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Falls Church News Briefs




Arrest Made in F.C. Murder Case

A Fairfax County police investigation into the Sept. 25 murder of Genevieve Paulette Orange led to the arrest yesterday of Mark Erik Lawlor, 43, a resident in the same apartment complex as Orange at 6166 Leesburg Pike.

Orange was found dead at her home by police on Sept. 25, apparently the result of a blunt force trauma to the upper body. No motive was given.




F.C. Pension Losses to Cost City $600,000 to $1 Million

Stock market losses in City of Falls Church pension and retirement funds of 15 percent will require the City to make up the difference with $600,000 to $1 million in new contributions, the City’s Chief Financial Officer John Tuohy told the City Council at its work session Monday. Tuohy presented a 26-page report on the City’s investments, asked for by the Council because of the current, severe market downturn that has cost retirement funds, nationally, $2 trillion in the last 15 months. The City’s operating budget funds are kept at BB&T bank, Tuohy reported, and balances above what are insured by the FDIC are guaranteed by Virginia’s Security for Public Deposits Act. The City’s investment funds are placed in local government investment pools (LGIP and SNAP), and some of its water funds are invested entirely in U.S. Treasury and agency securities. The value of its pension funds declined from $80,161,126 to $74,454,836 between June 30, 2007 and August 31, 2008, and overall the City’s combined accounts declined from $133,510,599 to $113,137,261 over the same time span.

$370,000 of F.C. Shortfall to Come from Schools

Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields told the F.C. City Council work session Monday that an $800,000 current year funding shortfall will be made up with the help of $370,000 in cuts from the schools. The F.C. School Board began that deliberation Tuesday. He said that even though the City’s spending has gone down from $39 to $38 million in the last two fiscal years, more cuts are needed right away, while the next fiscal year’s budget cycle “will be unlike any other we’ve experienced in years.” He said he would have his final plan for cutting the $800,000 in the current fiscal year budget until the Council work session of Oct. 20.

Charlottesville Challenges F.C. on Voter Turnout

City of Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner yesterday accepted a friendly challenge from Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris to see which independent city will have the larger voter turnout rate in the Nov. 4 election. In 2004, Falls Church had the highest turnout of any city in Virginia in the presidential election, with 81 percent of registered voters casting ballots. Then, Charlottesville’s turnout was 67 percent. Norris initiated the challenge with Falls Church to help boost his city’s turnout next month. The winner will receive a prize from the other, with Charlottesville promising a souvenir bust of Thomas Jefferson, and Falls Church a sapling of its 2008 Tree of the Year, a sassafras. “When I received the challenge, I replied, ‘Bring it on!,’ Mayor Gardner said. “I am sure our citizens cannot only match the 2004 turnout, but exceed it. Think of how nice that bust of Thomas Jefferson will look in City Hall!” Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day, and those unable to make it to the polls can vote absentee by mail or in person at any point between now and election day.

F.C. Council Considers Reneging on Arts $

A clerical error was responsible for the need for the Falls Church City Council to vote again on $50,000 it had earlier approved for construction of a public performing and visual arts center in the Pearson Square development on S. Maple, City Manager Wyatt Shields told the Council in a work session Monday night. But some members of the Council argued to renege on the earlier decision in the face of current fiscal difficulties. Shields said that the Council’s allocation to the Falls Church Arts had three years to be utilized while the arts organization, and Creative Cauldron, worked with Transwestern, owners of Pearson Square, to develop the arts center. So, when the Falls Church Arts did not use the money the first year, the allocation was erroneously omitted by City Hall from being automatically added to this year’s budget. Meanwhile, progress on the arts center has gone forward, and Marty Meserve of Falls Church Arts said she was shocked to learn the funds may now be in jeopardy. The Council will vote on the matter at its Oct. 14 business meeting.


Sen. Webb Hosts Criminal Justice Symposium

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb will host a criminal justice seminar, “Drugs in America: Trafficking Policy and Sentencing,” at George Mason University’s Law School, 3301 Fairfax Dr., Arlington. Webb will make opening remarks at 8:30 a.m., and moderate three panels with a wrap up at noon. Free registration deadline is Oct. 13. Contact Kate Zinsser at 703-993-9699 or at [email protected]