News Briefs

March 22 – 28 2007

F.C. Braces for Narrowing of West Broad

Citizens and businesses will have a final opportunity to address the hours of operation and timetable for major work in the 400 block of West Broad Street that will close two of the four lanes there for up to three months, starting in mid-April. A meeting to hear concerns over options will be held Friday, March 23, at 10 a.m. in the Falls Church City Hall, 300 Park Avenue, in the Planning Conference Room on the G Level. At present, according to Moe Wadda in the City Utilities Office, the plan will be to commence with the under-grounding of utility lines from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during weekdays. Other options could be to do the work at night or a combination of day and night. The City has experience with both day and night work on West Broad in its recent past. Last year, daytime work in the 1100 block of West Broad drew an official protest from the Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce when traffic ground to a veritable halt and backed up daily for up to eight blocks. It harmed access to retailers and productivity, harming the daily conduct of work and commerce, the Chamber argued. In the fall of 2002, night time work on West Broad for the repair and replacement of water mains proceeded for months with virtually no detrimental impact on traffic.


‘Deliberation Day’ Organizers Launch On-Line Survey

Following on last weekend’s “town meeting” co-sponsored by three prominent Falls Church civic organizations – the Citizens for a Better City (CBC), the League of Women Voters (LWV) and the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS) – a website and an on-line survey for follow-on discussion of Saturday’s topic, “Falls Church, What Are We Becoming?,” will be fired up for public input today. The survey will be at or can be obtained through the mail by calling (703) 927-0531. Four top City officials were on hand Saturday to assist the deliberations of the 125 citizens who showed up. Mayor Robin Gardner, School Board chair Craig Cheney, Planning Commission chair Ruth Rodgers and Economic Development Authority chair Ed Saltzberg took questions. Eleven roundtable discussions occurred as part of the event and George Mason High School sophomores served as recorders.


F.C. Episcopalians Donate to ‘Challenge Days’ at GMHS

The “Continuing Episcopalians” of the Falls Church Episcopal Church, those who did not vote to leave the denomination in December, have made a major contribution to bringing “Challenge Days” back to the entire junior class at George Mason High School next month. The group made a “Guardian of Diversity”-level donation to the privately-funded effort, coordinated through the Diversity Affirmation Fund of the non-profit Falls Church Education Foundation. The move is symbolically significant because the “Challenge Days” program works to overcome fear of and disrespect for differences among students, also addressing issues such as bullying and taunting. By contrast to the “Continuing Episcopalians’” support for this, it was opposition to the elevation of an openly-gay minister to standing as a bishop in the nationwide Episcopal Church that precipitated the vote by many at the F.C. Episcopal to defect. In a related development Tuesday, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church USA released a resolution reaffirming its stand that “all God’s children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s church.” A fundraiser for “Challenge Days” is slated for this Sunday, March 25, at the home of Stacy Hennessey (of Stacy’s Coffee), 610 Poplar Drive. Anyone willing to make a tax-deductible contribution is welcome to attend at 5:30 p.m.  


Clarification: Cornejo Family Asked for $2 Million

Last week’s News-Press report of the jury verdict awarding the Cornejo family of Falls Church almost $2 million in a “wrongful death” judgment against Brandon Paul Gotwalt included a report from a family member that the family originally sought only $300,000. That was a reference to the amount it hoped for prior to filing the suit. It should be clarified that the suit, itself, in its original filing by Attorney Malik Cutlar, asked for the close to $2 million that the jury awarded.


George Mason H.S. On-Line Survey: 79% Say Leave Iraq

An survey conducted by the on-line student newspaper, The Lasso, at George Mason High School shows that of 51 students who responded 79% want U.S. troops to leave. 58% favor “a reasonable timetable for withdrawal,” and 21% say leave right away. Only 19% favor “staying as long as needed.”