Falls Church News-Press 5-16-2024

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The Falls Church City Council Monday approved a $137.8 million operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, setting a real estate tax rate with a two cent reduction, making Falls Church the only N.Va. jurisdiction east of Loudoun County to lower, not raise, that tax this year.

The Council vote was 6-1, with veteran member Marybeth Connelly voting no on the grounds that the final version adopting a two cent, rather than one cent, tax reduction unfairly abused the “revenue sharing” agreement the Council has had with the F.C. School Board the last four years.

The Council also approved the FY 2025 budget and capital improvements program (CIP) at its Monday meeting. The budget provides for a seven percent growth for the general government expenditures and local funding for City schools.

The approved budget reduces the real estate from $1.23 to $1.21 per $100 of assessed value. Thus, the median homeowner’s real estate tax bill will increase by $174 or 1.5 percent, with market appreciation increasing the assessed value of homes in the City. This increase compares to the $450 increase voted by our larger neighbors, Fairfax and Arlington counties, earlier this month.

The approved budget addresses recently adopted Strategic Priorities, with investments in people, infrastructure, and process improvements. According to a City statement, “These investments will strengthen the City’s foundations to support the growth that is underway in the City.”

Women Rule In F.C.

With under six months until the U.S. general election, Virginia Senator and Intelligence Committee chair Mark R. Warner yesterday pushed tech companies to follow up on commitments made at the Munich Security Conference and take concrete measures to combat malicious misuses of generative artificial intelligence (AI) that could impact elections.

Speaking live on national television yesterday morning,

Warner expressed grave concern for the ways in which this November’s election could be corrupted by AI and other means by foreign bad actors and others. He conducted a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday afternoon and slated a media availability for today.

Sen. Warner noted three ways in which this interference and corruption is occuring already, and are already impacting next month’s parliamentary elections across Europe.

First, he said, it is not only

Russia but also China and Iran who are preparing or engaging in cyberattacks and widespread disinformation campaigns.

Second, he cited voter “willingness to believe crazy conspiracy theories” that need to be more aggressively dispelled.

Third, he named the potentially devastating impact of AI to engage in “deep fakes,” noting that currently there are no adequate “guard rails” in place to counter them, as the tech leaders had promised in Munich to develop.

In Munich in February, a

group of AI companies signed the “Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections,” a high-level roadmap for a variety of new initiatives, investments, and interventions that could improve the information ecosystem surrounding this year’s elections. Following that initial agreement, Sen. Warner is pushing for specific answers about the actions that companies are taking to make good on the Tech Accord.

“Against the backdrop of

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 . 14 Continued on Page 4 Warner Warns of 2024 Election Interference 2-Cent Cut, But Schools Were Left Out of Conversation Continued
3 It’s Official, F.C. Tax Rate Region’s Only To Go Down
2024 WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH was recognized with an elaborate presentation in Cherry Hill Park last weekend that highlighted the scores of women who’ve made an important difference in the City of Falls Church (Photo: Gary Mester)
on Page
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by Nicholas F. Benton Falls Church News-Press by Nicholas F. Benton Falls Church News-Press


GALA Theatre’s Latest Comedy Brings Exciting Entertainment

Don’t cry for us, Miss Evita!

No! Join us to cheer “Mummy in the Closet: Evita’s Return” on stage now at GALA Hispanic Theatre.

The black comedy has everything needed for great entertainment: fabulous music, romance, outstanding dancing, conflict, action, and a true story about Eva Perón, the first lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in1952.

If you don’t know anything about her, you will know something about her after seeing this show, an excellent introduction for students of Argentine history, and instilling within me a desire to learn more!

That’s good theatre, isn’t it?

She was only 33 when she died but her legacy lives on in Argentina where she attracted both love and hate from among the citizens then and now.

She was adored by the poor, the working class, and the labor unions as their advocate and spiritual leader, but despised by the elites and the military who saw her as a threat. She was a suffragist who helped women gain the right to vote.

Her brief life, her corpse and its whereabouts are laid out at GALA with original music and dance to keep the audience enthralled, watching the drama and historic videos screened in the background.

Fran Tapia bears an uncanny likeness to Evita, who is joined by the excellent ensemble who dance the night away in near perfect choreography by Valeria Cossu, easily evoking the presence of the millions who stood and watched her funeral when Evita died in Buenos Aires.

