Falls Church News-Press 4-4-2024

Page 1

Shields’ New FY25 Budget Has 1c Tax Rate Cut

A $138.3 million annual budget for City operations and the school system for the coming fiscal year (FY2025) beginning July 1 was recommended to the Falls Church City Council by City Manager Wyatt Shields at the Council’s work session Monday. The size of the budget proposal includes an overall increase of 7.9 percent in general government expenditures and a 7.6 percent increase in funding for the City’s public schools.

The first public forum presentation of the proposal is scheduled for tonight (Thursday, April 4) at 7:30 p.m. in the Council chambers in City Hall. This marks the first steps in the annual budget approval process that will culminate in mid-May.

The budget proposal that also advances a six-year agenda for capital improvement projects (CIP) includes an ambitious 23 new full time positions, including 14 for the City (six in

Falls Church Mayor Letty Hardi weighed in on the controversy over plans included in the coming six-year Capital Improvement Program to invest $30 million in a new property yard facility at the yard’s current five-acre site on Gordons Road in the Little City.

See Pages 9-16

While she did not offer concrete suggestions, she repeatedly said plans for the site presented as part of City Manager Wyatt Shields’ proposed budget

in this Monday’s City Council work session “should be more creative” than the current one that calls for an expensive new facility.

Following controversy over the matter that was aired at last week’s Planning Commission meeting, the News-Press has learned that at its next meeting this month, the City’s Economic Development Authority will tackle the issue, and could emerge with a recommendation for an alternative use.

The Property Yard sits on land in the City’s West End that

is simply too valuable from a commercial development potential perspective to continue in its current non-revenue generating capacity, those who want a change suggest.

If the City’s five acres there were combined with the six acres (six, this number being corrected from the News-Press ’ previous erroneous report of 20 acres) owned by Beyer Automotive, it would add up to almost a dozen acres of prime real estate sitting in the shadow of the 9.78 acres currently being aggressively developed by the

Hoffman Group in its so-called West End project site where the old local high school once sat.

In other words, the two properties in question – Beyer Automotive and the City-owned current Property Yard – combined would actually be larger than the space where the City’s portion of the Hoffman West End plan is located now.

From a revenue generating potential standpoint, and with the proximity to the Hoffman project adding considerable

The City of Falls Church’s Independent, Locally-Owned Newspaper of Record, Serving N. Virginia F alls C hur C h , V irginia • www FC np C om • F ree F ounded 1991 • V ol . XXX i V n o . 8
on Page 4
With Hefty Adds to Meet Growth Needs Continued on Page 3
Mayor Weighs In on Property Yard Plan
April 4 - 10, 2024
THE EASTER BUNNY must have spilled a very big basket in Falls Church’s Cherry Hill Park last Saturday, because there were plenty of Easter eggs to be found by hundreds of F.C. ‘s younger ones during the City-sponsored event. (Photo: Gary Mester)
News-Press Camps & Schools Guide
Benton Falls Church News-Press by Nicholas F. Benton Falls Church

Where to Find the News-Press On Thursdays

450 W. Broad St. Lobby Building

Anthonys, 3000 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042

Café Kindred, 450 N. Washington St. City Hall. 300 Park Ave.

CVS (Box), 134 W. Broad St.

Don Beyer Volvo, 1231 W. Broad St.

East Falls Church Metro (Box), 2001 N. Sycamore St.

Falls Church City Public Schools, 800 W Broad St.

Falls Church Community Center, 223 Little Falls St.

Falls Church News-Press, 105 N. Virginia Ave.

• Falls Green Apartments, 501 N. Roosevelt Blvd.

4 p's, 105 W. Broad St., Falls Church, VA 22046

• Giant Food, 1230 W Broad St.

• Harris Teeter, 301 W Broad St.

• Harvey’s, 513 W Broad St.

• Hilton Garden Inn, 706 W Broad St.

• Lazy Mikes Deli, 7049 Leesburg Pike

• Lincoln At Tinner Hill Apartments, 455 S. Maple Ave.

• Madison Apartments, 600 N Roosevelt Blvd.

• Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, 7130 Leesburg Pike

• Mary Riley Styles Library, 120 N. Virginia Ave.

• Meridian, High School, 121 Mustang Alley

• Merrill House Apartments, 210 E Fairfax St.

• Modera Founders Row. 110 Founders Avenue.

Original Pancake House, 7395 Lee Hwy, Falls Church, VA 22042

• N Virginia Ave. & W. Broad St. (Box), 105 N. Virginia Ave.

• N. Washington & E. Columbia St., 106 E Columbia St.

• Northgate Apartments (lobby), 450 N. Washington St.

• Northside Social, 205 Park Ave.

• Park Towers Condos, 200 N. Maple Ave.

• Pearson Square Apartments, 410 S. Maple Ave.

• Post O ce, 800 W. Broad St.

• Roosevelt Towers, 500 N. Roosevelt Blvd.

• Professional Building, 313 Park Ave.

• Solace Outpost, 444 W Broad St

• Spectrum, 444 W. Broad St.

• Starbucks, 244 W. Broad St

• The Broadway Apt (in mailroom), 500 W Broad St.

• The Byron Apartments, 513 W Broad St.

• The Broad St Building, 301 W Broad St.

• Verso Founders Row, 105 Founders Row

• West Falls Church Metro (Box), 7040 Haycock Rd.


Plans for F.C. Women’s History Walk Announced

The 2024 Women’s History Walk will be Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park, it was announced this week. Signs honoring key women in the City’s history will be posted around the farmhouse, the barn, the community center, and City Hall. The walk will be held rain or shine.

Given the activity of the farmers market, classes at the community center, visits to the library, league games, and playground fun, organizers expect many people to come over to walk the area and read the signs. A grand marshal ceremony will take place on the front steps of the Cherry Hill farmhouse at noon.

Beyer Automotive to Revive W. Broad Showroom for Kias

Mike Beyer, longtime and ongoing City resident and head of Beyer Automotive on W. Broad in Falls Church, has announced that the prominent but currently vacant former Volvo showroom will soon be reactivated to display a variety of popular Kia models.

Beyer said that his auto business continues to enjoy its best years ever even after the pandemic surge in sales.

Fairfax Economic Development Authority in Deal With S. Korea

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Korea SMEs and Startups Agency co-signed a letter of support and cooperation between the two agencies at FCEDA headquarters in Tysons in February.

More than 60 Korean companies are part

of the dynamic and diverse business community in Fairfax County. In addition to a Koreafocused representative based at its headquarters, the FCEDA has maintained representation in South Korea since 2004 serving as a go-to resource for Korean businesses interested in expanding into the U.S. market.

Facebook Closes News Tab Instead of Paying for Content

Facebook has closed down its news tab as its parent company, Meta, follows through with plans to reduce news content available on its services. The news tab was inaccessible for users in Australia as of Tuesday but the company said it would take a number of days to fully shut it down in Australia and the United States.

The technology giant, which owns Facebook and Instagram, has been criticized by the Australian government and media outlets over its decision to stop paying publishers for news content.

New Compass Coffee Site Now Open on Rt. 29

The regional coffee shop chain Compass Coffee began serving customers this week at its newest location in the Shops at West Falls Church (7393 Lee Highway/Route 29). Visitors on that first day included Falls Church City Mayor Letty Hardi and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

The launch comes just a couple of weeks after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a special exception to allow the cafe, which replaced a BB&T bank. This is the company’s second drive-thru location, joining one in Arlington.

Upcoming Issues Contact: Sue Johnson sjohnson@fcnp.com • 703-587-1282 Senior Living - 4/11 Health & Wellness - 4/18 RE/Home Improvemnet - 4/25 For Advertising

Shields’ Budget Proposal Comes In at a Robust $138 Million

the police department, three additional project managers, two to accommodate the recent reorganization of the City Manager’s office, one in human resources and the remainder conversions to positions that were originally filled with federal American Rescue Act funds, all to accommodate the increased levels of economic activity and population growth), and the rest in the schools.

It proposes for the coming year a single penny reduction in the real estate tax rate to $1.22 per $100 of assessed valuation, and as such would make, if approved, Falls Church the only jurisdiction in the region to accomplish a rate cut this budget cycle. What this means for homeowners in Falls Church is an increase in net tax bills by an average of $271 for the year, or a 2.4 percent increase, due to rising assessed values on homes generated by market factors.

The overall increase in the size of the Falls Church budget includes six percent merit and cost of living increases for City staff, including police personnel, which corresponds to the pay increases proposed for school personnel in the Falls Church City Public Schools’ (FCCPS) portion of the budget as voted by the School Board last month and incorporated as required by law into Shields’ proposal presented Monday.

Shields said Monday his proposed budget includes “provisions for spending and investment in people, processes, infrastructure and strategic initiatives to support a growing community. It strengthens our foun-

dations to support a growing city. It addresses the City Council’s recently adopted Strategic Priorities through investment in people, infrastructure, and process improvements.”

FCCPS Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan, who along with School Board chair Tate Gould, briefed the City Council on the Schools’ share of the budget, said in his monthly letter to parents, “ The School Board adopted a budget that funds key FCCPS initiatives that are part of our five-year Strategic Plan. The budget is in the hands of the City Manager who will present it as part of his proposed budget to City Council on April 1. I know the Board members are looking forward to working with Council members to finish the process. The revenue sharing agreement that’s been guiding our budget planning for the past six years makes this a smooth and collegial process.”

Noonan told the Council Monday that as this marks the sixth consecutive year that schools have proposed a budget that comes within the guidance that the Council laid out in December, it has been made possible largely due to the revenue sharing deal that has taken a lot of the drama out of the annual budget process. In the past lack of such an agreement involved almost guaranteed tugs of war between the City side and school budget requests that were frequently resolved in tension-filled last minute compromises.

Of course, the fact that the City has been awash in new revenues related to its booming economic development also has helped ease things up.

