Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


Nearly 400 speakers addressed the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors during three days and nights of budget hearings last week. Supervisors heard pleas to support schools, retain library and park services, maintain the safety net for those less fortunate and, somewhat surprisingly, raise taxes and fees.

Time and again, speakers supported an increase in the real property tax and reinstatement of the local vehicle registration fee, commonly known as the decal fee. By law, the county’s budget must be balanced, and a combination of service cuts and revenue enhancements accomplish it. The Board of Supervisors will mark up the FY 2011 budget on Tuesday, April 20, and formally adopt the revised budget on April 27.

As budget deliberations continue, other interesting things are happening in our community. Congratulations to Arthur Lopez, Mason District resident and creator of Nadar Por Vida (Swimming for Life), a program to give Hispanic children the opportunity to become competitive swimmers and fight childhood obesity. The popular program for middle school youth aims to make swimming a meaningful experience for youth and promote safety instruction for their parents and families. Arthur was honored Friday night by the Hispanic Committee of Virginia (HCV) with the 2010 Marta V. Wyatt Award. Marta was an inspirational and longtime executive director of HCV. The award in her name is presented to an individual for outstanding contribution to the betterment of the Hispanic community. Nadar Por Vida needs more community support and volunteers; log on to www.nadarporvida.org for more information.

A whole flock of Eagles was honored Saturday at the Troop 150 Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony at Annandale United Methodist Church. Only five of every 100 Boy Scouts attains the rank of Eagle, so Saturday’s ceremony was unique as four young men were presented with their awards. Annandale High School students John Hartley, Boris Mewborn, and Nate Mitchell, and Oakton High School student Kevin Johnson, stood tall and proud when their parents and Scoutmaster Mike Tomsey pinned on the coveted Eagle medal. Kevin, John, and Nate will graduate this spring; Boris is a freshman. The ceremony was attended by 11th District Congressman Gerry Connolly, who presented each Eagle with a Congressional commendation, and 38th District Delegate Kaye Kory, who made a similar presentation on behalf of the Virginia General Assembly. Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts, are based on excellent, value-based programs that provide firm foundations for good decision-making and service to the community. Local governments spend a lot of taxpayer dollars on after-school programs for youth. With more volunteers, scouting programs could serve many more young people for much less money. Contact your local Boy Scout or Girl Scout Council for more information.

Yom Ha’Shoah, a solemn, but uplifting, memorial observance of the six million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust, was held at Alexandria’s Beth El Hebrew Congregation on Sunday. The standing room only crowd included elected officials from Northern Virginia, as well as an interesting mixture of diplomats from Germany, China, Spain, Japan, El Salvador, and others. The international participation reflected the stories of envoys who, before and during World War II, assisted many persecuted Jewish people to safety. The brave envoys are recognized as Yad Vashem’s “Righteous Among the Gentiles” at its museum in Israel.


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov


  • Penny Gross

    Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov