News Briefs

January 10 – 16, 2008

Woman Assaulted on Lee Highway Sunday

At the intersection of Lee Highway and Hollywood Road Sunday night, a 57-year-old Falls Church area woman was grabbed and assaulted while walking, according to Fairfax County Police. The woman was walking west in the 7500 block of Lee Highway around 7:30 p.m. when she was grabbed from behind. The suspect held the victim and forced her into a tree line nearby. The victim struggled with the suspect and was able to break free, falling to the ground. The suspect fled the area on foot. The victim was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. The suspect was described as a man, about 5-feet, 5-inches tall with a medium build. He was wearing a black hat and black gloves. He may have had a mask covering his face.


Kaine Seeks Statewide Restaurant Smoking Ban

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine announced on Monday proposed legislation that would impose a smoking ban in restaurants statewide, including dining establishments and public and private clubs. “The scientific evidence about the health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke is clear and convincing,” Kaine said. “Virginia must act to protect the workers and consumers in its restaurants.” According to a Kaine press release, the Virginia Department of Health estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for 1,700 deaths per year. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates that Virginia spends $124.9 million a year on health care expenditures related to secondhand smoke exposure. Last year, when the issue of a restaurant smoking ban arose at the Falls Church City Council, it was strongly opposed by the local Chamber of Commerce because it would have driven business out of the City to nearby alternatives where smoking is still permitted. It noted that a regional or statewide ban would be acceptable, however.


F.C. Resident Visits ‘Sister City’ Kokolopori

Falls Church’s Ingrid Schulze, who in 2006 was instrumental in the adoption by the City of Falls Church of the Kokolopori preserve in the central rain forest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will visit the region this week. She will fly to Paris and then to Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC. She will spend three days there, visiting with recently-appointed U.S. Ambassador Bill Garvelink and his wife, Linda, also from Falls Church. She will then fly to Djolu, the town nearest the Kokolopori preserve, followed by a day’s journey in a four-wheel drive vehicle on a deeply rutted dirt road. In addition to the 1,200-square mile preserve, Kokolopori is also composed of a group of 35 villages strung along a road that borders the preserve with a total population of about 7,000. The preserve not only protects the dense rainforest there, but its population of docile Bonobo gorillas, as well. There she will meet with Dr. Pondolo, the area’s physician, newly-hired with money raised by Maura Constance of Falls Church by her participation in last fall’s Marine Corps Marathon. Ms. Schulze will also bring medicines bought with money raised by George Mason High School student Ben Tourkin at his rock concert in October.


Comments on Transportation Plans Sought Jan. 10

Falls Church area citizens are urged to bring their comments and opinions to a public hearing on future regional transportation plans being hosted by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority tonight (Jan. 10) at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria of George Mason High School, 7124 Leesburg Pike. The six-year plan includes a mix of highway, transit, bicycle, pedestrian and multi-modal projects for the City of Falls Church and the region.