News Briefs: September 7 -13

F.C. School Board Chair Seeks Football Safety Info

Laura Downs, chair of the Falls Church City Public Schools board, announced to the News-Press last Friday the following: “I’ve asked Dr. Noonan to work with his staff to provide the School Board with information and research related to football safety and more specifically, an overview and history of Meridian’s football program and the safety protocols currently in place.”

The announcement came after the News-Press editorialized its August 17 edition calling for a School Board task force to be formed to look into new evidence from Boston University’s CTE Center of the impact on the brains of students from repeated blows to the head caused by playing tackle football.

It quoted News-Press founder-owner Nicholas F. Benton saying, “Given the great value placed on knowledge and learning in the Falls Church School System, it seems acutely ironic that such a potentially neurologically-damaging practice as tackle football continues to be so popular at the system’s Meridian High School.” 

Benton’s call in the editorial  took the form of a written petition to the School Board and was acknowledged by Board members Tate Gould, the vice chair, and Jerrod Anderson, prior to Downs’ announcement last week.

A subsequent study showing the prevalence of CTE in persons under age 30 who played tackle football was also reported in last week’s News-Press. 

F.C. Police Seek Info on 2 Men Accused of Assault

City of Falls Church Police are looking for two men in connection with an assault around 1 a.m. the morning of Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at a business in the 200 block of S. Washington Street.

One man was described as Hispanic, about 20 to 30 years old, wearing a blue or green polo shirt and blue jeans. Another man was described as Hispanic, also about 20 to 30 years old, wearing a blue and red jersey with the lettering ‘TIGO’ on the front. 

Anyone with information should contact Det. Gandionko, 703-248-5284 (TTY 711) or

Meta to End Support for Community Journalism Project

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, will wind down payments for publishers through its Facebook News tab in the U.K,, France and Germany and stop funding the Community News Project when the current contracts end, according to Editor and Publisher magazine.

The Community News Project, which first launched in 2019, currently places more than 100 reporters in under-served communities around the country.

Existing community news reporters will continue in their current roles until the contracts end, said the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), which disburses Meta’s grant funding for the scheme.

Meta said it will begin to close its Facebook News tab – a dedicated tab for news content – from early December as part of “an ongoing effort to better align our investments to our products and services people value the most.”

Creative Cauldron Announces Renewed Arts Fairfax Grant

Creative Cauldron is the recipient of a FY 2024 Operating Support Grant in the amount of $39,742 from Arts Fairfax, which supports local arts organizations providing outstanding arts experiences for the Fairfax community between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024.  A second grant in the amount of $33,684 was received from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

These operating grants will help to expand Creative Cauldron’s award winning programming which includes the Bold New Works/Voices initiative and “Artes Para Todos” which provides arts workshops, camps, classes, and performances to young people from Spanish-speaking households who attend Fairfax County Title One Schools.

McKay: Fairfax Co. Safest For Its Size in U.S.

Fairfax County is once again the safest jurisdiction of its size. Among the 70 large jurisdictions ranked by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Fairfax County has the lowest rate of violent crimes (homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults) for the second quarter of 2023, according to county board chair Jeff McKay.

In a statement this week, he said, “I want to reiterate how important this distinction is. We read in the news every day about how crime is up across the country. But it is important to take a moment and look at the overall fact presented in this report, supported by data: Fairfax County is still the safest place of its size to live in America. Keep that in mind the next time you see something concerning national trends. The MCCA relies on data, not anecdotes, which means this distinction is something you can trust.”

He added, “It is also a distinction important to understand beyond the context of national trends. A safe community – one where violent crime is low and one with excellent public safety agencies – is one where people can thrive and businesses can grow. It is the bedrock of a successful and vibrant community. It is something we can all be immensely proud of, because it is something we all have a hand in, especially our world class law enforcement officers who play an instrumental role in keeping our community safe. We are all responsible for creating such a safe and welcoming community, and I couldn’t be prouder of how successful we have been.”