New initiatives in the proposed budget stem from the opportunities and challenges that come with growth, Shields said Examples he cited included funds for enhancements to public safety, growth of the Affordable Housing Fund, neighborhood traffic calming, new sidewalks, technology for improved processes, and opening the Mary Riley Styles Public Library for two additional weekend hours.

The six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) portion of the proposal provides for investment in City schools, parks and fields, library, government facilities, transportation, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure. The six-year CIP totals $191 million, and provides funding for transportation ($83 million), facilities and parks ($57 million), sanitary sewer ($37 million), and stormwater improvements ($14 million).

Shields explained that the CIP relies heavily on federal and state grants and proposes the responsible use of $20 million in the City’s capital reserves over the next six years, aimed at “creating long term value for the City’s taxpayers,” he said.. No new taxpayer-supported debt is anticipated until FY2028.

Debt service obligations will actually decrease 3.4 percent in FY2025 due to normal amortization of outstanding debt. Debt issuance is planned only for the Sanitary Sewer Utility Fund in FY2025.

After tonight’s town hall on the budget, a second will be held at noon on Wednesday, April 20, also at City Hall. The town halls are open to the public both in-person and virtually

(via the City’s website). Public comment is welcomed at the City Council ’s regular meetings, including April 8, April 29, and May 13. The City Council’s work sessions do not allow for public comment but are open to the public: April 1, April 15, and May 6.

Public comments and questions may be sent via email to cityclerk@ fallschurchva.gov.

The Council’s strategic priorities addressed in the proposed budget include environmental sustainability, transportation, economic development, housing and good governance, and the budget plan comes as new construction is booming with 550,000 square feet of new commercial development, including a new office building, a new hotel, two new grocery stores and two new theaters, and 1,585 housing units are under construction, amounting to a 22 per-

cent growth in the city’s housing stock and anticipating a 13 percent growth in projected population by the end of the decade.

Currently the City manages 41 capital projects totaling $62 million, and over the next six years will manage 43 capital projects totaling $191 million.

The breakdown of the projected budget includes $51,419,818 for general government (a 7.9 percent growth), $52,958,920 for the schools (a 7.6 percent growth), $500,000 for affordable housing (a 316 percent growth) and $2,571,856 for the WMATA public transport system (a 64 percent increase).

While the real estate rate is proposed to decline by a penny, there are no changes the personal property or other taxes and a 3.6 percent rate increase in utility fees that are routinely born by developers.

FALLS CHURCH CITY Council member Caroline Lian holds up a copy of City Manager Wyatt Shields’ proposed FY25 budget during a lengthy discussion with her Council colleagues at City Hall Monday night (Photo: News-Press)

value in itself, the economic benefit to the City and its taxpayers could be huge, and could vastly outweigh whatever land the City might have to acquire elsewhere, even if somewhere outside the City, to relocate its Property Yard.

In an interview with the News-Press this week, Mike Beyer, the principal of Beyer Automotive, said he’s not been focused on his years-long work of amassing the property around his business because his car business is booming and taking up all his time. He added that there still remain two small pieces of the land he wants to piece together before it will form one large parcel, even though one of the difficult acquisitions was recently achieved. He said that the fact part of his land assembly spills over into Fairfax County can also open a “can of worms.”

Falls Church’s current plan

to build a large $30 million structure on its land there has been based in part on a past history of difficulty finding an alternate Property Yard site when a search was undertaken years back. However, that effort did not take into account the prospect of connecting the land in question now to the Beyer’s and the enormous added value such a merger would provide. That potential could render the search for an alternative site both more urgent and more lucrative.

In a presentation last month made to the influential NAIOP regional developer organization, in the context of City plans to play host to that organization’s annual bus tour showing off potentials for new development in the region slated for May, Chief Falls Church Planner Paul Stoddard included the so-called “Gordons Road Triangle” in a chapter entitled, “Expanded West End Development.” It sites the potentials for development

of the Hoffman Group’s 9.78 acre West End, of Virginia Tech and Hitt’s 7.52 acres, Federal Realty’s 10.7 acres, WMATA’s 24 acres that it has assigned the EYA company to develop, and the “Gordon’s Triangle’s” 20 acres that subsumes both the Beyer and City Property Yard properties. Throw into that mix for good measure the City Schools’ 26 acre campus home to its Henderson Middle School and Meridian High School.

At whatever point all of those properties could be fully developed, it could be the match of almost anything else in the region, if not potentially closing in on rivaling even Tysons Corner.

All this being said, the fate of the $30 million now included in Falls Church’s proposed CIP for committing the its current Property Yard land for its current non-revenue generating use in perpetuity could become one of the biggest issues in the upcoming budget cycle.

FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM PAGE 4 | APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 Mayor Proposes a ‘More Creative’ Approach to F.C.’s Property Yard Continued from Page 1 The SMILE you want. The attention you deser ve. Currently accepting new patients 703.532.3300 | ww w.dougher tyDDS.com 200 Little Falls Street #506, Falls Church VA 22046 Bestoffc.com Winner A hot bowl of pho at Eden Center. Voted best shopping center in the DMV! Donations Needed - AAUW Book Sale & VPIS Attic Treasures Bazaar Drop marketable books, clothing and linens each Saturday morning 10:30 – 1pm at Old Beyer Volvo Showroom – Gordon Rd – enter by Pig Sculpture. www.FallsChurchArea-VA.AAUW.Net/booksale/ Drop all household items, clothes, Thursday May 2, 10am to 7pm - Community Center back door See www.VPIS.org or ContributeFCh@Gmail.org SALE DAYS Friday, May 3 -10 am -8 pm Saturday, May 4- 9 am-3 pm Falls Church Community Center Gym - 223 Little Falls St • • FINANCING AVAILABLE WITH APPROVED CREDIT Call today and receive a FREE SHOWER PACKAGE PLUS $1600 OFF With purchase of a new Safe Step Walk-In Tub. Not applicable with any previous walk-in tub purchase. Offer available while supplies last. No cash value. Must present offer at time of purchase. CSLB 1082165 NSCB 0082999 0083445 1-877-591-9950 Tell us what you think? Email letters@fcnp.com

Strengthening Our Foundations: Investing in People

General Fund Budget Breakdown

General Fund Expenditures: $138 3m in FY25 Capital Improvements Program (CIP): $191m over FY25 - FY30

Strengthening Our Foundations: Investing in Efficiencies

Continued investment in the City’s workforce

6% merit increase for all civilian employees, a 3% COLA and 3% step increase for uniformed police officers.

$120,000 annually for employee training and professional development.

Increased staffing in Public Safety.

Strengthening Our Foundations: Investing in Infrastructure

Unique opportunities to renew core infrastructure

$1.5 million roadway maintenance investment including street paving, bike lane and crosswalk markings, ADA curb ramps; and traffic signal maintenance. Measures for improved CIP project delivery.

Review the budget, send comments, and see the schedule at fallschurchva.gov/Budget.

New resources and processes to better serve a growing City

Ongoing funding of the City Manager’s Office reorganization for executive support.

Strengthening Our Foundations: Investing in Strategic Initiatives

Focus on affordable housing and public safety Investing in technology to make processes more user friendly.

$500,000 from local sources for the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF).

$500,000 to upgrade security measures across public facilities.

$200,000 in local dollars towards Neighborhood Traffic Calming solutions. Increased Library weekend hours.

The City of Falls Church is committed to the letter and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To request a reasonable accommodation for any type of disability, call 571-221-6103 (TTY 711).

P R O P O S E D B U D G E T S P O T L I G H T FY25

F.C.’s Budget Aims At Amazing Students

It is veritably an “embarrassment of riches” for the City of Falls Church as deliberations have begun on the next government and school operating budgets for the coming FY26 fiscal year that begins this July 1. As reported elsewhere in this edition, the overall budget has swelled to $138.3 million and projected continued growth suggests this is nowhere near abating (when the News-Press started in 1991, the size of the annual budget was around $22 million).

Questions that will be raised between now and when the F.C. City Council votes to formally adopt its new budget in May will center on an unusually high growth of City employees, especially in the police department, and school personnel, which is the main driver of all budgets of this kind everywhere. On that score, we look forward to comparisons of the City’s managed growth with other comparable jurisdictions in the wider region. We are confident that this kind of data will demonstrate just how well the Falls Church government has conducted its affairs as representative of our 15,000 residents and exploding numbers of businesses.

The spectacular economic growth here has been the result of deliberate policies at City Hall over the last more than two dozen years. That growth is now being shown most remarkably in the dense development of the 10 acres adjacent to the new high school at the City’s West End. While there always has and always will be those who object to such growth, who harken back to a fantastical notion of the lazy old days when Falls Church was barely even a village much less a robust “Little City” like it is now, election after election here, including on referenda, has demonstrated that Falls Church’s current path has the support of a solid majority of citizens over decades.

There has been a simple genius here lying behind where we’ve come as an independent jurisdiction, and it is borne out in how pressing for welcomed economic growth has enabled the growth of the City’s absolutely stunning school system that is now a fully integrated preschool through 12th grade International Baccalaureate curriculum-based machine.

We need to be reminded often that the “product” that the booming economy of seemingly little Falls Church delivers to the nation and the world are droves and droves of smart and caring young people with a capacity, individually and collectively, to be globally transformative. If this tough old planet we’re on is going to be capable of making a difference in the cosmos, it will be by systems like Falls Church’s being able to engage in species renewal, such that the old ways of doing things like dependence on fossil fuels, will be effectively eclipsed by the creativity of new upcoming generations. Yes, Falls Church is punching way above its weight class in addressing humanity’s collective challenges to forge a better, more sustainable and contributive globe. In this we are all contributors.


1. Keep the news clean and fair.

2. Play no favorites, never mix business and editorial policy.

3. Do not let the news columns reflect editorial content.

4. Publish the news that is public property without fear or favor of friend or foe.

5. Accept no charity and ask no favors.

6. Give ‘value received’ for every dollar you take in.

On The Killing of WCK Workers in Gaza

During the worst of the pandemic, the World Central Kitchen supported our church in providing hundreds of meals a day to those in need in downtown Washington. We saw first-hand the miracles WCK performs. So, the killing in Gaza of World Central Kitchen workers seems personal and is inexcusable and detestable in the extreme, just as is the killing of other innocent people.

