News Briefs

April 3 – 9, 2008

Strong Show of “Beauty and the Beast” Promised at GMHS

Advance reviews of Disney’s musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” to be performed by the Drama Department of George Mason High School this weekend, are raving. The story is described as, “a classic tale of love that rises above stereotypes and misconceptions.” Pamela Spicer is the director and Mary Jo Webster is the orchestral director. Joseph Kendra, a senior, plays the beast and Martha-Grace Burkey, a sophomore, plays Belle. Reilly O’Hara plays the villain Gaston and Miles Butler plays Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick. Nathan Ward plays Lumiere, the enchanted servant transformed into a candlestick. K.K. Bracken is Cogsworth, the enchanted clock. Sarah VanBuren and Tim Koning are the stage managers. Anna Lathrop is the choreographer, assisted by Nicole Patiern, and Joseph Kendra is the special effects choreographer. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 3-5, at 7:30 p.m. The box office opens at 7 p.m., with tickets at $6 for students and $8 for adults.


11th District Candidates at April 10 Luncheon in Vienna

The Vienna-Tysons Chamber of Commerce will host a luncheon Thursday, April 10 to which all candidates have been invited. They include four seeking the Democratic nomination to fill the seat that will be vacated by the retirement of Rep. Tom Davis this fall. Those candidates will square off in a June 10 Democratic primary and they include former U.S. Rep. Leslie Byrne, Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chair Gerry Connolly, Former Navy Flight Officer Doug Denneny, and Lori Alexander. The lone Republican contender, Keith Fimian, has also been invited. Rep. Davis will also attend. The program will begin at noon at the Marco Polo Restaurant, 245 Maple Avenue, Vienna. Over 200 attended a fundraiser for Byrne that included U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, who has endorsed her candidacy. This week she also received the endorsements from two influential Northern Virginia political blogs, Raising Kaine and Blueweeds. Connolly announced the endorsement of Virginia State Senators George Barker, Janet Howell, Patcy Ticer and Richatd Saslaw, and Denneny announced the backing of three sitting members of the U.S. Congress, Reps. Joseph Sestak, Patrick Murphy and Phil Hare.


St. James Parents Meet With Hotel Developer Tonight

Parents of students attending St. James Catholic Middle School in Falls Church are slated to gather at the school tonight at 7 p.m. to meet with Bob Young, developer of a proposed Hilton Garden Inn, slated for construction in the block adjacent the school. The Hilton Inn proposal has already received a preliminary approval from the City Council, but a special task force set up by St. James’ Principal Father Posey has, according to a statement, “agreed that a hotel within a block of St. James School is highly undesirable.” While conceding that “the data is limited,” a letter from the task force to St. James parents suggests that the hotel “will increase our children being exposed generally to more crime,” and that, “while not quantifiable, this hotel poses an unacceptable risk of sexual predation to the St. James students.” This is based, the letter says, “on the fact that sexual abuse of children happens only with opportunity and as opportunity increases so does the risk to children,” adding, “With the construction of this hotel and the proximity of its patrons and hotel room, the City has provided opportunity for predation where before it did not exist.” The letter also cited parking and traffic concerns.


FCNP Reprints United Church of Christ Ad

A full-page ad taken out in yesterday’s New York Times by the 1.2-million member United Church of Christ, responding to the denomination’s negative publicity associated with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of its Trinity U.C.C. in Chicago, is reprinted in this edition of the Falls Church News-Press, with permission at the discretion of the newspaper’s owner, Nicholas F. Benton, himself a member of the U.C.C. and graduate of a U.C.C.-affiliated seminary. Tracing its heritage to the Mayflower, in its ad the U.C.C. affirms, “We are a church of open ideas, extravagant welcome and evangelical courage…We support liberty in our pulpits, just as we affirm the individual conscience of our 1.2 million members to agree, disagree and wrestle with the biggest questions in a spirit of love.”