Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News from Greater Falls Church

After months of warnings, advertisings, and some confusion about the planned February 17 transition to digital television, Congress may have changed its mind.

Last week, the United States Senate voted to delay the transition until June 12. The House did not concur, but is expected to consider the matter again. A federal coupon program to subsidize the purchase of digital converter boxes for analog television sets ran out of money, leaving hundreds-of-thousands-of-consumers without access to network broadcasting.

The digital transition was created to free up airwaves or band-width for use by wireless companies and public safety agencies. As the demand for technology increases, band-width provides the capacity to grow as well as become more efficient with the existing capacity. If Congress does not act to extend the February 17 deadline, analog television transmission will cease, so your old television sets will not work unless you already have a converter box, or your sets are connected to cable. You can recycle your old television sets, computers, and electronic peripherals (no appliances, CDs, DVDs, video cassettes or stereo equipment, please) on “Electric Sundays” – February 8 and March 8 – at the I-66 Transfer Station, 4618 West Ox Road in Fairfax, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. both days. There is no cost to Fairfax County residents for this service.

AARP’s very popular Tax-Aide program started this week at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. If you need assistance with filing your federal and state income tax returns, AARP volunteers will provide walk-in service through April 15. Hours of operation are: Mondays and Thursdays, 1 to 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All returns are filed electronically. In addition to the usual documents needed for your 2008 tax return (previous year’s return, photo ID, Social Security card, and W-2 or other income forms), please remember to bring your 2008 Economic Stimulus Payment Notice 1378. For more information, visit www.aarp.org/taxaide, or call 1/888/227-7699.

Super Bowl XLIII is history. March Madness hasn’t yet begun. The Winter Olympics don’t happen until 2010. What’s a body to do in the doldrums of February? Mason District Little League (MDLL) says “sign up your children for Little League-sponsored baseball!” Registrations are now open for boys and girls ages 5 to 12. Visit www.mdll.org to sign up on-line, or register in person at Parklawn Elementary School, 4116 Braddock Road (corner of Braddock and Lincolnia Roads) on Sunday, February 22, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., or Sunday, March 1, from 1 to 5 p.m. MDLL provides an opportunity for youth to develop skills, self-confidence, teamwork, and sportsmanship while learning America’s favorite pastime. Little League stresses inclusion, friendship, and a positive approach to the game. For more information, call the hotline at 703/941-4480, or log on to the Web site above.