Dave Snyder Editor,

I want to express my appreciation and support for Ms. Roth’s


From October 7.” We cannot fall prey to misinformation when so much is at stake in Israel and Palestine. There is no time to waste on hateful distractions or political co-option. Over 30,000 Palestinians have been murdered and Israeli hostages are in more danger than ever due to their government’s abhorrent military actions. The only way forward to a lasting ceasefire, open and copious humanitarian aid, and a free Palestine is through proactive, effective, and well-informed action. As American citizens we are in a unique position to demand an end to US weapon sales to Israel, force a ground corridor for humanitarian aid in Gaza, and secure the safe release of Israeli hostages.

I encourage my neighbors to follow Ms. Roth’s lead and educate themselves so we can bring an end to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and work towards peace in the region.


EDITORIAL FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM PAGE 6 | APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 Since 1991, an award-winning LGBT-owned general Interest community newspaper. Vol. XXXIV, No. 8 April 4 - 10, 2024 • City of Falls Church ‘Business of the Year’ 1991 & 2001 • • Certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia to Publish Official Legal Notices • • Member, Virginia Press Association • Nicholas F. Benton Owner & Editor-In-Chief nfbenton@fcnp.com Nick Gatz Managing Editor ngatz@fcnp.com Sue Johnson Advertising Sales sjohnson@fcnp.com Brian Reach News Reporter Breach@fcnp.com IN MEMORY Charlie Clark Columnist Ted White Copy Editor Julio Idrobo Circulation Manager delivery@fcnp.com To Contact the News-Press phone: 703-532-3267 fax: 703-342-0347 email: fcnp@fcnp.com display advertising sjohnson@fcnp.com 703-587-1282 classified & Legal ads classads@fcnp.com letters to the editor letters@fcnp.com News & Notes newsandnotes@fcnp.com Obituaries obits@fcnp.com subscriptions distribution & delivery delivery@fcnp.com www.fcnp.com The Falls Church News-Press is published weekly on Thursdays and is distributed free of charge throughout the City of Falls Church and the Greater Falls Church area. Offices are at 105 N. Virginia Ave.., #310, Falls Church, VA 22046. Reproduction of this publication in whole or part is prohibited except with the written permission of the publisher. ©2024 Benton Communications Inc. The News-Press is printed on recycled paper.
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Preaching the ‘Four Freedoms’ on Easter

Easter was a big hit this year at the church

I attend in downtown Washington, D.C., the First Congregational Church, located adjacent to the MLK Library. On top of the special music and first-ever full SRO capacity crowd at the well integrated, recently renovated church, the young, optimistic and articulate relatively new pastor there, the Rev. Amanda Hendler-Voss, delivered a barn burner sermon centered solidly on the troubling times in which we now live, doubly poignant for having been delivered virtually within shouting distance of the White House in the nation’s capital.

She equated the Easter story with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s historic “Four Freedoms” State of the Union speech to Congress that he delivered on January 6, 1941 just as the full horror of yet another “War to End All Wars” was unfolding. It came just after FDR was elected overwhelmingly to an historic third term.

The Four Freedoms as he articulated them are these: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

It made such an impact that many cities across the U.S. erected monuments to those Four Freedoms, including on Roosevelt Island in New York City, and was even the basis for lyrics by Bing Crosby in the 1942 classic film, “Holiday Inn,” remade a decade later as “White Christmas.” They were the subject of collector’s item postage stamps and a series of iconic Norman Rockwell artworks that in 1943 each graced a full interior page of the Saturday Evening Post over a four-month period. The Four Freedoms became embedded in the charter document of the United Nations after the war, and were a central feature of the International Declaration of Human Rights spearheaded by FDR’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt that was drafted in 1948.

So it is safe to say that those

articulated Four Freedoms veritably saturated the entire decade of the 1940s in the U.S., providing enormous morale for the war effort itself and for the peacetime efforts in the war’s aftermath. The most famous of Rockwell’s paintings was his illustration of Freedom from Want, which shows a large family around a Thanksgiving dining table with a huge bird about to be carved.

The Rev. Hendler-Voss applied FDR’s Four Freedoms to her Easter sermon by speaking about the impact such a powerful affirmation and aspiration for life aligns with concepts of hope, with rebirth and death as not having the final word for a nation’s morale and optimism in the face of great peril. The sermon is now posted on YouTube, and deserves a careful listen.

Talking after the service, the Rev. Hendler-Voss and I shared the notion of how difficult it always is to preach an Easter sermon to a progressive and reality-based congregation, especially given that Easter services may be just about the only time all year when so many folks show up at church.

But as the world reels from the nihilistic, narcissistic rants of a man who could become our president again in less than a year, and as the hatred that is allowed to issue forth on the Internet from anonymous sources assails our better natures, it may be that a revival of something as basic and simple as the Four Freedoms can help put such a large portion of our nation back on a better track.

The British rock band Pink Floyd came very close to mimicking the sentiment of the Four Freedoms in its early 1980s album, The Final Cut, dealing mostly with wartime memories. There is a song on it called “The Gunner’s Dream” in which a crashed gunner of a fighter plane contemplates his final moments and dreams of a world at peace, a world defined by simple pleasures, a world defined by the Four Freedoms.

The world has undergone a terrible descent into the kind of madness that tolerates a Trump in this time. It began with the onset of the “me” decade of the 1970s, being the consequence of a massive “anarcho-hedonistic” counteroffensive by the peddlers of hate and anti-democratic authoritarian rule.

Progressive churches had very little to say about what happened then, but hopefully a new voice is beginning to arise now.

A Penny for Your Thoughts News of Greater Falls Church

It’s hard to turn away from the astonishing video of the megacargo ship “Dali” hitting a support pier of the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore Harbor last week. The resulting destruction of the bridge is almost graceful as the span leaps up and then, in mere seconds, settles into the waters of the Patapsco River below, taking with it a crew of men repairing potholes in the middle of the night. The nighttime video is silent, making the scene even more surreal. A video game could not have designed a more fascinating image, especially without something blowing up!

The shock of the accident will reverberate for some time, but the “what ifs” started immediately. What if the support piers were armored? What if more tugboats were utilized in the harbor? What if more vehicles had been on the bridge? What if the bridge had been designed and built differently? What if this was a terrorist attack? That last one, sadly, speaks to what has become normalized in our society. Any kind of incident immediately

conjures conspiracy theories. Let it go! Accidents happen, preventable perhaps, but the blame game almost becomes sport.

The loss of life is tragic. When you leave for work, you expect to come home safely, even in dangerous jobs. The video shows the repair crew vehicles on the span with their hazard lights on. They were following the normal road safety rules for their tasks, but never expected the bridge deck to disappear underneath them. As the search and recovery operation continues, safety must be paramount. There is an enormously dangerous task ahead to remove the ship and the bridge structure from the river, and those crews’ safety must be front and center. No more lives lost.

The Key Bridge accident recalled another, much smaller accident, but with many of the same attributes. In October of 1990, a dredge broke from its moorings in the middle of the night and hit a pier supporting the Oregon Inlet bridge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound come together at

City of Falls Church CRIME REPORT

Week of March 25 — 31, 2024

Residential Burglary, Gibson St, Mar 25, 1:29 AM, resident arrived home and found their previously secured front door open. No intruder was located by officers who searched the residence and the victim stated nothing was missing or stolen.

Shoplifting, S Washington St, Mar 25, 8:58 AM, an unknown suspect took merchandise without paying. The suspect is described as a black male, between 5`7” and 5`9”, 19 to 28 years of age, with long dreadlocks, wearing a multicolor jacket (red, white, and blue), jeans, tennis shoes (black, blue, and white), and large headphones over his ears.

Trespassing, W Broad St, Mar 25, 5:39 PM, a male, 53, of no fixed address, was arrested for Trespassing.

Shoplifting, S Washington St, Mar 25, 11:36 PM, an unknown suspect, described as a Hispanic male, took merchandise without paying.

Shoplifting, S Washington St, Mar 26, 3:12 AM, an unknown suspect took merchandise without paying. The suspect is described as a 6’ black male, wearing a black hoodie and dark pants.

Trespassing, S Washington St, Mar 26, 4:16 PM, a female, 26, of the City of Falls Church, was arrested for Trespassing.

Larceny of Motor Vehicle Parts, Park Ave, between 10 AM and 11:15 AM on March 27, an unknown suspect stole a vehicle’s rear license plate.

Shoplifting, W Broad St, Mar 27, 4:29 PM, an unknown suspect took merchandise without paying. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’ in height, and weighing about 165 pounds, wearing black skinny jeans, black leather jacket, beige hoodie, a medical mask, and black rimmed glasses. Investigation is ongoing.

Larceny from Vehicle, W Broad St, between 11 AM on February 29

the inlet, and dredges are used to keep the channel open for fishing and recreational boating. The accident destroyed a 370-foot long portion of Highway 12, effectively marooning all of Hatteras Island and its many small villages. When the high bridge deck dropped into the water, it also took out all the electrical and telephone lines sustaining the island. There is no video of the accident, but a popular souvenir T-shirt asked “Where were you when the ship hit the span?” No lives were lost, and North Carolina revved up its ferry system to get folks on and off the island, albeit in limited fashion. Hatteras Island took a huge economic hit when access to the island was lost, but the bridge was repaired in about six months, and the next summer beach season was not affected.

That’s not the case, of course, for Baltimore and the entire Eastern Seaboard that depends on the port and the interstate highway system. The loss of the bridge will be felt by residents and businesses for years but, in what I hope is true American fashion, people will come together, find workarounds to reestablish their daily commerce, and support both the clean-up and the rebuilding of the bridge, without rancor or polarization. Crisis can bring out the best, or the worst, in us. So far, it sounds like the former. Let’s keep it that way!

and 12 PM on March 7, an unknown suspect took jewelry from a purse inside a vehicle. Investigation is ongoing. (Delayed report).

