Falls Church News Briefs: April 9 – 15, 2009

Expose Chronicles Poor Conditions at Funeral Home

Following an expose by the News-Press last June of flooding and inundated tombstones at the King David National Memorial Park, a section of the National Funeral Home in Falls Church, the Washington Post reported last Sunday of even more horrific conditions at the establishment, based on the documentation provided by former employee Steven Napper.

According to the account by Josh White, entitled, “‘I Never Could Have Imagined:’ Dignity Was Denied as Bodies Were Stored and Handled Using ‘Disturbing’ Methods, Area Funeral Home Workers Say,” unrefrigerated bodies were piled up at the facility, decomposing, leaking fluids and creating a terrible stench. Napper reported that as many as 200 corpses were left on makeshift gurneys in the garage, in hallways, and in a back room of the facility, including at least a half-dozen veterans destined for burial at the Arlington National Cemetery. The National Funeral Home is owned by the Houston-based Service Corporation International, which owns 1,700 funeral homes in the U.S. Last May, the National Funeral Home was placed on three years’ probation for unsanitary conditions.

GEORGE Funding Changes at WMATA Hearings

The issue of funding changes for GEORGE, the City of Falls Church’s own bus service that has been recommended for de-funding by F.C. City Manager Wyatt Shields, will be among the subjects on the table at six upcoming public hearings of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), including two near Falls Church, next week. One will be held Monday, April 13, at the Marshall Road Elementary, 730 Marshall Road S.W., in Vienna, and another will be Wednesday, April 15, at the Arlington County Government Center, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., 3rd Floor, Arlington. Also, the Falls Church City Council will have a public hearing on its Fiscal Year 2010 budget, including options for funding GEORGE, this Monday, April 13 beginning at 7:30 p.m. A memorandum issued by the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance this week, entitled, “By GEORGE, It’s Expensive,” noted that the cost to taxpayers of operating the system is “about $600,000 per year, or $8 for every 50-cent fare,” adding, “The longest cab ride within the City is $6-$7.”

F.C. Tax Relief Applications Due by April 15

The Falls Church Treasurer’s Office announced this week that applications for F.C. Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Relief are due to the Treasurer’s office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15. They can be mailed to 300 Park Ave., Suite 103E, Falls Church, or hand delivered to the office at the F.C. City Hall.

BJ’s Site Plan May Come to F.C. Planners April 20

Correcting a report in last week’s News-Press, Falls Church Planning Commission chair John Lawrence has reported that the earliest the site plan for BJ’s Warehouse can come before his body for site plan approval is April 20. He said that updated site plan information will come to the City’s Planning Staff by next Monday, and that if all goes well, the Planning Commission could do both a preliminary and final site plan approval on the 20th. He noted that while BJ’s headquarters is pushing for a December 2009 opening of the store, a local BJ’s spokesman said that would be a very difficult deadline to meet.

Kaye Guests on News-Press Live Monday

Falls Church City Treasurer Cathy Kaye will be the special guest on the half-hour live TV show, Falls Church News-Press Live, this Monday, April 13, at 7 p.m. Kaye will be discussing her secrets of success in her thriving handmade jewelry business. The twice-monthly show that precedes live telecasts of Falls Church City Council meetings will air on Falls Church Cable TV, Channel 12 on Cox, Channel 2 on RCN and Channel 35 on Verizon.