Sometimes missed, amidst the constant Covid-19 news cycles that permeate every waking (and sleeping) moment are good news local stories that reinforce our social fabric. Sometimes that fabric is literal, as evidenced by a call from a constituent who had made some face masks for her family and wondered, before she put her sewing machine away, if there was a need for more masks locally. I told her I would find a good home for additional masks, and two days later she delivered two dozen brightly colored, washable masks for the Culmore Clinic, an outstanding non-profit organization that provides health care to uninsured and low-income residents in the Baileys Crossroads/Seven Corners area of Mason District. Learn more about the Culmore Clinic and its services at www.culmoreclinic.org.
Another good news story is the recovery of Reverend Kenny Baldwin, pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church. I’ve known Kenny, and his dad, Lou, for years, and both are inspirational and civic-minded men of faith. Kenny was one of the first people in Fairfax County to be diagnosed with Covid-19 and, fortunately, among the first to recover, but it was a difficult recovery, as he related in an Easter Sunday op-ed in The Washington Post. In hospital isolation, gasping for every breath (and losing 25 pounds in the process), but finally walking out of the hospital a much better man, he knew that God wasn’t done with him yet. Even as he lay fighting for his life, his faith, and hope, sustained him. “We need never be without hope, he wrote.” That’s a lesson we all can take to heart during difficult times.
Some local restaurants are able to implement a Grab and Go feature to stay “open” during the emergency. The menus may have to be adjusted, and spur of the moment cravings may not be addressed, but everyone is trying to make it work. Last week, the Board of Supervisors approved a small business microloan program; applications, through the Community Business Partnership, will start being accepted on Tuesday. More information is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/economic-success/county-small-business-covid-19-recovery-fund. When the emergency is lifted, going back to our favorite dining spots will be a celebratory activity, but only if they are able to fully reopen.
As noted in a previous column, the county’s proposed FY 2021 budget had to be revised and updated to reflect the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on county revenues and resources. To discuss the revised budget for which public hearings will be conducted next week, I am hosting a live, virtual town hall on Monday, April 27, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Fairfax County cable Channel 16. My guest in the studio will be Chief Financial Officer Joe Mondoro. Mason District School Board Member, Dr. Ricardy Anderson, will join by telephone from the School Board’s budget work session. To participate in the Q & A session, call 703-324-1114 during the show, or e-mail your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will cover as many questions about the proposed budget as time permits.