Stolen Auto, Roosevelt Blvd, between 5 PM, Mar 28 and 8:30 AM, Mar 29, unknown suspect(s) stole a red 2017 Infiniti Q50 “S”.

Assault, N Virginia Ave, Mar 29, 8:37 PM, a group of four known juveniles in a black Volkswagen GTI were shooting pellets from an Orbeez gun at pedestrians at various locations in the City. Two pedestrians advised officers they were hit but stated they were not injured. Investigation continues.

Shoplifting, W Broad St, Mar 30, 7 p.m., two black males took merchandise without paying. The first suspect was dressed in all black, with a black hat and a black medical mask, and the second male was wearing gray pants, a gray hoodie, a tan color hat, a white medical mask, and white shoes.


‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Brings Back Memories at Ford’s Theatre

“Come to Skid Row for a sci-fi horror comedy, love story, and rock musical that has become one of the most treasured pieces of American musical theatre,” reads the promo at Washington’s historic Ford’s Theatre. In other words, “Little Shop of Horrors,” a 1960 Roger Corman horror comedy film turned OffBroadway musical turned 1980s film based on the Off-Broadway musical, is back! The current splendid production is wonderfully directed by Kevin S. McAllister and pays tribute to all of these “Little Shop” incarnations.

For those new to the work, the plot revolves around a nebbish named Seymour who works at a plant shop. Here he cares for a very odd plant which he has found and nourishes. It seems to grow only when a drop of blood happens to fall into the plant, making it suddenly sprout to life. Seymour is bewildered and indulgent (“I’ll give you a few drops”) but soon realizes that the plant is carnivorous. It does not want light and water but blood and

meat! This horror, which he names Audrey II after the plant shop salesgirl Audrey whom he admires, soon reaches a frightful and gargantuan size. The plant begins to speak and dance, saying (and singing!): “Feed Me!” Its appetite now demands human sacrifices...

Much of this sounds like pure horror, but humor also abounds: Audrey, the object of Seymour’s affections, for instance, comments she met her abusive dentist boyfriend Orin in The Gutter — that is, in a nightspot named The Gutter! The setting, as mentioned, is skid row, and the scenic design of Paige Hathaway is perfect, recalling the 1986 film, while the fashions by costume designer Alejo Vietti bring back to mind the 1960s film. A frightening prop is the dental patient’s chair, but this one is especially sinister looking in a spooky fog.

The role of Seymour, usually played in this production by Derrick D. Truby, Jr., was enacted with excellence by Christopher Mueller in the performance reviewed here. Mr. Mueller is all nerd in an era when the term was not yet known, but in

certain scenes he is forceful, as when protecting Audrey. Audrey is played by Chani Wereley, in beautiful voice in her two renditions of “Somewhere That’s Green.” She duets beautifully with Mr. Meuller in “Call Back in the Morning.” The dentist Orin is well played by Joe Mallon, who must plead for help poignantly while singing and laughing from bursts of his dental nitrous oxide in “Now (It’s Just the Gas).”

Nia Savoy-Dock, Kanysha Williams, and Kaiyla Gross are particular engaging in their respective roles of Chiffron, Crystal, and Ronnette, recreating the early doowop sound with dentist Orin in “Dentist!” Lawrence Redmond is convincing as plant shop owner Mr. Mushnik, particularly in his duet with Seymour in the tango-like “Mushnik and Son” (the two tango not long, for Mr. Mushnik quickly disowns this father-son relationship). Tobias A. Young as the voice of Audrey II chimes in, appropriately, for the tune “Suppertime.”

Crucial for a now-classic musical, the choreography and music direction are handled superbly by Ashleigh King and William Yanesh respectively. Projections of a 1960sera New York skyline, vintage storefronts, and atmospheric recreations of movie horror scenes make this

enjoyable production complete. “Little Shop of Horrors” runs through May 18 at Ford’s Theatre (511 Tenth St. NW, Washington, DC). Visit fords.org for more info.

A Review of ‘Wicked Little Letters’ Movie In Theaters Now

Author William S. Burroughs once wrote that “language is a virus from outer space.” Disregard the “outer space” part for a minute and consider the implications of that idea (because he’s right). Language, while historically a unique benefit to our species, can, in turn, belittle, betray, and destroy. Language has power. This universal tenet is made deliciously and hilariously apparent in 2023’s “Wicked Little Letters,” directed by Thea Sharrock from a screenplay by Jonny Sweet.

Based on a true story, the film follows a scandalous rash of vulgar, anonymous letters plaguing the genteel, seaside town of Littlehampton, England. In a world readjusting itself after the Great War, with both cultural and social upheaval in the air, Sweet’s story pits the prim and proper Edith Swan — an apparent victim of the titular wicked letters — against Rose Gooding, the fiery, independent Irish émigré accused of penning the swear-swathed missives.

Played with equal parts neurotic splendor, vigorous self-hate, and maddening wide-eyed hypocrisy, Olivia Colman dutifully leans on both the terribly loathsome and genuinely sympathetic elements of

Ms. Swan, making for a deliriously contradictory — and splendidly alive — human being.

A homely, God-fearing woman, Swan lives under the domineering roof of her ultra-traditional parents Edward and Victora (Timothy Spall and Emma Jones, respectively), solidifying a resoundingly gray and overbearing trifecta of domestic rigidity. This is the kind of environment in which everyone “knows their place.”

Gooding, who lives just next door with her young daughter and partner, is brought emphatically, vividly, and tenderly to life by Jessie Buckley. Individualistic and unafraid, Gooding is Swan’s polar opposite — the kind of woman Swan could be, if only.

Balancing out her abrasive and “unladylike” behaviors with a deep sense of empathy and parental responsibility, Buckley matches Colman’s artistic excellence nuance for nuance, stroke for stroke. While all of the film’s characters are welldefined in their own unique, small town idiosyncrasies, Gooding is, without a doubt, the story’s crux. She’s the one you root for.

Caught in the middle of this ink-drenched hysteria is the young, soft-spoken, yet determined “woman police officer” Gladys Moss, played by Anjana Vasan. Providing a beguil-

ing, standout performance, Vasan’s Moss is a voice that becomes increasingly important to the proceedings (both figuratively and literally).

Pushed by her conscience and devotion to her late father, also a police officer, Moss soon develops doubts about Gooding’s culpability and embarks on a personal investigation, teaming up with quirky locals Kate (Lolly Adefope), Mabel (Eileen Atkins), and Ann (Joanna Scanlan) to discover the truth behind the letters.

As the anonymous letters reach and shock virtually every resident of sleepy, conservative Littlehampton, Britain as a whole catches the fever and a local scandal soon become a national one. To the movie’s credit, serious social issues are articulated with skill and tact throughout the story, continually reflected in the personal, character-driven plights of the core cast.

Perennially significant issues like women’s suffrage, gender roles, and class disparity are made apparent in a way that positions these elements as already endemic to the world of the story, inextricably interwoven with the film’s overall themes and increasing personal stakes. The filmmakers don’t pander or stoop to platitudes, but they make sure that the bigger picture is seen and considered

— particularly through the lives, actions, and decisions of characters like Swan, Gooding, and Moss.

“Wicked Little Letters” is as charming as it is textured. With a reported budget of $12.6 million, the movie looks and, most importantly, feels great, bolstered in part by its dimly-lit interiors and periodspecific clothes, some of which are worn and tattered or covered in mud — providing both a sense of time and place and a kind of daily realism that is sometimes missing from this kind of movie.

Shot by “The Banshees of Inisherin” cinematographer Ben Davis, Letters employs earthy tones

and drab hues similar to the look and feel of “Banshees,” forming a visage specific to these characters. In fact, a period piece taking place in the 1920s should not look this good or accomplished with a $12.6 million budget, and yet they make it work.

Perhaps one of the film’s greatest victories, though, is the filmmakers’ ability to balance deadpan humor and character drama (with some striking black comedy peppered in for good measure) while never losing focus on story and heart. “Wicked Little Letters” is a true story that is truly well-done. “Wicked Little Letters” is now playing in theaters.

OLIVIA COLEMAN (Edith Swan) and Emma Jones (Victoria Swan) in “Wicked Little Letters.” (Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh. Courtesy Sony Pictures) DERRICK D. Truby Jr. (Seymour) with Nia Savoy-Dock (Chiffon), Kaiyla Gross (Ronnette) and Kanysha Williams (Crystal) in the Ford’s Theatre production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” (Photo: Scott Suchman)

See Pages 10-16

FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 | PAGE 9 2024 Camps & Schools Guide
2024 Camps & Schools Guide

Virginia Bans Legacy Admissions in Public Universities and Col leges

Virginia will end legacy admissions at public universities after Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a bill Friday banning the practice that gives applicants with family ties to alumni a boost.

Under House Bill 48, public universities in the state will be banned from giving preferential treatment to applicants based on their connections to not only alumni but to donors as well. That means universities can also no longer give an advantage to applicants whose relatives make donations to the school. Critics of such preferences have said for years that the century-old practice perpetuates privilege.

The ban will notably affect the University of Virginia and William & Mary, which are among the country’s more selective public universities. Virginia Tech, another prestigious public university, already announced last year that it would no longer take an applicant’s legacy status into account in the admissions process.

The law, which passed unani-

mously in the Virginia House of Delegates and the state Senate this year, will take effect July 1, after admissions decisions have been made for this fall. Youngkin, a Republican, said in a statement in January that he believed “admission to Virginia’s universities and colleges should be based on merit.”

Virginia is the second state to ban legacy admissions, after Colorado, and similar legislation is being considered in New York and Connecticut, among others.

State Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, said he was pleasantly surprised by the bipartisan support for the ban. He said he hoped Virginia’s decision will lead other states to follow suit, which he said would help promote diversity in college admissions.

“It’s kind of an indefensible policy, especially in light of affirmative action being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,” VanValkenburg said in an interview. “There’s a lot of ways you can measure merit, but we know that legacy admissions [are] really not about merit at all.”

