Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpRecent weather notwithstanding, Memorial Day weekend signals the start of summer in our community. Mason District Park’s free summer concert series, Spotlight by Starlight, begins on Wednesday, June 1, with an American Roots concert by Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys. The concerts at the park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale, begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The Ossian Hall Park international concerts begin on Saturday, June 4, with Korean Cultural Night, also at 7:30 p.m. Ossian Hall Park is located across from Annandale High School, at 7900 Heritage Drive. More information about these concerts, as well as concerts at other parks, may be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances.

Memorial Day, observed this year on Monday, May 30, was created after the Civil War to commemorate those soldiers, on both sides, who died during that troubled time in our nation’s history. Originally called Decoration Day, it provided an opportunity for survivors, friends, and family members to gather at cemeteries and “decorate” graves with flowers in remembrance of their service. Interestingly, this year’s observance falls on the traditional date for Decoration Day. The date was changed to the last Monday in May in the late 1960s by order of Congress. When I was a child, I visited cemeteries with my grandmother, who decorated graves for relatives and kin who lived far away from where their loved ones were buried. It was a thoughtful and respectful exercise, one that I remember with reverence and warmth.

This long weekend will be a perfect time to “tip and toss” outdoor containers that may have collected water, and now can serve as incubators for mosquitos. The Fairfax County Health Department recommends some simple steps to “Fight the Bite” that can carry West Nile virus, the Zika virus, and other diseases. Eliminate standing water in your outdoor environment. You will have to do this repeatedly, depending on the amount of rain this summer.

Common offenders are water collecting in old tires, in the saucers of flowerpots, and in the folds of tarps and patio furniture covers. Check your gutters and downspouts to be sure they are free flowing. You can treat hard-to-reach standing water with larvacide, too. Protect yourself while outside by wearing long sleeves and long pants, and try to avoid being outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active. Mosquitos can’t fly very far; if your home is plagued by mosquitos, chances are they are incubating somewhere very close to you or your neighbors.

Loehmann’s Plaza has long been a popular shopping destination for area residents. With the Loehmann’s retail brand now out of business, the center was renamed Graham Park Plaza, and the property owners are contemplating redevelopment of a portion of the center.

A public information meeting to learn more about the proposal is planned for Tuesday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m., at Westlawn Elementary School, 3200 Westley Road in Falls Church. I look forward to seeing you there.


 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