News Briefs

 AN INFORMAL AGREEMENT between Arlington County and the City of Falls Church to work together on the future of the Route 29 corridor was inked Monday by Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner (left) and Arlington County Board Chair Paul Ferguson (right). (News-Press photo)

Gov. Kaine Hails U.S. Congress’ Action on Gun Checks

Calling its vote yesterday “a significant action to honor the memories of the victims who lost their lives at Virginia Tech,” Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine hailed the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 2640, called the “National Instant Criminal Background Check Improvement Act.” It requires states to include mental health records in the information provided to the federal background check information for gun purchases. Kaine noted that he issued an order following the April 16 Virginia Tech tragedy to “immediately begin including the names of individuals found dangerous and ordered to undergo involuntary mental health treatment in the data base accessed before the sale of firearms,” but added, “I was surprised to learn that Virginia was one of only 22 states reporting any mental health information” to the data base. Nearly half the reports submitted nationally on mentally ill people have been submitted by Virginia, he said. “H.R. 2640 pledges federal funding and provides practical steps to encourage every state to provide timely and accurate information.”


Anti-Gun Group Seeks Refuge at F.C. Presbyterian

Northern Virginia’s Million Mom March chapter moved a meeting from the Pimmit Hills Library in Fairfax County to the basement of the Falls Church Presbyterian Church Tuesday because of concerns that a posting on the website of the pro-gun “Open Carry” group encouraged its members to show up with weapons and video cameras. Under current Virginia law, carrying weapons into a public library is legal. A dozen “Open Gun” members appeared at a Million Mom March group meeting at the King’s Park Library in Burke last month, and when it looked like they’d do it again, including videotaping the meeting, Martina Leinz, Virginia state president of the Million Mom organization said they moved the meeting onto private property with signs taped to the door saying, “No weapons. No video cameras.”


 F.C. Chamber Urges VDOT Hearing on Broad St. Construction Plans

The Board of Directors of the Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously Tuesday to urge the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to convene a public hearing prior to moving ahead with construction in the 400 block of West Broad, between Virginia and Pennsylvania Avenue, that would close two lanes during daytime business hours. Current plans are to close one lane in each direction between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for eight weeks commencing July 15. “More information is needed about the rationale for the scheduling of such work during peak commuter and business hours,” wrote Gary LaPorta, chair of the Chamber board, to VDOT following the board action. VDOT, in an ad in last week’s News-Press, said it would be willing to hold such a hearing and that letters requesting it need to be sent to Richard Burke, Urban Program Manager, before June 15.


Ferguson Inks Rt. 29 Corridor Cooperation Pact With F.C.

Arlington County Board Chair Paul Ferguson showed up at the Falls Church City Council meeting Monday night to ink an informal “memorandum of understanding” pact with F.C. Mayor Robin Gardner, pledging cooperation in planning the future of the Route 29 corridor linking the two jurisdictions and in devising the emerging East Falls Church Metro Comprehensive Sector Plan. The Virginia Department of Transportation has provided a grant to include Route 29 in the planned development for the East Falls Church Metro area, which is poised to explode as the station is designated to become the transfer point for the Metro system’s new Silver Line through Tysons Corner to Dulles Airport. Ferguson said that synchronization of a new signal light on Rt. 29 at 11th Street with fire alarms at the nearby Falls Church Volunteer Fire Station has been achieved. While he said there was no cooperation between Arlington and the City of F.C. in planning the installation of the new light, only feet from the F.C. city limits, that situation has now changed.