Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

Starbucks Coffee Company recently announced that it had opened 728 new stores in the first quarter of its fiscal year, which ended on December 31, 2006. One store that it didn’t open is the new Beanetics Coffee Roasters in the Annandale Shopping Center, 7028 Columbia Pike, near Silverado Restaurant. Beanetics is an independent, locally owned, micro-roaster and coffee shop that will appeal to anyone who wants a total coffee experience, from roaster to cup.

Beanetics is the creation of Lake Barcroft residents David and Amy Starr, who took their passion for experimental roasting from garage to store front. The sizeable coffee roasting machine is painted a richly delicious “coffee red,” glassed in so that sippers and diners can view (and smell) the entire roasting process. It reminds me of the chocolate roasting process at the Ghirardelli factory in San Francisco, although the aroma, of course, is different. The roasting room can produce 100 pounds of coffee an hour at full capacity. The store features freshly roasted coffee for purchase, as well as coffee by the cup. Local baked goods accompany the coffee, and there is abundant seating for customers to enjoy a few minutes of social time with neighbors.

Starbucks may have thousands of stores, but Annandale and Mason District has just one Beanetics. Welcome to a new and locally owned business – another reason why our community is a great place to live, work, and play.

You might need some coffee to stay awake while reading the county budget documents! At the Board of Supervisors’ budget committee meeting on Monday with members of the School Board, Deputy County Executive Edward L. Long presented a cautionary fiscal outlook for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009. The weakness in the housing market is expected to continue through this calendar year. Houses are selling, but they are on the market for months rather than days, and the selling prices are a bit lower than last year. The good news, Mr. Long noted, is that the county’s economic fundamentals –

job growth, interest rates, and federal procurement — are strong. The housing weakness is not expected to last as long as the market correction of the 1990s, and the housing market should stabilize by the FY 2010 budget.

The Superintendent and the School Board have responded to the economic forecast by seeking a more constrained transfer of 4.6 percent plus $8 million to continue the Initiative for Excellence, a program begun last year to enhance compensation for Master’s degree teachers in our highly competitive market. The total transfer to schools in the proposed county budget is $1.59 billion, or 52.3 percent of the total budget. There was little discussion about new programs; an effort to expand all-day kindergarten to remaining elementary schools will have to be phased in over several years.