Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


School is back in session, heralding the end to a summer which probably seemed too short to some, and too long to others. Some bell schedules have changed, so the familiar start and end times at your local school may create different traffic patterns as you head to work or daily errands. Drivers are reminded that the speed limit in school zones still is 25 mph, and passing a stopped school bus is illegal. Some children may be getting adjusted to new school bus stops in the neighborhood, so please drive carefully and exercise caution any time you are on the road. One more reminder – the speed limit in most neighborhoods also is 25 mph. The most frequent neighborhood complaint is about drivers speeding and ignoring stop signs. Police will enforce the law, so you can slow down, or tell it to a judge.

Fairfax County is home to countless faith communities and religious beliefs, all of which are welcomed and respected by the community at large. Many disparate faith communities work together to resolve local issues, providing food assistance, furniture, counseling, hypothermia shelter for homeless persons, and the like. They identify a need and seek to fill it, according to the shared tenets of their faith. That’s why it is unsettling that, periodically during the past year, protesters, apparently from another part of the country, have assembled at a church property near Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center to spew their own brand of hatred against the faithful, including children, who assemble for prayer on Friday afternoons. They were equally hateful when a church representative asked them to leave private property. Such behavior is never acceptable in our modern conglomerate society. While the First Amendment protects both free speech and freedom of religion, it was never intended to pit one against the other. An attack against one faith can be construed as an attack on all beliefs, and local faith communities are standing in solidarity with the mosque so that all can practice their faiths, unimpeded by ignorance and hate speech. We all should be proud that our community can respond with such a positive approach.

The Art in the Mason District Governmental Center exhibit this quarter features pastels by Mason District resident Joyce Turk. Joyce has traveled and backpacked across the globe, but most of her 26 paintings on exhibit reflect more familiar local scenes. Of special interest are four pastels of Great Falls, one depicting that natural phenomenon at each season. One can almost feel the bitter cold of the falls capped in the ice of winter. The artist’s use of color is most captivating in two selections capping the end of the day: Sunset Glory is all brilliant orange and coral and yellow, tempered by the deep purple of a mountain sunset, while Days End incorporates some deep blue wave action for a traditional beach sunset. Joyce Turk’s exhibit may be viewed Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed 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