The University of Virginia did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.

William & Mary has said in a statement that it does not anticipate the legislation having a significant impact on its admissions process, because the university does not have a separate standard for applicants with legacy status. But data from the school has shown that accepted applicants with the status were more than twice as likely to enroll at the school as other accepted applicants were. The university did not comment beyond referring to the statement.

Legacy admissions have been under renewed scrutiny after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action across colleges and universities in June, banning considerations of race in applications.

The movement to eliminate legacy admissions has received support from both Republicans and Democrats on several levels of government. President Joe Biden has also weighed in, saying such preferences expand “privilege instead of opportunity.”

Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Todd Young, R-Ind., are pushing to

ban the practice at the federal level.

In November, they introduced the Merit-Based Educational Reforms and Institutional Transparency Act, which would establish federal standards for assessing college admissions processes and make considerations of an applicant’s legacy and donor status illegal. The bill is being considered by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

In a joint statement, the senators applauded the new law in Virginia. “Now let’s build off this success and get our bill passed to end legacy and donor admissions preferences nationwide,” Kaine and Young said. “This will promote upward mobility and fairness in the admissions process.”

But critics of such measures argue that there are adverse effects to banning legacy considerations and that minority students could actually benefit from having familial connections in higher education. There are also concerns about the impact on alumni donor relations if legacy admissions are no longer allowed.

This year, an organization of conservative Virginia alumni

known as the Jefferson Council expressed being split on the Virginia legislation.

“We are of two minds,” James A. Bacon, the group’s executive director, wrote in an email. On one hand, he said, intergenerational families tend to be more loyal and generous to the university. “On the other, we support merit-based admissions based on character and academic achievement.” The group did not immediately respond to a request to comment Sunday.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, several selective private schools, including Wesleyan University and New York University, have decided to eliminate legacy preferences. But many elite private colleges, including Harvard, Yale and Brown, have not. The U.S. Department of Education has opened investigations into Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania and their use of legacy preferences.

“Legacy admissions are inherently unfair,” VanValkenburg said, adding that universities that heavily rely on the practice are “distorting what a freshman class looks like.”



@ Brentsville District 8-Apr • 6 p.m.

Manassas Park 11-Apr • 6 p.m.

@ Kettle Run 12-Apr • 6 p.m.

@ Skyline 15-Apr • 6 p.m.

@ Handley 16-Apr • 6 p.m.

@ Fauquier High 22-Apr • 7:00 p.m.

@ James Monroe 25-Apr • 7:00 p.m.

@ Western Albemarle 26-Apr • 7:00 p.m.

Culpeper County 2-May • 7:00 p.m.

@ Wakefield 30-Apr

@ Manassas Park 14-May • 6 p.m.

@ Kettle Run 6-May • 7:00 p.m.

@ Trinity School At Meadow View 9-May

Kettle Run 12-Apr

@ Handley 16-Apr

Kettle Run 6-May

@ Eastern View 10-May

@ Fauquier 19-Apr • 6 p.m. Skyline 23-Apr • 6 p.m.
@ Warren County 25-Apr • 6 p.m.
• 6 p.m. Brentsville District 7-May • 6 p.m. Fauquier 8-May • 6 p.m.
@ Millbrook 16-May • 6 p.m. BOYS LACROSSE @ Alexandria City 9-Apr • 7:15 p.m.
John Handley 11-Apr • 7:15 p.m. Brentsville High 15-Apr • 7:00 p.m.
@ Liberty High 18-Apr • 7:00 p.m.
• 7:00
Away @
Away @
3:45 p.m. Eastern View 13-May
LACROSSE @ Langley
Centerville 13-Apr
9:30 a.m. @ Oakton
Centerville 13-Apr
11:00 a.m. @ Brentsville 15-Apr
7:30 p.m. Liberty 18-Apr
7:30 p.m. @ Fauquier 22-Apr • 6:00 p.m.
James Monroe 25-Apr • 7:30 p.m.
@ Western Albemarle 26-Apr
5:30 p.m.
@ Culpeper County 3-May
7:30 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
7:30 p.m. BOYS SOCCER
Wakefield 5-Apr • 7:00 p.m. Lewis 8-Apr • 7:00 p.m.
• 7:00 p.m.
• 4:30 p.m.
p.m. Skyline 23-Apr • 7:00 p.m. North Stafford 24-Apr • 5:30 p.m.
Warren County 26-Apr • 7:00 p.m. Brentsville District 7-May • 7:00 p.m. Fauquier 8-May • 7:15 p.m.
Manassas Park 14-May • 7:00 p.m.
Millbrook 16-May • 7:15 p.m. GIRLS SOCCER Kettle Run 12-Apr • 7:00 p.m. Handley16-Apr • 7:00 p.m. Fauquier High 19-Apr • 7:15 p.m. @ Skyline 23-Apr • 7:00 p.m. @ North Stafford 24-Apr • 7:15 p.m. Warren County 26-Apr • 7:00 p.m. @ Brentsville High 7-May • 7:00 p.m. @ Fauquier 8-May • 7:15 p.m. Maggie L Walker Governors 10-May • 6:00 p.m. Manassas Park 14-May • 6:00 p.m. Millbrook 16-May • 7:!5 p.m. VARSITY SOFTBALL @ Brentsville 8-Apr • 6:00 p.m. Manassas Park 11-Apr • 6:00 p.m. @ Kettle Run High 12-Apr • 6:00 p.m. @ Skyline 15-Apr • 6:00 p.m. @ John Handley 16-Apr • 6:00 p.m. @ Fauquier19-Apr • 6:00 p.m. Skyline 23-Apr • 6:00 p.m. @ Warren County 25-Apr • 6:00 p.m. @ Alexandria City 30-Apr • 6:00 p.m. Brentsville District 7-May • 6:00 p.m. Fauquier8-May • 6:00 p.m. @ Manassas Park 14-May • 6:00 p.m. @ Millbrook 16-May • 6:00 p.m. CAMPS & SCHOOLS PAGE 12 | APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM Meridian High School 2024 Spring Sports Schedules
Indicates an Away Game
@ Fauquier 19-Apr • 7:15
CAMPS & SCHOOLS FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 | PAGE 13 KiPS KamP www.kipsfamily.com • 703-891-1514 • 7395-C Falls Church, VA 22042 Scan For More Information KiPS KamPs run weekly from June 17th- August 23rd Includes Artistic Gymnastics Instruction & Skill-building Weekly Themes w/ Coach-led Games, Crafts, & Free Play Tons of active and creative fun Ages 6 and up • 9am-3pm Ages 4-5 • 9am-12pm Sign up for 3 or more weeks and get 20% off! CATCH UP, KEEP UP, OR GET AHEAD THIS SUMMER! During the summer, many students lose 2.5 months of the math computational skills they learned during the school year. Customized Mathnasium "Summer Workouts" At Mathnasium, summer programs are all about preventing summer learning loss and helping students prepare for what lies ahead. For some students, that means a solid review of previous material. Others benefit from previewing upcoming concepts. Flexible Visits Set your own summer schedule and drop in on the days you choose! Summer Game Time Enjoy fun games for each age level during each session ... because it's SUMMER! Mini-Camps Multiplication and Equations Camps coming to you monthly. Summer Fun Nights Math Fun Game Nights Every Friday with Pizza and Prizes. Thursday,ClosedJuly 4th Have a camp or school you want to advertise? Contact us to nd out about our great rates on print and web advertising. Email: Sjohnson@fcnp.com
News-Press School News & Notes PAGE 14 | APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 CAMPS & SCHOOLS
THE MERIDIAN HIGH School band performed at Carnegie Hall last week in New York City. (Photo: FCCPS) SEVERAL STUDENTS will represent Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School at MathCON in Chicago next month. (Photo: FCCPS) THE MERIDIAN GIRLS Soccer Team is 2-2 on the season after picking up a win over Osbourn Park in the days leading up to Spring Break. Their next game will be at home on April 9. (Photo: Cayce Ramey)
Check out more School News & Notes pictures and stories online at fcnp.com FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM
BELOVED CUSTODIAN Supervisor Edward Molina passed away suddenly on March 25. FCCPS is coordinating donations to the family at fcedf.org/donate. (FCCPS Photo)
STUDENTS EXPLORED the outdoors and learned about energy and energy sources at Acton Academy. (Photo: Courtesy of Acton Academy Falls Church) MERIDIAN’S DEBATE TEAM is heading to the Metro Finals, with four teams of two qualifying to compete. (Photo: Sheri Phillips) THE MERIDIAN ROBOTICS Team earned the Sustainability Award at the FIRST Robotics competition. (Photo: Carol Sly) THE CHERRY HILL Farmhouse & Barn is seeking student volunteers to assist during Open House Season. (FCCPS Photo) STUDENTS WRAPPED UP their “La Louisiane Francophone” unit by creating mardi-gras masques. (FCCPS Photo)

3 Reasons To Become A Camp Counselor

CAMPS & SCHOOLS PAGE 16 | APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM Children aged 3 through 8th grade are invited to join us for a memorable summer at our beautiful Old Town theater. Now in its 16th year, LTA is the premier Alexandria location for performing arts summer camps, featuring Acting; Musical Theater; Shakespeare; Improvisation; Playmaking; and a variety of specialty themed camps. Camps are full-day, or morning/afternoon only. Extended day options are also available. 703-683-5778 x2 For online registration go to: thelittletheatre.com/education
I have seen my kiddo gain confidence, but more importantly, she has had so much fun.” A limited number of partial scholarships are made possible through the generosity of The LTA Council available to students. However, not all of them offer the same ben efits. Here are three great reasons to become a summer camp counselor.
Ask your child to make the Unless there’s only one camp that meets your requirements and matches your child’s interests, make a list of possible choices. Invite your kid to make the final

Community News & Notes

Inthrive Film Festival Coming to Arlington April 14

Inthrive Film Festival, the only film festival to celebrate the voices and skills of people who have survived incarceration, will be on April 14, from 12:00 p.m. — 5:00 p.m. at Van Metre Hall at GMU’s Mason Square campus in Arlington.

