Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


A deck collapse in the Kingstowne area of Fairfax County this past weekend reminded homeowners that deck safety is too important to overlook. Decks collapse when they are not attached properly to the supporting structure, such as your house.

Loose guardrails and posts also can be hazardous. The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services offers these five safety tips for decks: 1) check support posts and beams for rot, splitting, or abnormal movement; 2) closely check the attachment points between the deck and the house; 3) check all fasteners, bolts, joint hangers, and other hardware for rust or corrosion; 4) make sure that all guards and rails are sturdy and secured; 5) use grills, heaters, and outdoor fire pits with care. Residents can perform these simple checks, but they must obtain a permit and have the work inspected when making structural repairs or changes to their deck. In the Kingstowne collapse, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel took 10 people to Inova Fairfax Hospital with various injuries, including one patient with a broken leg.

On a happier note, the summer heat hasn’t kept concert-goers from enjoying the free Spotlight by Starlight summer series at Mason District Park. The season opened on June 2, the weather stayed dry, and hundreds of music lovers have gathered on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings to enjoy professional performances at the Newton Edwards Amphitheatre. Friday’s program (June 25) will feature African-American Gospel music by Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven. Sunday (June 27) will welcome the City of Fairfax Concert Band; the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra’s Dixieland Band will perform on Wednesday (June 30). All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; admission and parking are free. The amphitheatre has bench seating, but many regulars bring collapsible lawn chairs to secure their favorite spots. A special viewing area is accessible for wheelchair patrons and their families.

The Saturday morning children’s concerts begin at 10 a.m. This Saturday (June 26) will feature the Fairfax Symphony’s String Quarter with a special Overture to Orchestra performance geared especially for young children to learn more about music and instruments in a fun way. The children’s concerts provide an excellent opportunity to introduce small children to theatre-style performances, without having to dress up or sit still. A nearby playground at the park makes it a lovely morning outing for families, and it’s all free!

Congratulations to the Rotary Club of Bailey’s Crossroads, which was named 2009-2010 Partner of the Year by the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) for its decade-long work with J.E.B. Stuart High School and its feeder schools. Working to develop responsible and ethical future leaders, the Rotary Club has assisted with the Culmore Support on Suspension program, which provides a supervised, safe environment for Stuart and Glasgow Middle School students who are suspended from school. Rotary and Stuart also partner with literacy programs through the school’s Interact Club, including the Raiders Readers program. The Bailey’s Rotary presents scholarships to six graduating seniors each year, and sponsors students who attend local leadership programs. You can find more information at www.bxrrotary.org.


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