Letters to the Editor: Clearing The Brush Along W&OD Trail Is Necessary

*Editor’s note: In the print edition that these letters appeared in, the author of the letter titled “Clearing the Brush Along W&OD Trail is Necessary” was wrongly named as “Anonymous.” In truth, the author of the letter received our consent to be unnamed, but we erred in finalizing that change for our print edition. The editorial policy for the News-Press does not permit publishing anonymous letters.

Letters to the Editor: September 3 – 9, 2020


Jen Smith’s recent letter ‘W&OD Trail Renovations Denude Path’s Natural Feel’ got it all wrong. She obviously doesn’t see or experience first-hand the vast sections of vegetation overgrowth along the W&OD in Falls Church, or the weeds poking through the bench and branches overhanging that bench on the south side of the W&OD at Great Falls Street. There’s no shortage of greenery in this area or any other. The only shaded section of the W&OD is its westernmost section between Leesburg & Purcellville, where there are several miles of double canopy trees. Falls Church’s section will retain its sun exposure with the dual trails.

Creating the dual trails in Falls Church benefits everyone, cyclists and pedestrians alike, allowing separation of faster and slower trail users to enhance their safety by decreasing their likelihood of collisions and conflicts. The City of Virginia Beach’s dual boardwalk and paved trail proved this safety enhancement many years ago.

Smith need not worry about deer; Fairfax County has a culling program because their population swells every year beyond what natural resources can sustain them. She seems to have a notion of ‘normal’ bike riding that fails to accommodate many trail users. Look no further than the vast economic gains reaped by Abingdon and Damascus, VA for the benefits of trails of other Virginia jurisdictions.

[Name withheld by consent]


Dr. Ellis’ Departure From Point of View Is Heartbreaking


My family and I are very distressed to learn of the departure of Dr. Peter Ellis from Point of View Eyewear in Falls Church.

For two decades, Dr. Ellis was the optometrist we fully relied on and trusted for all our family’s eye care. Not only did we have complete trust in his excellent professional care, but we appreciated the kindly attention paid to each of us. This is a very unfortunate loss, compounded by being managed in an uncomfortable manner. We fervently hope Dr. Ellis finds a location to continue practicing in Falls Church.

Cecilia Op de Beke

Via the Internet

Parents Should Be Frustrated With GMU’s ‘Student Fee’


I’m curious how many area parents are frustrated with George Mason University’s stance on fees this fall. Despite having switched predominantly to on-line instruction, GMU insists on levying a per-credit “mandatory student fee” (which, if a student bears a full-time load, can be four figures).

I challenged the rationale for that fee, arguing that if students’ on-campus footprint is limited, why are people paying this fee? The Provost’s canned response was that it supports campus infrastructure (which many students are not using) and, in a gesture of virtue signaling, noted that GMU graciously did not raise the fee this year (even though the same fee for reduced services is an increase).

If mandatory student fees are truly part of instructional and infrastructure costs, they should be folded into the per credit tuition rate and thus offer an honest picture of true attendance costs. Smuggling another fee, whose purpose seems fungible, simply raises the growing question — exacerbated by Covid — of what parents and students are really paying for in higher education costs that have consistently outpaced inflation and COLAs for decades. It used to be the “campus experience” (which is now gone). So what is it now — other than a money grab?

John Grondelski

Falls Church

Letters to the Editor may be submitted to letters@fcnp.com or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.