National Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News from Greater Falls Church

Last week’s historic Inauguration of our 44th president, Barack Obama, was an electrifying experience for almost anyone involved.

Many attendees told me that they decided to brave the crowds out of an intense desire to participate in history, and even though they didn’t get to their ticketed spot, nearly everyone was in such a good mood that it didn’t matter! The extensive planning done by the region’s public safety and transportation agencies, in cooperation with the Presidential Inaugural Committee, to accommodate what turned out to be nearly two million participants, appeared to pay off, although the inaugural ticket admittance issues are still being sorted out by Congress. Now the hard part for President Obama begins…

As the new Administration gears up, two new members of Virginia’s Congres-sional delegation are learning the ways of the Hill. The radio voiceover on this week’s Senate confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury had a familiar ring to it. Freshman Virginia Senator Mark Warner was in the presiding officer’s chair and announced the 60-34 vote result. You could hear a prompter’s voice in the background feeding the vote totals to the new Senator. Eleventh District Congressman Gerry Connolly reports a very fast-paced beginning as the new Congress and the new Administration seek to find agreement on a stimulus package. Gerry’s committee assignments include Foreign Affairs, Budget, and Government Oversight and Reform.

That beautiful white stuff finally has found Northern Virginia, as the season’s first snowstorm is upon us. As I write this, snow is still falling, but predicted depths haven’t struck terror into driver’s hearts – yet. Something that does strike terror for this driver, however, are other drivers who fail to clear the snow off all their car windows and also aren’t using their headlights, like the lady on Little River Turnpike this morning. Everything but her windshield was still covered with snow. Only an inch had fallen, but her visibility obviously was impaired. Please, please, please – clear the snow and use your lights when traveling during snow events.

Appropriate for the winter season, the Art in the Workplace program at the Mason District Governmental Center features 13 picture-size quilts by art quilter Cindy Grisdela. Ms. Grisdela uses lots of color and whimsical free motion quilting to create her one-of-a-kind art quilts. Her use of black and white optical fabric designs, with just an occasional touch of red, is quite stunning. Another hanging, titled “Abstract Skyline,” looks more like an African kente cloth rendering, with bright orange, green, and yellow fabrics, and swooping curved edges that give it a sense of flow. Sponsored by the Arts Council of Fairfax County and my office, the quilts may be viewed Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

One last reminder: if you are registered to vote in Fairfax County, the special election for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors is this Tuesday, February 3. Vote at your regular polling place from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.