The ensemble became the throngs, walking somberly in single file past her body, before they danced and transitioned later into dead bodies in a graveyard and still later, as members of the military and their victims clashing to overthrow her husband from the Argentine presidency three years after Evita’s death.

Juan Perón (Martin Ruiz) was Eva’s husband, 24 years older than his wife whom he immortalized when she died, ordering the doctor to save her body, reminding one of Lenin’s embalmed body in Moscow’s Red Square.

But where was her body?

The play traces her world tour in death over almost two decades, disappearing for years at a time, in flight from Argentina to Italy to Spain and back home again, the corpse taking a two-year hiatus at the home of the exiled Juan Perón and his third wife, Isabel (Camila Taleisnik) in Spain. The military feared the corpse would become a shrine to lure her husband back to power.

And he did come back, eventually returning to the presidency, a role he held for less than a year before he died in 1974 to be succeeded by Isabel (still living and the oldest living former Argentine president).

Whether acting alive or dead, Fran Tapia was splendid in the dual Evita roles, so good

that at times, I wondered if the “dead” Evita was a wax figure. Costumer Becca Janney dressed her in a beautiful white strapless evening gown with a diamond necklace and long diamond earrings copied after the original, and glamorized by Tapia as Peron’s second wife.

The ensemble moved quickly from side to side with high kicks and swirls on sets spread over two floors which served as the balcony where Evita addressed huge crowds, military offices, and a mortuary where Dr. Ara (Rodrigo Pedreira, also the general) spent a year brewing a concoction to preserve the body, the backdrop bubbling with chemicals.

Diego Mariani starred in two unforgettable roles he handled well: Colonel Moori and Lopez, servant to Juan Perón. Also featured was Luis Obed Velazquez as Cabanillas, in charge of hiding the body’s location. Dance captain and associate choreographer Rodolfo Santamarina led the dozen other ensemble members, most with multiple roles.

The program notes that the show is nonfiction, based on the facts, including Moori’s believable necrophilia.

Pianist Walter “Bobby” McCoy directed six musicians backstage, the cues for entries, never missed. Rogelio Garza played multiple instruments and Emmanuel Trifilio was on the bandoneon with sounds like an accordion and harmonica.

Gustavo Ott wrote the play assisted with lyrics by Mariano Vales, the composer. Mariano Caligaris directed. Other production team members were Grisele Gonzales, scenics; Andre Hopfer, hair and makeup; Hailey LaRoe, lighting and projections; Justin Schmitz, sound; Iara Rogers Benchoam, properties; Sierra Young, intimacy choreographer; Cat Moreschi, stage manager and Luz Nicolas, assistant director.

Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through June 9. Tickets are $50 with $25 discounts for those under age 25 and $15 discounts for seniors, groups of 10 or more and the military. For ages 13 and up. Student matinees will be presented May 16-17, May 23-24 at 10:30 a.m.

GALA Hispanic Theatre, 202-234-7174, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20010. Info@galatheatre.org

In Spanish with English surtitles. Ride the Metro to McPherson Square and catch Bus #52 or #54 on 14th up to GALA. Or, ride Metro to the Columbia Heights station, a block from GALA on the Green and Yellow lines. Park for $4 (with validation in GALA’s lobby) at the Giant parking lot around the corner on Park Road.


F.C. Mayor Hardi Greets 500 on NAIOP Bus Tour

Falls Church Mayor Letty Hardi greeted the more than 500 participants in the annual NAIOP commercial real estate bus tour of the region who stopped in Falls Church for their lunch last Thursday. The annual event is designed to showcase opportunities for development throughout the region.

In her remarks, Hardi said, “The fact that we’re standing in the largest development project in our city’s history — truly a catalyst in the theme of today’s bus tour — is the culmination of years of visioning, planning, financial modeling, and ultimately trust and partnership across multiple teams of public and private bodies, not to mention perseverance through a global pandemic.

“West Falls has made possible a generational investment of a new high school and the other two projects underway with Insight and Mill Creek — all three are part of a multi decade success story.

“Falls Church faces all the same challenges as our much bigger cities and counties. As the region evolves, how do we ensure we are creating a vibrant, sustainable, and equitable community for the next generation? We should be continuously challenging ourselves, asking how are we leaving things better than we found them?

