News Briefs

November 15 -21, 2007

Tinner Hill Abandons Cultural Center Plans

A feasibility study by a Philadelphia-based consulting firm has caused directors of Falls Church’s Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation to change its plans for the construction of a cultural center and performance barn on land it’s leased that is jointly owned by Falls Church and Fairfax County. According to Victor Dunbar of the Tinner Hill board, speaking to the Falls Church City Council Tuesday, the study by the A. L. Edmonds Company indicated the cost of construction and operations of the original plan would be $5.5 million and that there are not resources available to support that. Instead, Dunbar said, the group will move to construct a “memorial structural garden” similar to one dedicated to Alex Haley in Annapolis that could also include an outdoor performance venue. “I know this is a difficult decision for you,” said Mayor Robin Gardner. “The City remains committed to helping you.”


9 F.C. Teachers Win National Board Certification

Nine teachers in the Falls Church City Public School system were among 55,000 teachers nationally to earn certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. They became the first in the city school system to be certified since the FCCPS initiated its participation in the program. The certification is considered the highest symbol of professional teaching excellence, according to Superintendent Dr. Lois Berlin. The teachers are Linda Gantz and Jeremy Shumpert at Mason High, Kathleen Johnson, Lisa Mueller, Sarah Shaw and Gwen Villareal at Henderson Middle, Nathan Greiner and Mary Kelly at Jefferson Elementary and Andrea Stoeckl at Mt. Daniel Elementary.


Fitzgerald Wins National Public Affairs Honor

Former Falls Church Vice Mayor Merni Fitzgerald received a national honor for her current role as director of public affairs for Fairfax County this week. She was named the “Public Relations Professional of the Year” for non-profit and associations by the PR News magazine. She was presented the honor for her work during 2006 at a recent ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “This is a recognition of what we in Fairfax County government already know, that Merni Fitzgerald is an outstanding agency director and communications professional,” said Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin. Like Fitzgerald, Griffin also has a Falls Church connection, being the City Manager there in the 1980s and, like Fitzgerald, living in the city for years.


Iraq War Vet Announces Run for Congress

Retired U.S. Navy Commander Doug Denneny, an Iraq war veteran, announced his candidacy this week for the Democratic nomination to run in the 11th Congressional District of Virginia, the seat currently held by Rep. Tom Davis, next year. Denneny joins former U.S. Rep. Leslie Byrne as an announced candidate for the nomination.


F.C. Fetes ‘America Recycles’ Day Nov. 15

Kathy Allan, environmental programs specialist for the City of Falls Church, received a proclamation from Mayor Robin Gardner at Tuesday’s City Council meeting declaring this Thursday, Nov. 15, as “America Recycles Day” in the City. She noted that Falls Church has a high recycling rate of 52% of all solid wastes, according to a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality review, compared to a 43% rate for Arlington and 39% rate for Fairfax County.