Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County School Board met in retreat last week, an exercise that is scheduled to acquaint new and returning members of both boards, and discuss common initiatives and goals. The retreat, open to the public, was held at the new Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, adjacent to Mount Vernon. The juxtaposition of the modern new building on one of the most historic properties in the nation simply added to the appreciation of the treasures we enjoy in Fairfax County.

The retreat focused on joint priorities that the two boards might put into a work program for the coming term. Interestingly, there was very little discussion about school budgets and the school transfer. The crux of the discussion was about the inter-relationship of the county’s Strategic Plan for Economic Success and the school system’s plan for early childhood education and school readiness, as well as its Portrait of a Graduate. Expanding early childhood education will have significant cost, but is considered a smart investment. Both boards await further information about funding opportunities, and classroom space, for the program.

With 4th of July approaching, many households will be displaying the American flag to celebrate the holiday. Is your flag in good condition? Is it faded, or frayed around the edges? If it’s time to replace your flag, what should you do with the old one? Flag etiquette, and federal regulations, say that a no-longer-serviceable flag should be disposed in a respectful manner, either by burning or burial. Burning? Yes. American Legion Post 1976 in Annandale conducts an annual ceremony with Boy Scout Troop 990 (North Springfield) for dignified disposal of flags by burning. Shiny new galvanized steel garbage cans, mounted on a wooden platform to protect the blacktop parking lot from the heat, stand ready to accept each flag. The scouts present a few flags for inspection by the American Legion Commander, who confirms that the flags are no longer serviceable. Each unfolded flag is carefully and individually lowered into the flames, as community members observe, respectfully, a safe distance from the flames. Dozens of flags are similarly consigned to the flames; the entire ceremony takes about an hour. At the conclusion, after the steel receptacles have cooled, the ashes are removed for burial. You can drop off your no-longer-serviceable American flags in the red, white, and blue mailbox at the American Legion, 4206 Daniels Avenue in downtown Annandale, or in the white bin in the lobby of the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.

The Art in the Mason District Governmental Center features oils and watercolors by three artists – Bill and Stephanie Firestone, and Stephanie’s father, the late Peter Haikalis. Unusual art subjects by Bill – an old Studebaker, a rusty industrial faucet, a Caterpillar steam shovel – are interpreted in oils, while the watercolors of Stephanie provide an entirely different vibe. Some of Peter’s works are reminiscent of Picasso’s early works, I think, and everyone can find something to like in the show. Drop by anytime Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. to visit the art display.

 


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]

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