“We are evolving from a 1940s carcentric suburb to a walkable, urban environment, with a diverse and nationally recognized food scene. We are adding new jobs and more housing options and welcoming new neighbors. We’ve grown our population 10 percent over the past 10 years and will welcome another 20 percent in the next 10 years,

“We are doubling our incoming affordable housing stock, we are proud of our top notch school system, the backbone of our community and strong democracies, we are creating a greener and more vibrant city where you can get all your daily needs met without getting in a car. At 2.2 square miles, the entire city has the makings of a true 15-minute city.

“While retaining our charm and small town character — traditions like our Memorial Day parade, tree lined streets that light up during the holidays, a Saturday farmers market, parks, green spaces and trails, independent coffee shops and delis and not just bars where everyone knows your name, and a home -

grown hardware store, are just a few examples of what we are proud of.

“While catching up on long discussed and backlogged capital projects — we’ve built a state of the art, net zero ready high school next door, a new city hall, library, and renovated nearly every public building in the city over the past 10 years and not to mention — we are more economically resilient with a more diversified tax base and triple AAA bond rate. We’ve lowered our tax rate 12.5 cents over the past few years instead of raising taxes to do all of the things I’ve mentioned and we’re poised to lower it another 2 cents this coming Monday.”

Ortiz Announces Resignation From F.C. School Board

Falls Church School Board Member David Ortiz announced his resignation at Tuesday night’s School Board meeting. Dr. Ortiz, who has served since January 2022, said he is stepping down in anticipation of his family’s move to another city this summer.

Dr. Ortiz will serve through June 15th. The Board is expected to fill the vacancy through a Special Election to be held in November.

FCCPS Employee Awards

Announced Tuesday

Tuesday night, the Falls Church City Public School Board celebrated four distinguished recipients of this year’s FCCPS Employee Awards.

Tosin Adetoro, a STEAM teacher at Oak Street Elementary, was recognized as the Teacher of the Year for her dynamic approach to science education, inspiring curiosity and collaboration among her students. Mary Manzione, a speech therapist at Jesse Thackery Preschool, received the Professional Specialist of the Year Award for her pivotal role in nurturing the development of our youngest learners. Jessica Hollinger, the administrative assistant at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, was awarded the Academic Support Staff Employee of the Year for her exceptional organizational skills and community engagement. In a touching tribute, the Operational Support Staff Employee of the Year Award was posthumously given to Eduardo Molina, cherished custodial supervisor, acknowledging his thirty years of heartfelt service.

Coming May 23rd Falls Church, Virginia Memorial Day Parade Program 2024

To Advertise In this Section: Contact: sjohnson@fcnp.com

“Mummy in the Closet: Evita’s Return” at GALA.. (Photo: Stan Weinstein)

New FY2025 F.C. Budget Lone in Region With Tax Cut

One of the biggest boosts to the budget came from the negotiated deal between Democrats in control of the Virginia legislature and Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) this week that, based on higher than expected revenues to the state, halved the burden on the City for its obligation to the WMATA Metrorail system from $2 to $1 million. The City’s share was expected to be taken from the Northern Virginia Transportation Fund, but now the $1 million portion stays in its operating budget.

There was little left to doubt about the School Board’s displeasure with having to find $280,000 to cut from the budget at the last minute to accommodate the additional cut.

A delegation from the Schools attended the Monday Council meeting, led by vice chair Kathleen Tysse, who was flanked by Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan and fellow board members Lori Silverman and Jerrod Anderson as she spoke, echoing remarks by councilmember Connelly expressing concern that the Schools were not properly included in last-minute budget cut discussion, instead having to find $283,000 to cut from a budget it had already voted to approve Tuesday night.

The Council will hold a joint work session this Monday at City Hall with members of the City’s Housing Commission, Planning

Commission and Public Utilities Commission.

The Council now awaits the data on what funds might be available for deployment as one-time expenditures from surpluses in the current fiscal year budget.

On Monday F.C. Mayor Letty Hardi spoke to this year’s budget being “very strong and dynamic” in keeping with a “growing city.”

Elements include competitive pay for the City workforce at six percent growth, enhancing public safety including three new police officer positions and two additional 911 emergency communications technicians, expanding street paving, new sidewalks, and neighborhood traffic calming initiatives, adding three project managers to deliver transportation, facility, and sewer projects in the CIP, investing in technology and processes to make it easier to access government services, $500,000 to the Affordable Housing Fund and adding additional Library hours during the weekend.