The festival will screen films by previously incarcerated filmmakers from around the United States. There will be two panels featuring filmmakers and directly impacted people from Virginia and Washington, DC. Additionally, there will be art displays and spoken word performances by incarceration survivors who are still behind bars. Participants can also get connected with nearly two dozen community organizations, businesses, and more through the Community Partners resource fair.

“So many people think that once you’ve been incarcerated you don’t have anything to contribute. This festival changes that narrative by celebrating the work and voices of people who have not only survived incarceration but have found ways to thrive,” said David Smith, founder and Festival Director of the Inthrive Film Festival. “As someone who has been incarcerated I’ve experienced first hand the harmful effects that this powerful negative narrative has on people who have changed. This festival is a place where everyone can come and hear the stories and see the talents of folks who have survived prison or jail. If you have been locked up I hope you leave inspired and connected. If you’ve never been then I hope you have a greater empathy for justice-impacted people and an understanding of the steps you can take to remove barriers to successful reentry.”

Free tickets can be reserved at InthriveFilmFestival.org. The Festival is supported by the generous donations of individual donors and corporate sponsors and is presented in partnership with OAR, OARNOVA, Listen Out Loud Media, The Forty Strong, and The Humanization Project. If you’d like to make a donation to support the festival contact Festival Director David Smith at Info@InthriveFilmFestival.org

Additional festivals will be held in the Emporia, VA, area this summer and in Richmond, VA, on October 19.

Tudor Place Unveils Revitalized Mower House on April 12

Tudor Place Historic House & Garden will be unveiling the revitalized mower house with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, April 12. The celebration recognizes improvements made to this service building, including space and utility upgrades to increase grounds work efficiency and support sustainability efforts. As part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, artifacts related to long-time gardener, John Luckett, who worked at the site for forty-four years from 1862 to 1906, will be on display.

The life and work of John Luckett is also on view to visitors during the Ancestral Spaces: People of African Descendant of Tudor Place, a special installation and guided tour.

The Mower House, located on the South Lawn, provides extra space for garden tools and equipment. The revitalization includes the addition of a natural gas generator to provide backup power for systems throughout the site. This renovation is a key part of Tudor Place’s Master Preservation Plan. The Plan provides a blueprint for the preservation of the landmark architecture, the conservation of extraordinary collections and the care of heritage landscapes, while supporting the organization’s educational mission and enhancing the experience of visitors.

The project was funded through support from the DC Commission of the Arts & Humanities. Plans for the project were developed by a design team led by Hartman-Cox Architects. The general contractor for the Mower House was The WhitingTurner Contracting Company. Renovation began in October 2023.

Air and Space Museum to Host Solar Eclipse Festival April 8

The museum will host the “Solar Eclipse Festival on the National Mall” in Washington, D.C. This event, presented in collaboration with other Smithsonian museums, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, will run from 12:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.

The eclipse will be visible in the Washington, D.C., area between 2:04 p.m. and 4:34 p.m. Maximum eclipse will be at 3:20 p.m., with the

sun 87 percent covered by the moon. Festival attendees will be able to participate in many activity stations and view the sun using a variety of safe telescopes. Stations include activities such as creating pinhole art that showcases the unique shadows made by the eclipsed sun, connecting with the ways humans have understood and responded to eclipses throughout history and virtually travel to anywhere in North America and see how the eclipse will look.

Solarize NoVA Celebrates a Decade in Northern Virginia

Over the past 10 years, Solarize NoVA has helped 913 homeowners make the switch to solar power in Northern Virginia. This cost-effective program streamlines the process of harnessing the sun’s rays for local homeowners.

“NVRC is proud of the success of its Solarize NoVA program and pleased to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the launch of this important renewable energy program. To date, Solarize NoVA has resulted in 8.5 MW of solar energy offsetting 9,100 tons of carbon pollution annually. We are pleased to work with LEAP, our local government colleagues, and local solar installers to bring this most successful program to our residents and business community,” said NVRC chairman and City of Alexandria Council member John T. Chapman.

“Making the switch to solar can be challenging for a number of reasons,” said LEAP co-executive director Katie VanLangen. “Whether it’s because the quotes are complicated, they don’t know who to trust, or the upfront cost is daunting, it can be overwhelming. We’re here to be a trusted partner and a guiding hand.”

By switching to solar energy now, Virginians can minimize their carbon footprint, reduce utility bills, and protect themselves from future rate increases.

Interested homeowners and businesses can sign up for this annual program and receive a free solar satellite assessment until June 30.

Signing up is free and requires no commitment until you sign a contract with an installer.

Visit solarizenova.org for more information. Informative webinars are also available and free to attend at solarizeva.org/events.

ALL AROUND F.C., City staff are placing signs to remind motorists of the new lower speed limit now being enforced. (Photo: Shaun VanSteyn) TUDOR PLACE unveils a newly-revitalized mower house with a ribbon cutting on Friday. (Photo: Tudor Place Historic House & Garden) THE NEWS-PRESS’s NICHOLAS F. Benton enjoyed lunch on Monday at The Falls with former F.C. Vice Mayors Lindy Hockenberry and Hal Lippman. (News-Press Photo)



Snapology and Acton Academy F.C. Event

Acton Academy presents a fun family event where parents and children will enjoy several different activities with a focus on robotics, coding, engineering, creative aspects and more. Hosted by Snapology and Acton Academy Falls Church. Suitable for ages 4-14. Free to attend. Acton Academy Falls Church (513 W. Broad St., Falls Church), 5:00 p.m. — 6:30 p.m.


Town Hall Meeting #1

City staff will present the proposed budget and answer questions from attendees inperson and virtually through Microsoft Teams at tinyurl. com/FCNP0324th. Open to the public. All budget documents and meeting videos will be posted to fallschurchva. gov/budget. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Council Chambers/ Court Room, Falls Church), 7:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.


First Friday LGBTQ+ Social

A free to attend monthly social bringing together LGBTQ+ people from all over the DMV. In the Westin hotel. The Commentary (801 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, VA), 7:00 p.m.


Falls Church Farmers Market

Shop the award-winning market every Saturday, yearround! City Hall Parking Lot (300 Park Ave., Falls Church), 8:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.

Cherry Hill Ice Cream Social

Cherry Hill celebrates the start of its open house season with some family fun, with yard games, tours, and ice cream. Learn how ice cream was made in the 1800s. Free, no registration re-

quired. Cherry Hill Farmhouse (312 Park Ave., Falls Church), 10:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.

Tinner Hill Historic District Pop-Up

The City's Planning Department hosts the second of two pop-up opportunities to learn about the proposed Tinner Hill District and engage with the Planning team. Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 N. Virginia Ave., Falls Church), 10:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.

Clothing, Linens and Books Drive

Collecting books, clothing and linens for the F.C. Village Improvement Society Attic Treasure Bazaar and the American Association of Women Book Sale

May 3 and 4. All other donations see vpis.org. Drop offs are by the "Pig Sculpture" on Gordon Rd. Donations accepted every Saturday. Old Beyer Volvo Showroom (1231 W. Broad St., Falls Church), 10:30 a.m. — 1:00 p.m.

American Festival Pops: American Icons

Presenting the soundtrack of our great nation, the American Festival Pops Orchestra performs a

concert of iconic works by some of America’s greatest composers including Leroy Anderson, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, John Philip Sousa, and John Williams. The program features Artistic Director and Maestro Peter Wilson, as well as special guests throughout the evening. Learn more at hylton.calendar. gmu.edu. Hylton Performing Arts Center (10960 George Mason Cir., Manassas, VA), 8:00 p.m.


Women's Memorial Living Legend Award

Kensington F.C. invites the community to a special presentation of the Military Women's Memorial Living Legend Award, an honor the Military Women's Memorial will present to resident Louise Terwilliger. Free with RSVP at thekensingtonfallschurch.com. The Kensington Falls Church (700 W. Broad St., Falls Church), 11:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m.

A Conversation with State Senator Salim

The Library and the League of Women Voters-Falls Church invite the community to join a conversation with state Senator Saddam Salim. The General Assembly is considering numerous high-priority issues during the current legislative session in Richmond. Sen. Salim will provide a recap of important decisions, as this event will take place after the legislative session is scheduled to close. Join to learn about the legislative session and how any new legislation will affect people across the state. Bring questions about issues on your mind for a Q&A session. Free and open to the public. Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 N. Virginia Ave., Lower Level Conf. Rm., Falls Church), 2:00 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.

Webster's B***h

When their Editor-in-Chief gets caught using some unexpected profanity, the employees of Webster’s Dictionary

find themselves at the center of an internet uprising over gender and obscenity in the age of social media. As office politics collide with ambition, morality, and lexicography, the future of the English language hangs in the balance. A comedy about vulgar words and the people who define them. On stage through May 5. Tickets at keegantheatre.com. Keegan Theatre (1742 Church St. NW, Washington, DC), 3:00 p.m.

(the) Unruly Theatre Project

Enjoy a night of laughs with (the) Unruly Improv, Alden Theatre's professional teen improv company dedicated to bringing comedic performances to the community. Free and open to the public. McLean Old Firehouse Center (1440 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, VA), 4:00 p.m. — 5:00 p.m.


MRSPL Used Book Sale

Saturday through Monday, check out the MRSPL Used Book Sale. Preview sale Friday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Held roughly every other month. Get great bargains on books, compact discs, and DVDs for all ages. Proceeds support library programs and services. Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 N. Virginia Ave., Upper Floor Conf. Rm., Falls Church), 10:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.

Partial Solar Eclipse

The region experiences a partial solar eclipse, peaking at 3:20 p.m. with 87.61 percent obscuration. Ensure proper protective eye gear before viewing. F.C. area skies (all over, Falls Church), 2:04 p.m. — 4:33 p.m.

