Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


 Congratulations to Betsy Washington of Lake Barcroft! Betsy received an Environmental Excellence Award from the Board of Supervisors last week for her outstanding work as an environmental educator and steward in the Lake Barcroft neighborhood. Betsy writes a monthly column for the Lake Barcroft newsletter, and provides hands-on assistance about trees, native plants, birds, and even beavers, to residents. Betsy was selected for recognition by the county’s volunteer Environmental Quality Advisory Council.

Also at last week’s meeting, the Board announced the appointment of Police Chief David Rohrer to the newly recreated position of Deputy County Executive for Public Safety. (The previous position was abolished in the early 1990s.) Chief Rohrer will assume his new position on October 20. Chief Rohrer, a 32-year veteran of the department, has been chief for the past eight years. He is considered a “cop’s cop,” always exhibiting the highest ethical standards as well as a leader dedicated to the well-being of his troops. His new duties will include oversight responsibility for police, fire and rescue, and emergency management. Appointment of an interim chief is expected to be announced later this month, and a national search for a new chief will get underway later this year.

Bring your skateboard, kneepads, elbow pads, and helmet, to Skate Annandale, a special event – one afternoon only – this Saturday at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department, 7128 Columbia Pike in Annandale, from 2:30 until 5 p.m. Enjoy skateboarding at American Inline’s mobile park, constructed just for this event. Skateboarding rails, ramps, and jumps will be available for skaters of all ages and skill levels. You can learn to skateboard for the first time, practice on ramps and rails, and participate in fun and games all afternoon. Skate Annandale is co-sponsored by my office and American Inline. Admission is free; parking also is available on site. In the case of rain, the event will be cancelled.

A recent visit to Boise, Idaho, revealed some wonderful opportunities for public art that could/should be replicable here in Fairfax County. Within a one-block walk in downtown Boise, here is what I saw: a gorgeous 50 foot high rendition of an ancient river carved into rock cascaded down the front wall of the hotel. The flat crystalline sculpture caught the sun during the day, and was illuminated from within at night, a beautiful welcome to guests arriving at the hotel’s port-cochere. One wall of City Hall presented two views of a vintage “Welcome to Boise” postcard. Looking left, you could visualize the traditional 1940s postcard; looking to the right were sketches of historic Boise in sepia tones. The Capitol Boulevard side of a Basque fronton (where jai alai is played) featured a colorful mural of Basque dancers in traditional red and green costumes. Idaho has the largest Basque population outside of Europe. Light poles along the boulevard leading to the Capitol building sported a colorful seal for each of Idaho’s 44 counties. Even the mundane utility box on the street corner was wrapped in a colorful Boise tree motif, which deserved a stop to explore more closely. Boise’s focus on outdoor art was an unexpected pleasure – a refreshing approach to art and a visual delight.


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