Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts

The purple can for glass recycling is here – in the parking lot of the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Purists might argue whether the color is purple, magenta, orchid, or some other hue, but it’s bright enough to attract attention, and certainly can’t be confused with a regular old construction dumpster. The purple can is designed to take only glass bottles and jars. Items should be empty, and rinsed. The glass from the purple containers will be crushed and used for a variety of purposes, including construction projects.

Homeowners still may dispose of glass in their weekly recycling bins, but when glass breaks in the bin, the shards can contaminate the other recycled items, especially paper, which may result in the entire batch being treated as trash instead of being recycled. Purple can recycling ensures that glass, even if it breaks, is handled correctly and recycled into usable material. To find the purple can at the Mason District Governmental Center, enter the parking lot from Columbia Pike, go straight back to the last drive aisle, turn right, and proceed to the western end of the main parking lot. The purple can is on the left. Signs on the purple can will identify types of acceptable glass, and also what not to discard – like no lamps or bulbs, and no miscellaneous glass. Bottles and jars only, please.

At last week’s board meeting, I was pleased to present a proclamation that designates August as Immunization Awareness Month in Fairfax County. Older adults still may remember when polio, mumps, measles, and even diphtheria and whooping cough were not uncommon childhood diseases. My longtime neighbor contracted polio at age eight, spent much of her childhood in a hospital, and wore a steel brace on her leg for more than eight decades. Modern vaccines have made that nightmare disappear, but measles, the flu, pneumonia, and other preventable diseases, still circulate, making vaccinations necessary to protect all people, but especially infants and young children, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.

As parents enroll their children in school, students return to college campuses, and travelers make their plans, focusing community attention on immunization as a safe, effective, and necessary means to protect everyone’s health is simply a smart thing, and the right thing, to do. In the early 1970s, I was a staff aide on Capitol Hill, where my boss’s wife, Bethine Church, and other Senate wives (yes, wives; there were only two female Senators at the time) created a campaign against rubella, a contagious viral disease now easily prevented by immunization. The common MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine was introduced about the same time, but many rural areas were underserved, and the wives’ effort was focused on getting information out to those areas. Little did I realize that, more than 40 years later, I’d still be advocating for immunizations! It was necessary then, and more necessary now.

The Annandale Pop-up Park, at 7200 Columbia Pike, is hosting Arts Day this Saturday, from 5 to 8 p.m. The interactive arts include mural chalking and stone painting, a bike and helmet decorating station, and other family friendly activities. You can even play the park piano! The event is free, but advanced registration is encouraged, at www.fcrevite.org/annandale/parkcivicspace.html.


  • 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