“This year’s budget balances the key priorities we have heard from the community on education, environment, housing, transportation, and good governance while simultaneously investing in the City’s workforce and fiscal responsibility with a 2-penny tax rate reduction,” said Mayor Hardi. “As the City grows, these investments in our future will pay dividends for our community. I thank everyone who participated in the budget process this year. Community input during meet-

ings, town halls, and office hours, as well as collaborating with our School Board and Boards and Commissions partners, are important parts of the process.”

The CIP budget provides a six-year plan for investment in City schools, parks and fields, library, government facilities, transportation, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure.

The six-year CIP totals $190 million and provides funding for transportation ($82 million), facilities, public safety, information technology, parks ($57 million), sanitary sewer ($37 million), and stormwater improvements ($14 million). The CIP relies on $63 million in fed-

eral and state grants and the responsible use of $19.5 million in capital reserves over the next six years to create long-term value for the City’s taxpayers. No new taxpayer-supported debt is anticipated until FY2028. Debt service will 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. To keep up with inflation cost increases, the sanitary sewer and stormwater fees will increase by 3.6 percent. The Sanitary Sewer

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center in the DMV! Continued on Page 10
A hot bowl of pho at Eden

Intelligence Cmte. Head Warner Warns About Election

worldwide proliferation of malign influence activity globally — with an ever-growing range of malign actors embracing social media and wider digital communications technologies to undermine trust in public institutions, markets, democratic systems, and the free press — generative AI (and related media-manipulation) tools can impact the volume, velocity, and believability of deceptive elections,” Sen. Warner wrote and reiterated yesterday.

This year, elections are taking place in over 40 countries representing over four billion people, while AI companies are simultaneously releasing a range of powerful and untested new tools that have the potential to rapidly spread believable misinformation, as well as abuse by a range of bad actors.

While the Tech Accord represented a positive, public-facing first step to recognize and address this novel challenge, Sen. Warner is pushing for effective, durable protections to

ensure that malign actors can’t use AI to craft misinformation campaigns and to prevent its dissemination on social media platforms. To that end, he posed a series of questions to get specific information on the actions that companies are taking to prevent the creation and rapid spread of AI-enabled disinformation and election deception.

“While high-level, the commitments your company announced in conjunction with the Tech Accord offer a clear roadmap for a variety of new initiatives, investments, and interventions that can materially enhance the information ecosystem surrounding this year’s election contests. To that end, I am interested in learning more about the specific measures your company is taking to implement the Tech Accord. While the public pledge demonstrated your company’s willingness to constructively engage on this front, ultimately the impact of the Tech Accord will be measured in the efficacy — and durability — of the initiatives and protection measures you adopt,” Sen.

Warner wrote the tech leaders.

The letter concludes by pointing out that several of the proposed measures to combat malicious misuse in elections would also help address adjacent misuses of AI technology, including the creation of nonconsensual intimate imagery, child sexual abuse material, and online bullying and harassment campaigns.

Sen. Warner has been consistently calling attention to and pushing for action from AI companies on these and other potential misuses. On Wednesday, Sen. Warner will host a public Intelligence Committee hearing where leaders from the FBI, CISA, and the ODNI will provide updates on threats to the 2024 election.

Sen. Warner sent letters to every signatory of the Tech Accord: Adobe, Amazon, Anthropic, Arm, Eleven Labs, Gen, GitHub, Google, IBM, Inflection, Intuit, LG, LinkedIn, McAfee, Microsoft, Meta, NetApp, Nota, Open AI, Snap, Stability AI, TikTok, Trend, True Media, Truepic, and X.

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SEN. MARK WARNER (D-Va.), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, during a hearing on worldwide threats on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 11, 2024. Warner says the United States is more susceptible to Russian influence operations than it was during the 2020 elections. (Kent Nishimura/The New York Times)

Memorial Day Parade and Festival

Monday, May 27

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine!

Enjoy a full day of fun, food, festivities, and honoring our heroes Full event details: fallschurchva gov/MemorialDay


Fiscal Year 2025 Budget

The Falls Church City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Budget materials: fallschurchva gov/Budget

Hillwood Flood Mitigation: Hillwood #1 began Spring 2024, estimated completion six months

W&OD Trail Crossings: Ongoing, Summer 2024

HAWK Signals: Begins May 2024, expected to last six months

North Washington & Columbia: Begins Summer 2024 Berman Park: Bids begin Summer 2024 FFY2025 Y2025

Government Operating Status for Memorial Day Saturday, June 8: Tinner Hill Music Festival Tuesday, June 18: Republican Party Primary for US Senate

