News Briefs

Fairfax Water Files ‘Answer’ to F.C. Lawsuit

Attorneys for the Fairfax Water Authority filed a former “answer” to the lawsuit filed in federal court by the City of Falls Church Monday, claiming that the City “enjoys no exclusive right” to sell its water in certain areas of Fairfax County. They have petitioned the court for a summary dismissal of the suit. But Falls Church City Attorney Roy Thorpe told the News-Press yesterday that this comes as no surprise. “We expected this and look forward to defending our lawsuit,” he said. A hearing on the motion for dismissal is scheduled for March 30 before U.S. District judge T.S. Ellis III. Falls Church sued when it learned that for the first time in 48 years last month, Fairfax violated a line of demarcation that had separated the service areas of the two water systems, with a stated intent to do so routinely from now on. Although a formal agreement stipulating the boundaries expired in 1989, it was never officially terminated and the City and county continued an unbroken pattern of observing it up until very recently. The City contends in its suit that the federal government’s contract with the City for water from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dalcarlia Reservoir in Washington, D.C., includes a commitment by the City to pay a share of E.P.A. mandated upgrades that would be jeopardized by the new intent by Fairfax to “poach” on Falls Church territory.

Episcopalian Non-Defectors Fix Deadline on Yates’ Answer

A new vestry group representing 180 “continuing Episcopalians” that did not vote with the majority at the Falls Church Episcopal Church last December to leave the denomination has given the local leader of the defectors, the Rev. John Yates, until March 25 to answer their request to use the historic church’s facilities for worship and fellowship activities. To date, Yates has denied the continuing group access to the church property for any organized activity. Continuing Episcopalian leader Bill Fetsch said that no decision has yet been made about what to do if Yates again declines the request, but legal action to hand over the property to the Episcopalian Diocese of Virginia remains in the courts. Meanwhile, the continuing Episcopalians are meeting Sunday mornings for worship at the Falls Church Presbyterian, across the street, and are preparing for the arrival of Bishop Colin Jones to lead their Palm Sunday services on April 1. A number of new members will be received into their congregation on that date, Fetsch said.


Connolly Affirms Support for Tysons Tunnel in ‘State of County

Slated for formal presentation tonight, the annual “State of the County” message by Gerry Connolly, chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, includes an affirmation by Connolly of his continued support for construction of a tunnel under Tysons Corner for the proposed Metro “rail to Dulles” line. “Until there is a definitive disposition of this issue,” the statement reads, “I will continue to be an enthusiastic advocate for the tunnel.” It adds the recognition that “changing the plan (for an overhead rail system) this late in the process could jeopardize federal funding,” but goes on, “I still support the tunnel alternative. The Board’s vision of Tysons as a walkable urban environment would be more easily achieved with the tunnel.”


F.C. Education Foundation Begins On-Line Auction

The non-profit Falls Church Education Foundation announced this week it will conduct an on-line fundraising auction for the first time in advance of its April 27 annual gala dinner. Contributing items for the auction “is a great way for individuals and local businesses to make an investment in the foundation that can grow into a substantial financial contribution,” said Donna Englander, executive director of the FCEF. Businesses and households, alike, are encouraged to contribute items for auction. To donate an item, such as a ticket to a sporting event, a stay at a vacation property, professional services or antiques, collectibles and jewelry, call (703) 538-3381. Bidding on items will begin March 19 at and run to April 26.


Rep. Davis Hails House Passage of ‘Sunshine’ Bills

Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia’s 11th District issued a statement yesterday hailing the House passage of four bills improving public disclosure and access to government information. He said the Presidential Libraries Act, the Open Government Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act and the Presidential Records Amendment Act were all originally offered by Republicans, but he praised the new Democratic majority for reviving and passing them yesterday.