Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Last Saturday’s shredding event at the Mason District Governmental Center was an enormous success! The line opened at 7 a.m., and 736 vehicles were unloaded in the three hours and 40 minutes that elapsed before the four large shredding trucks were full, and another 30 or so vehicles had to be waved off. If you do the math, one vehicle was unloaded every 18 seconds. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, weather-wise. If you missed the Mason District shredding event, another opportunity is this Saturday, May 8, also from 7 – 11 a.m., at the Rolling Valley Park & Ride, 9220 Old Keene Mill Road in Burke. It might be a good idea to get in line early, in case the trucks fill up quickly. Shredding events for sensitive personal and financial documents (not newspapers and magazines, which should be placed in your recycling bin) are open to residents of Fairfax County, Herndon, Vienna, and Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. Plans are underway for another shredding event in Mason District in April 2022.

The Fairfax County Public School System is hosting a virtual community meeting to discuss the planned school expansion and associated parking and improvements at the adjacent Justice Park on Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Park Authority representatives also will be available to answer questions about the project and potential for improvements under the existing Master Plan. Information about the meeting is available on the Mason District website.

Sad news came twice on Monday, as Mason District learned of the loss of two great ladies, almost centenarians Helen Winter and Gwen Cody. Helen sometimes was known as the First Lady of Annandale, for both her chairmanship of the Annandale Clean-up every spring for decades, and her leadership in the Annandale Women’s Club. Helen was active in the Clean Fairfax Council for many years, and could be found on stage presenting environmental awards during Earth Day celebrations. She hosted decades of Hillbrook-Tall Oaks civic association fall picnics in her extensive front yard, and loved watching new generations of neighborhood children play on the rented bouncy house. Helen was named Lady Fairfax by then-Supervisor Tina Trapnell in 1993, and Helen Winter Terrace was named for her when Ashton Commons was built in 2007. New residents were delighted to learn that there really was a Helen Winter, and they invited her to a community event where she charmed them all. Helen would have turned 96 next month.

Gwen Cody, a longtime resident of Camelot, was a longtime real estate agent, and a faithful member of the Annandale Rotary Club. Gwen served in the Virginia General Assembly for two terms in the mid-1980s, until she was defeated in 1985 by Leslie Byrne. Later, she was appointed to the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees. Gwen always proudly posted Republican candidate signs in her yard on King Arthur Road and, occasionally, she also posted my campaign sign, much to the consternation of both political parties! Gwen could be a fierce opponent, but she also could be a thoughtful friend, and I will miss her occasional phone calls, and her invitations to speak at Rotary Club. Gwen, who was 99 last month, was a veteran, and will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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