MAY 16 - 22, 2024 | PAGE 5 FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM Find all information at fallschurchva.gov/CityCentral May Calendar Highlights
Property Yard Open House 3 p m to 8 p m fallschurchva.gov/CityCentral Visit City Central online for information and updates. 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 703-248-5210 (TTY 711). @CityOfFallsChurchGov @FallsChurchGov @CityOfFallsChurchGov ity May 2024 Central Construction Spotlight 5 Backyard Composting 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Farmers Market Every Saturday 8 a m to Noon
St. All project information:

22, 2024

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Vol. XXXIV, No. 14 May 16 - 22, 2024

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Let The Good Times Roll!

Let the good times roll in the City of Falls Church!

In our 33 years, this newspaper has never been more optimistic about where the Little City is heading than now. In another 33 years, perhaps, it is reasonable to expect that the current population of some 14,500 will double, and by even more if things can be worked out with neighboring Fairfax County to annex some more land much as happened in the last decade that really marked the takeoff point for the current economic boom here.

If people are better off here, financially, then we should not be beating ourselves up about that fact, we should be viewing it as a challenge to get the most out of everyone to the good of all. In the Italian Renaissance, it was not argued that only the lower or middle classes should be afforded the benefits of the transformative art, architecture, music and invention that propelled western civilization. On the contrary, the issue was how to translate wealth, or as we prefer to call it, weal, as in “common weal” or “commonwealth,” into a universal gain, a good for all. Such “weal” is, after all, what good government strives for in a democracy to the benefit of all the people.

Yes, the issue is how to deploy “weal,” what to do with it. In Falls Church, resources are put to this end in education, safety, sustainability and quality of life. They are not squandered in dead-end things, such as splurging on extravagance for its own sake, but in those that make things better for those coming after us, and for the world writ large.

The responsibility this presents for our citizens is this: how to take what you have been blessed to attain and put it toward good things for our future and for the wider world. Do decisions about this stand the test of self-conscious scrutiny? The old adage is that the more you give, the more you have. In this region of the world, this is not always popular. We are in the wider orbit of an ethos which eschews such approaches and instead celebrates “Greed is good.”

At the local level we can see the substance of politics much more clearly. It is not Left Versus Right at this level, it is General Good and virtue versus selfishness and indifference. For those who seek to do good at this level, our enemies are not so much massive authoritarian dictators and monoliths, but stinginess and self-centered short sightedness. These are the things that divide us.

Growth and The Good go hand in hand more clearly at this level. We are not here to covet what we have, but to join it to a wider purpose and thereby make the whole world a better, more survivable and enjoyable place for everybody. The more lives the better, the more resources at our disposal the better, the more laughter and love, the better.


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.

7. Make the paper show a profit if you can, but above all keep it clean, fearless and fair.

Letters to Editor

If You Build It, They Will Come, But Then?


As the Little City gets bigger every day I see that many of these new apartment buildings are for the “55+” seniors. Presumably the building owners are paying a heavily reduced tax rate since they won’t have children in the schools and perhaps it’s an appeal to city managers who think seniors are less likely to drive and further congest the crowded roads. However the Founder’s Row senior community appears to have a bus stop where children are getting picked up for school. Who is paying for this?

The new Broad and Washington Apartment complex will add 339 apartments, Founders Row II will add 280, and West Falls development will add an astounding 647 units plus an additional 215 senior apartments. That’s 1266 new “non senior” apartments that could have students by fall 2024. If half of these apartments had one school age child it would more than double the current school population. Oak Street Elementary has 518 students. Are they prepared for an additional 500 students next year? Oak Street already didn’t have enough teachers to start the 2023 year and had substitutes filling in for months until they could hire additional teachers. Is there a secret plan for next year that we don’t know about?


When we moved into Falls Church over 40 years ago, I remember Falls Church having the lowest tax rate of any of the jurisdictions. With the recent massive increase in development in Falls Church (not really a little city any longer) and the corresponding promises of huge decreases in the tax rate to go with it, where’s the payoff?

A Plea to Reconsider Water Tower Plans


I am writing to urgently address the proposed construction of an industrial-sized water tower on Tower St. in our neighborhood, particularly impacting the Poplar Heights area.

The narrowness of Tower St. poses a significant safety risk, especially for our children who use it to access school buses. Adding such a massive water tower will drastically increase this risk and disrupt the tranquility of our neighborhood, adversely affecting property values and overall quality of life.