Pinwheel Garden Planting

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. Join the City of Falls Church for a Pinwheel Garden Planting in rec-

PAGE 18 | APRIL 4 - 10, 2024
THE AMERICAN FESTIVAL Pops Orchestra performs the soundtrack of our great nation in "American Icons," this Saturday at GMU's Center for the Arts. (Courtesy Photo)


ognition. More at fallschurchva. gov. Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave., Falls Church), 7:00 p.m.


Legislative Committee Meeting

Legislative Committee meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Oak Room, Falls Church), 8:30 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

Housing Commission Meeting

Housing Commission meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Dogwood A-B, Falls Church), 6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.

Economic Dev. Authority Meeting

Economic Development Authority meets. Viget Offices (105 W. Broad St., 5th Floor, Falls Church), 7:00 p.m. — 10:00 p.m.

FCCPS School Board Meeting

School board meeting for Falls Church City Public Schools. The public is invited to attend. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Council Chambers/Court Room, Falls Church), 7:00 p.m. — 10:00 p.m.


Solid Waste Mgmt. Plan

Adv. Cmte. Meeting

Solid Waste Management Plan

Advisory Committee meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Oak Room, Falls Church), 11:30 a.m. — 1:00 p.m.

Recreation and Parks

Adv. Board Meeting

Advisory Board of Recreation and Parks meets. Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St., 2nd Floor Art Room, Falls Church), 7:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.

Citizens Transportation Adv. Cmte. Meeting

Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Dogwood A-B, Falls Church), 7:00 p.m.

Architectural Advisory Board Meeting

Architectural Advisory Board meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Council Chambers/ Court Room, Falls Church), 7:30 p.m. — 10:30 p.m.

City Council Meeting

City Council hears a first reading on the proposed budget ordinance, tax rates, and Capital Improvements Program (CIP), with public comment opportunity. City Council meets the second and fourth Monday of the month, except August and December when one meeting is held. The public may address the City Council on any topic by signing up at fallschurchva.gov/publiccomment. View the meeting live or on-demand at fallschurchva.gov/CouncilMeetings or on FCCTV. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Council Chambers/ Court Room, Falls Church), 7:30 p.m. — 11:00 p.m.


APRIL 11 Chamber Networking Breakfast

Stop by for an informal gathering to meet fellow Chamber members. No agenda and no cost other than the cost of your breakfast. The Original Pancake House (7395 Lee Hwy., Falls Church), 8:00 a.m. — 9:00 a.m.

Chicks In Heaven

When four hippy friends come together in a rural southern Virginia town for a 30th year reunion, it's a happy gathering filled with remembrances and

ritual. But when a local boy sets fire to a van, clashes magnify and challenge old declarations of magic and friendship. At its heart a tale of reconciling differences, "Chicks" begs the question, can women finally come together to fight both racism and misogyny at the same time? Tickets at creativecauldron.org. Creative Cauldron (410 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church), 7:30 p.m.

YOUR EVENT HERE! Submit Your Own Calendar Events! Want us to include your event in next week's Calendar? Email your event title, description, date and times to calendar@ fcnp.com by noon on Tuesday each week, and we'll do our best to include it in our issue! Submission does not guarantee inclusion, as space is limited each week. Share your press releases and pictures from events with newsandnotes@fcnp.com. CALENDAR FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 | PAGE 19
SOLAR ECLIPSE WATCHERS enjoy safe viewing during a 2019 eclipse in Argentina. On Monday afternoon Falls Church will experience an 87.61 percent partial eclipse. (Photo: Maria Amasanti/The New York Times)

Board Aurora House Citizens’ Advisory Committee Board of Equalization Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Transportation City Employee Review Board Historical Commission Library Board of Trustees Public Utilities Commission Retirement Board Urban Forestry Commission Regional Boards/Commissions


CHURCH (51-117-002) 6947 N FOUR

(51-116-042) 6935


CHURCH (51-101-012) 214 W JEFFERSON ST (51-101-010) 114 W

ST (51-101-019) 537 N WASHINGTON ST (53-101-120) GRESHAM PL (52-205-017) 402 TIMBER LN (53-101-073) 500 E JEFFERSON ST (53-101-005) 507 E COLUMBIA (52-402-039) 219 W CAMERON RD (53-208-014) 613 E COLUMBIA (52-312-100) 410 S MAPLE AVE

City Council action would remove the following properties to the floodplain district on June 6, 2024: (52-106-007) 1013 KENNEDY ST (52-608-030) 310 KENT ST (52-608-029) 309 KENT ST (52-608-028) 308 KENT ST (52-608-005) 600 RANDOLPH ST (52-206-025) 139 LEA CT (52-206-054) 212 S OAK ST (52-302-281) 146 REES PL (52-602-020) 519 S SPRING ST (52-602-019) 521 S SPRING ST (52-302-276) 156 REES PL (52-302-036) 211 S LEE ST (52-302-012) 422 SHERROW AVE

All Planning Commission public hearings will be held in the Council Chambers, 300 Park Avenue, Falls Church, Virginia. Remote participation information at www.fallschurchva.gov/ planningcommission. Comments may also be sent to jtrainor@fallschurchva.gov. For copies of legislation, contact the City Clerk’s office at (703-248-5014) or cityclerk@fallschurchva.gov or visit www.fallschurchva.gov/councilmeetings. The City of Falls Church is committed to the letter and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To request a reasonable accommodation for any type of disability, call 703-248-5014 (TTY 711).

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of Virginia’s policy for achieving equal housing opportunity throughout the Commonwealth. We encourage and support advertising and marketing programs in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status or handicap. All real estate advertised herein is subject to Virginia’s fair housing law which makes it illegal to advertise “any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status or handicap or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.” This newspaper will not knowingly accept advertising for real estate that violates the fair housing law. Our readers are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised in this newspaper are available on an equal opportunity basis. For more information or to file a housing complaint call the Virginia Fair Housing Office at (804) 3678530. Toll free call (888) 5513247. For the hearing impaired call (804) 367-9753.

PUBLIC NOTICE PUBLIC NOTICE The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) of the City of Falls Church, Virginia will hold a public hearing on April 11, 2024 at 7:30 PM in the Council Chambers, located at 300 Park Avenue, for consideration of the following item: a. Robert Agarwal, owner and appellant, requests to present “new evidence” regarding appeal application A1647-24 previously denied by the BZA on March 14, 2024 to determine a re-hearing based on said “new evidence” at 1014 Fowler Street, RPC#52-110-006 of the Falls Church Real Property Records, zoned R-1A, Low Density Residential District. Public comment and questions may be submitted to zoning@fallschurchva.gov until 4:30 pm on April 11, 2024. Agenda and application materials will be available the week prior to the scheduled hearing at: http://www.fallschurchva.gov/BZA Information on the above application is also available for review upon request to staff at zoning@fallschurchva.gov. Volunteers who live in the City of Falls Church are needed to serve on the boards and commissions listed below. Contact the City Clerk’s Office (703-248-5014, cityclerk@fallschurchva.gov, or www.fallschurchva.gov/BC) for an application form or more information. Positions advertised for more than one month may be filled during each subsequent month. Architectural Advisory
Care Coordinating Council Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Commission Virginia Career Works Northern Region Ad Hoc Committee Sold Waste Management Plan Advisory Committee: This Committee will advise the City Council in the development of the City’s 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan. This committee sunsets on July 30, 2024. NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING PLANNING COMMISSION CITY OF FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA The following was given first reading at the March 11, 2024 City Council meeting. A public hearing and possible Planning Commission recommendation to City Council is scheduled for Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at 7:30 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard. (TO24-02) ORDINANCE TO REPEAL IN ITS ENTIRETY CHAPTER 48 “ZONING,” ARTICLE IV “DISTRICTS,”, DIVISION 14 “FLOODPLAIN DISTRICT,” OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH; TO ENACT A NEW CHAPTER 48 “ZONING,” ARTICLE IV “DISTRICTS,” DIVISION 14 “FLOODPLAIN DISTRICT;” AND TO AMEND THE ZONING MAP OF THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH TO MEET THE FLOODPLAIN STANDARDS AND BOUNDARIES SET BY THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY AND THE NATIONAL FLOODPLAIN INSURANCE PROGRAM This action would be a recommendation by the Planning Commission to City Council on an amendment to the floodplain district regulations of the Zoning Code and the floodplain district boundaries of the Zoning Map to meet the floodplain standards and boundaries set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Floodplain Insurance Program (NFIP). City Council action would add the following properties to the floodplain district on June 6, 2024:
Continuum of Care Board
Area Commission on
Long Term
6936 N 36TH ST
6933 N 26TH ST FALLS
FOR SALE Two gravesites w/vaults for sale. “Lilac” section of National Memorial Park Cemetery, Falls Church, VA. Current total price for both $8,995. Sale price $4,995. Call 571-306-0097 or paphipps@plexar.net AUCTIONS Marina Auction. 5.29 AC - Deepwater Access - Income Producing. Online Auction April 25th @ 2:00 PM. 107 Dockside Dr, Deltaville, VA 23043. DudleyResources.com for info Commercial Foreclosure Auction. 341 E. Market St. Leesburg, VA 20176. 2,719 sq ft Income Producing, Long Term Tenant. Live Auction April 11th 11:00 AM at Loudoun Co Courthouse. DudleyResources.com for info ATTN. AUCTIONEERS: Advertise your upcoming auctions statewide and in other states. Affordable Print and Digital Solutions reaching your target audiences. Call this paper or Landon Clark at Virginia Press Services 804-521-7576, landonc@vpa.net FISH/FARMS Live Fish for stocking ponds. Many varieties available. Delivery to your pond or pickup available. 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Live Music by D.J. TANNR

Refreshments by Clare and Don’s Beach Shack a Photo Wall, LGBTQ+ Orgs, Rainbox Swag ...and more!

Tickets now on sale at prideprom.org!

Students who attend NOVA Pride Prom receive 50% o tickets to Safe Space NOVA’s Pride Prom: Upside Down on May 31!

