Falls Church News Briefs: July 2 – 8, 2009

Kaine Endorses Falls Church ‘Green Lab’ Push

Responding to an inquiry from Falls Church citizen activist Carol Jackson calling in to his “Ask the Governor” radio show on WTOP Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine endorsed the City of Falls Church’s unsolicited bid for $25 million in federal stimulus funds aimed at turning the City’s 2.2 square miles into a veritable “green laboratory” to test and research innovative energy conservation and renewable technologies.

Kaine had first been introduced to the initiative, which was authorized by a unanimous vote of the Falls Church City Council on June 22, by News-Press Owner Nicholas Benton during a Democratic National Committee fundraiser last week. It is considered that Kaine’s endorsement will play a large role in helping the U.S. Department of Energy’s decide to fund the Falls Church effort.



News-Press/Diener Food Drive Ends July 4

The 17th annual food drive in the City of Falls Church launched at the Memorial Day Parade and Festival culminates on July 4, when boxes at the locations around the City will be picked up and delivered to the Merrifield-based Food for Others, which feeds needy persons from 14 locations in Northern Virginia daily. The bad economy has increased the need for donations of canned and other non-perishable foods. Boxes are located the following locations through Saturday: F.C. News-Press (450 W. Broad, Suite 321), Diener and Associates (128 Rowell Ct.), Anthony’s Restaurant (320 W. Broad), F.C. Community Center (223 Little Falls), Unity Club (220 W. Broad, 2nd Floor), Point of View (701 W. Broad) and F.C. Art and Frame (102 Park Ave.). The drive is co-sponsored by Diener and Associates, CPAs, and the Falls Church News-Press.


Griffin Calls for Fairfax County to Become a City

Fairfax County Manager Anthony H. Griffin has called for Fairfax County to attain status as a city under Virginia law, which would make it among the biggest in the nation with a population of over a million, and what would become one of the biggest “downtowns” in the U.S. at Tysons Corner. Griffin said the move would give Fairfax stronger control of its transportation future and other tax benefits that are denied it as a county. Such a move would ultimately have to be approved by the Virginia General Assembly and the governor. Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova also commented favorably about the idea, which Griffin presented to the County Board at its meeting this week, according to a report in yesterday’s Washington Post.


F.C. Winter Hill Housing Cuts Ties to HUD Program

The affordable Winter Hill Apartments run by the Falls Church Housing Corporation (FCHC) announced this week that it has terminated its long-standing Section 8 contract with federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD policy changes, resulting in a dramatically-reduced Section 8 budget the last eight years, led to the decision, according to a statement from Mary Lynn Hickey, associate director of the FCHC. HUD’s flat subsidy budgets averaged less than two percent increases annually, while overall costs in the on-going operation of Winter Hill rose by five percent annually over the last 10 years. HUD’s revised policy to allow only one-year contracts was also a factor, Hickey said, as it precludes opportunities to refinance or to find other supplemental sources of funding. No outward changes will be apparent at Winter Hill, she said, as the FCHC maintains its longstanding priority to provide affordable, one bedroom apartment set asides to income-eligible seniors and/or those with disabilities.


Connolly Outlines Obama Health Plan to Media

Rep. Gerry Connolly, into whose 11th Congressional District of Virginia President Obama came yesterday to hold a town meeting about health care reform, conducted a telephone conference call from the Democratic National Committee headquarters Tuesday, previewing the parameters of Obama’s plan. He said that Obama’s three health care principles are: 1. reducing the rising costs of health care, 2. providing choice for patients, including a public option, and 3. guaranteeing that every American will have access to affordable health care. He noted that health care premiums have doubled in the last seven years, and health care costs will jump by another $2.4 trillion in the next 10 years if nothing is done. He said the ability of health care providers to “cherry pick” denial of care for pre-existing conditions must end. The cost of care is higher in the U.S. than anywhere in the world, at $7,421 per person, while 44 million remain uninsured. In 1960, Connolly noted, health care costs were 5 percent of the gross domestic product. That has risen to 18 percent today, and will jump to 34 percent by 2030 if nothing is done. Obama’s town meeting was held on the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College.


Fairfax Cat Adoption Push Begins Next Week

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter will host its fourth annual “ExtravaCATza!” this month, running from July 11-25. The shelter is offering to spay or neuter the first 100 cats and kittens adopted from the shelter during the month, at no charge. The shelter is inviting several of its rescue organization partners to participate in the event, one group will appear on each of the designated weekend days to showcase their cats and kittens available for adoption. The dates are July 11, 12, 18, 19 and 25, Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays from noon-4 p.m. The shelter is located at 4500 W. Ox Road, Fairfax 22030.