F.C. Taxes Still Higher Than Our Neighbors

Adam Roth Editor,

Your recent pat-on-the-back article about local politicians doing better than nearby jurisdictions by lowering the tax rate for Falls Church by two cents to $1.21/$100 of valuation completely omitted the more important fact that taxes here are higher than those jurisdictions even though the others are increasing the rates somewhat for next year. A recent Washington Post article said Fairfax County plans a rate of $1.125/$100 next year, Arlington anticipates $1.033/$100 and Alexandria

Furthermore, the choice of our neighborhood for the construction of this industrial-sized water tower raises concerns about discriminatory building practices. Poplar Heights is home to more affordable residences in our zip code, and siting such infrastructure here will perpetuate historical injustices of placing infrastructure utility projects in areas with lower property values.

It’s imperative to explore alternative sites within Fairfax County for the water tower. These sites could better accommodate the increased demand for water supply generated by large mixed residential/commercial building projects that have been approved, while also ensuring equitable development practices and preserving the unique character of our community.

I urge Falls Church NewsPress to shed light on these issues and advocate for the careful consideration of alternative sites that prioritize safety, equity, and community well-being.

MAY 16 -
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‘News’ in the Context of Today’s Information War

“How to Start Win-

ning the Information War” was the headline put onto a commentary in The Washington Post last month by the late Sen. Joseph Lierberman, who died this March, and former Sen. Gordon Humphries.

Modestly presented, it stands apart as one of the most important messages that has been carried on the Post’s opinion pages in a long time, lamenting the failure of prodemocratic institutions to “go on the offensive” in the all-out war being waged by the enemies of democracy — Russia, China, Iran, and I’ll add surrogates like Hamas and nihilist elements in the West, such as Trump — in “the newest battlefield, the human mind.”

“No one is in charge of telling America’s still-inspiring story to the world,” they note, leaving the field to the likes of Putin, who “brazenly floods the airwaves and computers around the world daily with malicious falsehoods…and false narratives designed to sow confusion about our institutions, including our elections.” (They don’t include Trump here, but it is obvious he ought to be.)

They point out that false narratives need to be met with a robust counter narrative. But now, since the loss of the U.S. Information Agency as of 1999 (Biden being one of only 40 Senators to vote against abolishing the USIA at the time), Putin enjoys “high standing in domestic polls and in some nonaligned countries,” as Trump does in the U.S. for the same reasons.

The Lieberman-Humphrey commentary reminded us all, including this newspaperman, that “news, by itself, is not counter narrative. It is not the marshaling of truth and fact to tell our story.”

A true counter narrative in the information war “asserts our values and ideals, and explains the priceless advantages of freedom, the rule of law, a free press and freedom to assemble and express opinion,” in ways that go beyond the issues where partisanship di-


I contend that this is the proper way to present the news of the day, as well. It is in the crucible of freedom — I dare say of the “4 Freedoms” that President Franklin Roosevelt articulated at the outset of World War II: freedom of speech and religion, and from fear and want – that meaning is added to “news” to make it all truly matter. No doubt the enemies of democracy and freedom use the appearance of “news” as a ruse to undercut us, as we see in the modern era of Fox News, Newsmax and others, exactly as Putin, Xi and other tyrants use “state news” to impose “slants” that advance their purposes.

Yet it seems that the only counter to this is non-value infused “news,” which tells us how many babies a zoo animal has had, and what the weather looks like for the next few days, but which does not ground its presentation in a context of relevance for defending our democratic institutions.

In the better days of fighting for democracy, in the years following World War 2, the three TV networks then vied for viewership in their entertainment and sports programming to attract advertising dollars, but when it came to presenting the “news,” none of the nightly newscasts allowed advertising on the valid notion that it could and probably would taint it. News that buoyed the spirits of free citizens in a democratic nation should not be compromised by the almighty dollar.

This did not mean that it was held as a slave to a premeditated prejudice, the way Fox is today, but that true newsmen called the shots on what made it to the airwaves. Those were the days of Edward R. Murrow and the great role he played in exposing to the public the tawdry and dishonest tactics of Sen. Joe McCarthy in the early 1950s, for example.

My newspaper, as it should in my view, does more than report the outcome of the previous night’s games, as valued such a service might be in the eyes of many. No, its headlines and leading stories are often designed to help the readers see what’s at stake in some new development from the standpoint of the cherished values we all are the beneficiaries of and share. They slant to democracy.

