Falls Church News Briefs: June 25 – July 1, 2009

F.C. Council Votes to Hike GEORGE Fares

The Falls Church City Council voted unanimously to permit an increase in fares for the use of the scaled-back GEORGE bus system from 50 cents now, to $1.35 per trip as of July 6, or $1.25 per trip using a SmarTrip pass.

The new fare brings GEORGE fares into conformity with the rates of the Arlington Regional Transit (ART), which will begin operating the system July 1. The new rates will permit ART to fit GEORGE buses with its existing fare boxes. The Falls Church Council also voted to lower the GEORGE fare to $1 as soon as its own fare boxes can be reprogrammed, which may take a few months.


Mason High Reunion Events This Weekend

Hundreds of graduates from Falls Church’s George Mason High School are expected to descend to Falls Church from all over the place this weekend for an all-class reunion that will include a variety of events from Friday to Sunday. The events begin with an open bar reception at Smokey’s Garage, 1105 W. Broad St., from 5-7 p.m. Friday, followed by an open house at George Mason High School (GMHS), 7124 Leesburg Pike, from 7-9:30 p.m. Saturday, a reunion of teachers and staff who’ve served in the Falls Church Public School System will be held at GMHS at noon, and an all-class reunion party will be held at the State Theatre from 7:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday night. Sunday, a family picnic for all alums will be held at Cherry Hill Park, 310 Park Ave., from noon-5 p.m. In addition, individual graduating classes will be holding separate events, all posted at The events are being hosted and coordinated by the non-profit Falls Church Education Foundation and the GMHS Alumni Association.

Moran Calls for Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Virginia U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, whose 8th District includes the City of Falls Church and is the senior member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, joined 76 of his colleagues to send a letter to President Obama urging swift action on repealing the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. The letter, drafted by Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-Fl.), urges President Obama to use his executive authority to prevent further discharges of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and to work with Congress to permanently repeal the law. “During his campaign, President Obama made a pledge to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’,” said Moran. “Despite widespread support for repeal, good soldiers, vital to our national security, continue to be discharged. President Obama can fulfill his promise and work with Congress to enact a new policy that honors the willingness of Americans to serve their nation, regardless of sexual orientation.”

Summer Camp Program at James Lee Center Launched

This Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., 23 happy campers climbed aboard two James Lee Community Center buses in front of the Kingsley Family Resource Center on Monticello Dr. in Falls Church for the first day of Rec-Quest summer camp. A third bus provided by the Arlington Boulevard Community Development (ABCD) organization through Kingsley Commons Town House Corp. also loaded up 10 campers for a morning-only run – making a total of 33 campers from the Kingsley community going to Rec-Quest, the Fairfax Co. Dept. of Recreation summer program for first through sixth graders. Luis Sagastume, a rising senior at Falls Church High School and Kingsley resident, is the bus attendant for the James Lee buses. He rides with the campers both ways, and he stays and assists with the activities, making sure that all campers also get home at the end of the day. This marks the third year ABCD has worked with the James Lee center to get Kingsley campers to Rec-Quest. The non-profit ABCD’s mission is to serve the underserved children and families of the Falls Church corridor of Arlington Blvd.

F.C. Council Mulls ‘Arts District’ Plan

Empowered by a recent state law to establish an “arts and cultural district” in Falls Church, the F.C. City Council established and assigned a task force to come up with a plan, and the report from the group to the Council last Monday proposed the parameters of such a district in the downtown area of the City, and the formation of a “Humanities Council” with representation from a wide array of local arts and cultural organizations. The Council forwarded the recommendations to the Planning Commission and other bodies for review.