T. S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month…,” but February might place second for that designation, especially this February. Although not as snowy as February of 2010, which we remember as “snowmageddon,” the sustained Arctic blasts of the past several days reminds us that Mother Nature still is in charge. Please be extra careful about the safe use of space heaters in your home; bundle up in layers when going outside. It’s frigid even when just going out to the driveway to collect the morning paper!
February also can be the cruelest month because the County Executive’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year is released to the Board of Supervisors and the public then. County agencies learn which programs are proposed for cuts or expansion, the annual school transfer is recommended, and county residents find out their real estate assessments and possible tax rates, too. Due to press deadlines, this column is written before the budget release, so I will discuss the highlights in next week’s column. The Board will review intensely the proposed budget, hold public hearings about the budget on April 7, 8, and 9, and adopt a revised budget in late April. The Mason District Budget Town Meeting, with County Executive Ed Long, will be held on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. The proposed Fairfax County budget can be viewed on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/budget.
Food pantries operated by non-profit organizations provide needed basics to families in need, but the demand has grown significantly in our area, and food pantry shelves are sparse. You can help by contributing non-perishable foods for ACCA (the Annandale Christian Community for Action) in the bin outside my office door at the Mason District Governmental Center. Suggested items include small bags of dried red and black beans, brown and white rice, cereal, canned meats, crackers, cookies, soups, sugar, flour, and masa flour. ACCA also encourages money donations that will purchase milk and fresh fruits and vegetables to augment the staples. The “Stuff the Bus” event at the Annandale Giant last Saturday garnered a lot of support (the bus truly was stuffed with bags of donated groceries), but the need is great, and constant. You can drop off your food donation at my office until April 6. Bring some canned goods to the Budget Town Meeting on March 19, too.
Longtime Mason District resident Connie Lawn, senior White House correspondent, has written a memorable, sometimes funny, and always interesting account of her many years in Washington as a radio reporter through nine Administrations. Connie’s accounts of Resurrection City, Watergate, juggling motherhood and radio broadcasts, the White House press room, and many other events, will intrigue longtime Washington watchers as well as newcomers. The book is called You Wake Me Each Morning, alluding to what listeners around the world told Connie during her broadcasting career. Contact Connie at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a copy, which she will autograph for you. Way to go, Connie!
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at email@example.com.