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The LGBTQ+ Reach

J.K., J.K., no L.O.L.

“Harry Potter” series author and nearly (if not) billionaire J.K. Rowling is once again disappointing a generation of fantasy-loving Millennials with her anti-Trans hate speech on X (formerly Twitter), this time in response to a new law that went into effect in Scotland extending the existing “stirring up racial hatred” law to criminalize “stirring up hatred against a group of persons,” which the law notes includes age, disability, race/color/ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity, and variations in sex characteristics.

“I hope every woman in Scotland who wishes to speak up for the reality and importance of biological sex will be reassured by this announcement, and I trust that all women — irrespective of profile or financial means — will be treated equally under the law.” Rowling’s most recent tweet, posted Tuesday after Police Scotland said they were not taking action against the author, though they did say complaints had been received that her tweets violate the new law’s crime of “stirring up hatred” relating to protected characteristics.

The law, called the “Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act,” was approved in March 2021, but did not come into effect until Monday. As mentioned above, it takes a previous law criminalizing “stirring up racial hatred,” and adds a new crime of “stirring up hatred” against additional groups, including Transgender individuals.

Rowling is one of the more prominent conservatives spreading a host of antiTrans propaganda and disinformation in opposition to the new law. Notably, this appears to follow a pattern of trying to portray Trans rights as a threat or barrier to the rights of cisgender women. A primary complaint is that the law, though extending “new” protections to a host of groups, does not protect women.

Predictably, this “fact” is actually a red herring, as the law was never intended to create “new” protections. The law was introduced after an independent review of existing hate crime laws recommended they be consolidated into a single law. The bill passed with strong support across parties.

One does not have to scroll far (or at all) to see Rowling’s obsession with denigrating Trans people, portraying herself as a defiant feminist, frequently posting or sharing anti-Trans content — specifically anti-Trans women content — implying or outright stating that they are any combination of violent, misogynistic, cross-dressing men… whose rights, they suggest, are a direct threat to the safety and rights of women.

“If you genuinely imagine I’d delete posts calling a man a man, so as not to be prosecuted under this ludicrous law, stand by for the mother of all April Fools’ jokes.” Rowling tweeted ahead of the April 1 enforcement date.

But Scotland Isn’t America, Right?

In America, speech is protected under the first amendment. There are many exceptions — you can’t defame someone through written or verbal communication, threaten somebody, conspire to commit a crime, use “fighting words,” or use language that is extremely sexual or patently offensive, to name a few — but the exceptions are only enforced under strict conditions.

One could argue that allowing repeated public claims, especially when broadcasted, that LGBTQ+ people are some sort of evil — that their rights are a threat to society, or that they are unnatural, engaged in recruiting, or prone to violate or harm children — constitutes defamation.

I don’t expect we’ll see a “stirring up hatred” crime in America — at least not like they have in Scotland — because our legal system tends to err on the side of freedom, especially when it comes to individual speech. Regardless of this discrepancy, the nature of the LGBTQ+ progress in Scotland runs parallel to the progress we’ve seen in the U.S., and elsewhere in the world, relative to each country’s existing legal framework. In this case, the Scotland hate crime law, previously limited to racial hatred, was combined with other hate crime laws to now include all protected groups.

Conservatives seemed prepared for a “Battle Royale” this week — a telling assumption on their part — hyping up fever dreams of a coming “Kristallnacht” where a mob of genderless leftists round them up to answer for their crimes against “woke” ideals, now that “stirring up hate” is illegal in Scotalnd. Despite Rowling’s attempted self-martyrdom, Police Scotland announcing they are not taking action against Rowling for her Tweets just further disproves the narrative that opponents of LGBTQ+ equality are being somehow oppressed by progress.

Reminder: NOVA Pride Prom April 27!

Tickets are on sale now at PrideProm.org for the 2024 NOVA Pride Prom, April 27 at the Falls Church Community Center!

This event, exclusive to High School students in the DMV, is an opportunity for LGBTQ+ students (and allies) to enjoy a traditional Prom experience as their authentic selves, without fear or reservation. Spread the word to all the teachers, parents, and students you know! The last NOVA Pride Prom was attended by over 400 students from 40+ high schools.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Visa, GLSEN Northern Virginia, and with live music by DJ TANNR, kosher/ passover friendly refreshments by Clare and Don’s Beach Shack, this year’s Pride Prom will be a night to remember!

NOVA Pride has also parnered up with Safe Space NOVA to provide two incredible LGBTQ+ teen events to the region. Students who attend NOVA Pride Prom will receive a 50 percent discount on tickets to Safe Space NOVA’s “Pride Prom: Upside Down,” May 31 in Alexandria!

Falls Church Business News & Notes

Development in Northern Virginia

This afternoon, Andrew Painter will give a presentation on the Development History of Northern Virginia. The Rise of the Region Lecture is presented by the Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship at the Costello College of Business. The event will be held at George Mason University, Mason Square Campus, in Van Metre Hall in Arlington. Painter is a shareholder with Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh PC.

The lecture will examine how the residential communities developed from the early settlement of Arlington to postwar communities in Fairfax, to the establishment of large-scale communities in western Fairfax and the expansive planned unit developments in Loudoun and Prince William, and then consider the lessons learned as we develop the region’s future.

The program is free and details are found at tinyurl.com/FCNP0424n1

Compass Coffee Is Now Open

Compass Coffee surprised commuters with a soft opening on Monday, April 1 and drew a lot of business. The new coffee shop opened in the former BB&T Branch in The Shops at West Falls Church with two drive-thru lanes, one for in-person orders and the other for online and mobile pick-ups. The café serves hot and cold beverages and breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

This is the second Compass Coffee location to serve paninis.

The grand opening of Compass Coffee (7393 Lee Hwy., Falls Church) will be tomorrow, Friday, April 5, starting at 5:00 a.m.

Virginia Board of Education Listening Sessions

The Virginia Board of Education is holding a series of eight listening sessions across the Commonwealth in an effort to provide greater transparency and awareness of school performance and student outcomes. The Board invites feedback from business leaders on this framework. The local regional session will be held Thursday, April 4, 6:00 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. at Innovation Elementary School (8250 Ashton Ave., Manassas, VA).

For more details on the Virginia Board of Education discussion and actions on the accountability reform, please visit the Board of Education Discussion and Actions on Accountability Reform webpage at tinyurl.com/FCNP0424n2.

Registration for the Listening Sessions is available at tinyurl.com/FCNP0424n3.

Alternatively, you can send your thoughts on the framework directly to the Board via email or letter to boe@doe.virginia.gov by April 19.

SBDS Webinar Teaches to Prepare Your Pitch

The Mason Small Business Development Center, SBDC, is hosting a webinar on April 10, 10:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. that will guide business owners through a step-bystep process of building a business briefing that is invaluable to startups, early stage companies, and those looking to grow.

Participants will learn the five scenarios in the life of a business where the briefing is needed and how to use it in each case, insight and answers for improvement, and how to develop an outline as the basis of a Storyboard.

The session is free and more information is available at tinyurl.com/FCNP0424n4.

 Business News & Notes is compiled by Elise Neil Bengtson, Executive Director of the Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce. She may be emailed at elise@fallschurchchamber.org.

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FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM PAGE 24 | APRIL 4 - 10, 2024 Beyer Volvo Cars of Falls Church Matt Earman Matt@EarmanRealEstate.com (703)328-4563 Chris Earman Member NVAR Residential Top Producer Club Weichert, RealtorsChairman of the Board Club (703) 628-4541 Chris@EarmanRealEstate.com Your Local Falls Church Realtor • 703-760-8880 • Falls Church/McLean If you are looking to Buy, Sell, or Rent in 2024 please call Chris or Matt for a No Obligation consultation. Member: NVAR Residential Top Producer Club Weichert, Realtors - Ambassadors Club Amazing Expanded/Remodeled Split Level with tons of natural sunlight, Spacious 4BR/3.5 BA home w/ Wood Floors and approximately 3,600 sq ft of living space on a fantastic 1/4 acre lot. Lower levels provide an excellent opportunity for "In-Law Suite" w/ separate Kitchen, 4th Bedroom, office/den, bathroom, laundry & Rec room w/ Gas Fireplace (plus room for Dining table). Fenced backyard features a large "Entertainer's Dream" private yard & Tiered Tuscan terrace, w/ rustic stone wall & beautiful water feature, plus the upper tier has a large flat yard. Falls Church City Schools, or you can choose Arlington County Schools. Less than 3/4 mile to East Falls Church Metro Station (Orange & Silver Lines), w/ easy access to Major Roadways (I-66, I-495, Routes 50, 29 & 7). Offered at $1,395,000 Brick Tudor located in an idyllic setting in a quiet neighborhood, and loaded w/ character throughout. 3BR/3.5BA w/ main level Primary Bedroom Suite w/ vaulted ceiling. Beautiful Kitchen w/ Cathedral ceiling & amazing natural sunlight, opens to private courtyard patio. Formal Dining & Living Rooms, plus Den/Study w/ outdoor deck. Hardwood flooring, knotty pine walls & wood burning fireplaces. Only a mile to East Falls Church Metro Station. Offered at $1,275,000 Spacious Brick Home in a quiet neighborhood only about a mile to Vienna Metro Station. 4BR/3BA Split Foyer home with over 2,500 sq ft of living space. Main Level features Large Living Room w/ Gas Fireplace, Kitchen, & Dining Room opening to large Deck, overlooking flat backyard. Lower Level features a Large Recreation Room w/ Gas Burning Fireplace & Exposed Brick Wall, plus built-in Bar area perfect for entertaining. Offered at $839,500 201 Cleave Dr. * Falls Church City OPENSUN1-4PM Jean Reid • (703) 336-3808 • jeanreid@weichert.com COMING SOON! • 4BR/2.5BA Colonial Farmhouse in Falls Church City SPRING Market is in Full Bloom!! 968 N Rochester St. * Falls Church City 9003 Mears St. * Fairfax OPENSAT12-3PM COMINGSOON
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