Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


Falls at home are a leading cause of injury, and sometimes death, for older residents in our community. It is so easy to trip on a loose rug, or stumble on a step, or lose balance while moving something heavy. Preventing such calamities is the focus of “Preventing the 9-1-1 Call, A Senior Health and Safety Seminar” that I am hosting with Richard Bowers, Fairfax County Fire Chief, and other county agencies, on Monday, May 12, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.

Participants will learn how to prevent falls, receive fire and safety tips, find out about the Project Lifesaver program of the Sheriff’s Office, and how to defend against scams and other frauds. Following presentations will be a question and answer period, and Chief Bowers advises that light refreshments will be available. There is no charge for the seminar, and no registration is needed. The seminar is a new facet of the Fire and Rescue Department’s Safety in Our Community program, which helps residents determine if their smoke alarm is working properly. For more information about the seminar, please call my office at 703-256-7717, TTY 711, or email mason@fairfaxcounty.gov. I look forward to seeing you on May 12.

Congratulations to Mason District resident, Maryam Mustafa, on her selection as one of only 1,000 national recipients of a Gates Millennium Scholarship. Maryam is a senior at Falls Church High School, whose activities include yearbook editor, athletics, and tutoring. The Gates Scholarship will provide full coverage of college tuition. Maryam told The Washington Post that she plans to attend George Mason or George Washington University and eventually become an international lawyer.

A big thank you to all the volunteers who spent time last Saturday morning to clean up and beautify the Culmore and Seven Corners areas of Mason District. It was a beautiful morning to be outside working side-by-side with neighbors and new friends. Fairfax County is fortunate to have caring residents who partner with county agencies, non-profits, and each other to beautify and improve our community. Volunteer Fest is observed formally only a couple of times each year, but the opportunities to volunteer – for community clean ups, Meals-on-Wheels, tutoring students, park programs – are endless. Find your favorite activity, and volunteer now!

The current Art in the Mason District Governmental Center program features photographs by David Tilson, a long-time resident at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads. Mr. Tilson’s lens focuses on water landscapes mostly — bucolic calm lake waters as well as the energizing foam of rapids and waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies. One frame seems almost out of place – a color photo of a “House Window in Palermo, Italy.” The ancient shuttered glass is partially covered by green vines and overgrowth; brief glimpses of a carved stucco façade can be seen, along with a riot of wires and cables that attempt to retrofit the old building for the modern age. It’s a timeless study, foreign yet familiar. The photos can be viewed Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.


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