioner Anthony Conyers Jr. “We have a real need for families and individuals to consider adopting older children and siblings. Two-thirds of our foster care children are six years of age or older.” Conyers’ agency is sponsoring numerous events Saturday “to highlight the need for safe, loving and permanent homes for children, as well as the process of adoption.” These include a public celebration of the finalization of adoptive placements at a circuit court in Roanoke, a skating adoption party in Virginia Beach and, beginning Nov. 30 for six weeks, a gallery of professional photographs of children available for adoption at the Selden Arcade, 208 E. Main St., in Norfolk. Last year, 23 of 61 children whose photographs were placed on display in this way were adopted. For more information on these activities, call (804) 726-7524 or (804) 726-7584. The state’s adoption hotline is 1-800-362-3678. The social service agency’s web site is


“Falls Churchopoly” Now on Sale for Hurricane Relief

The City of Falls Church’s ongoing Hurricane Relief efforts launched in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast a year ago are culminating with the sale of 500 copies of a customized parlor board game, “City of Falls Churchopoly,” now on sale in time for the holidays at $20 a copy at City Hall. All proceeds will directly benefit the reconstruction efforts in the St. Bernard’s Parish Public Schools in Louisiana, which the City adopted for its relief contributions. The Monopoly-style game is filled, instead of by famous real estate holdings, with logos of local Falls Church businesses and service organizations, who contributed to the production of the game. Persons interested in obtaining the game can call (703) 248-5230, e-mailing or just by showing up at City Hall and asking around.