Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


Olio, n. a mixture or a medley; hodgepodge. Often used as the answer to a crossword puzzle clue, olio also could describe the yellow “stickies” and assorted slips of paper on my desk today. Hopefully, there is something here to pique your interest.

As you are outdoors raking leaves this fall, consider that one of your trees might be a candidate for designation as a Celebrated Tree of Fairfax County. The county’s Tree Commission is seeking nominations for Big Trees, Historic Trees, Commemorative Trees, and Favorite Trees to include in the county’s database of the most special trees. Celebrated Trees is an ongoing project, and nominations may be submitted at any time of year. Only trees in Fairfax County may be nominated, and only native or stably naturalized non-native species will be considered. You do not need to identify the tree species in order to submit a nomination. More information and forms are available on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/trees.htm.

The J.E.B. Stuart High School All Night Graduation Celebration won’t occur until Monday, June 20, 2011, but parents already are busy raising money for the fun, safe, alcohol and drug-free party held each year on graduation night. The event is part of a statewide effort to ensure that all high school graduates celebrate safely on one of the highest risk nights of the year. Individual and business contributions may be sent to “JEB Stuart PTSA/ANP” at 3301 Peace Valley Lane, Falls Church, VA 22044.

Postal worker Roy Francisco deserves a pat on the back for his quick action in the Ravenwood neighborhood last month. As Roy was delivering the daily mail, he saw an elderly gentleman fall when his dogs’ leashes got tangled between his legs. Roy instantly came to the man’s assistance, helped him up, and checked to see if he was OK. He also alerted a neighbor to the situation. A comment from a letter to the Postal Service notes that “in the age of email, instant messaging, and with talk of reducing…service, it is a comfort to know that USPS personnel are watching out for the residents of their community. Roy’s performance exemplifies the best of public service.” I couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Roy.

School Crossing Guard Mary Parsell was honored at a retirement ceremony last month, celebrating more than 44 years as a crossing guard in Mason District. Thousands of children got to school safely on Mary’s watch, and she was honored in 1984 by Hecht’s Department Store (remember?) as one of the Washington area’s best school crossing guards. Most of her time was spent at four schools: Thomas Jefferson High School (old and new), Holmes Middle School, Weyanoke and Belvedere Elementary Schools. Mary’s husband wanted her to stay home and raise the kids; she wanted a job that would allow her to bring the kids, and the crossing guard job was perfect. In those early years, female crossing guards wore dress shoes and skirts. They later were issued warmer clothes, slacks, and proper footwear! Congratulations, Mary, and thank you for your dedication to our children.

While on the subject of schools, I discovered that many of our schools need umbrellas to safely transfer children from classrooms in trailers to the cafeteria, gym, library, etc. The pathways from structure to structure are not covered so, on rainy days, children, and their teachers, can get wet. Especially helpful are large-size golf umbrellas, which can cover several children at once, but any umbrella in good condition will do. If you have extra or unused umbrellas to donate, you may drop them at my office, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, and I will get them to the schools in need.


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