A Penny for Your Thoughts

News of Greater Falls Church

Decades ago, we had a cat, Willow, so named because she was born in the spring and was the color of a pussy willow. She was a member of our family for 17 years, with few issues, except for who was responsible for cleaning the litter box! When we brought our newborn daughter home, Willow immediately jumped up onto the bed and slowly circled the baby, nosing about and sniffing. Mindful of the myth about cats “stealing” a baby’s breath, I held my own, but Willow was satisfied that this interloper was OK. Indeed, Willow and our daughter became great friends, although she wasn’t wild about litter box duty. Willow occasionally needed her nails clipped (a two-person job), but visits to the vet, fortunately, were rare. So, the idea of declawing a cat was something rarely mentioned, and anathema to animal lovers. Declawing is too simple a term for the actual process. Rather, it is more accurate to say amputation because declawing consists of cutting off not just the claws, but the whole

phalanx up to the joint, including bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves. For a human, it would be similar to cutting off your finger or toe up to the first knuckle. Some cat owners consider declawing their pets to avoid scratching and damaging furniture, but the declawing procedure has no benefit to the animal. Scratching is a natural behavior of cats; removing the claws forces a cat to bite as its only defense, which is even more serious than a cat scratch. Recent bipartisan legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly to prohibit the practice of declawing takes effect on July 1, 2024. HB 1354 passed both houses of the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Youngkin in early April. The new law “prohibits as unlawful the practice of declawing cats for any person engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine except as necessary for a therapeutic purpose, as defined by the bill.” Penalties would be issued by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine. The bill had sev -

City of Falls Church CRIME REPORT

Week of May 6-12, 2024

Larceny, Dorchester Rd, between May 5th at 8 PM and May 6th at 7 AM, unknown suspect(s) took fencing panels from the victim’s yard.

Wire Fraud, W Broad St, May 6, 12 PM, victim contacted what they believed was Apple customer service, and sent multiple wire transfers after being instructed to do so by the alleged Apple associate.

Trespassing/Warrant Service, W Broad St, May 6, 10:55 PM, a male, 45, of no fixed address, was arrested for Trespassing and an outstanding warrant.

No Valid Operator’s License, S Maple Ave, May 7, 2:03 PM, a male, 22, of Dumfries, was arrested for No Valid Operator’s License.

Robbery/Assault, Wilson Blvd, May 7, 6:30 PM, victim was approaching her vehicle in the parking lot when three unknown suspects assaulted

her, stole her purse, and fled the scene in a vehicle onto Wilson Blvd in an unknown direction. The three unknown suspects are described as black males, each wearing a mask; the vehicle involved in the incident is described as a black Toyota SUV. Investigation is ongoing.

Public Intoxication, W Broad St, May 7, 8:30 PM, a male, 58, of no fixed address, was arrested for Public Intoxication.

Larceny from Building/Credit Card Fraud, E Broad St, May 8, between 10:15 AM and 12 PM, an unknown suspect took cash and credit cards from the victim’s bag inside a locker, and made multiple transactions.

No Valid Operator’s License, N Sycamore St, May 8, 12:01 PM, a male, 51, of Arlington, was arrested for No Valid Operator’s License.

No Valid Operator’s License, W Broad St, May 9, 9 PM, a female, 28, of Fairfax, was arrested for No Valid Operator’s License.

MAY 16 - 22, 2024

eral Northern Virginia sponsors, including Delegates Marty Martinez, Irene Shin, and Holly Seibold, and Senators Dave Marsden and Jennifer Boysko. Virginia now joins New York and Maryland as the only jurisdictions in the United States to ban declawing by veterinary practitioners.

There are thousands of pet owners in Northern Virginia who may not be aware of the new law, but there are many humane alternatives that will not risk the health and welfare of pets. Routine nail trims every four to six weeks, scratching posts and boards, training (probably for both pet and owner), replaceable nail caps, and pheromone sprays scented with catnip will help. Some suggest taping aluminum foil to items that the cat scratches; with a little training, I suspect that the foil will not be needed for long. Mason District resident, Dr. George Cody, in testimony prepared for the Companion Animals Senate Subcommittee in Richmond, noted that “If the intent is to have a pristine home environment, then one should reconsider having a cat, a dog, or any pet. If someone still intends to have a cat, then change the environment, not the cat.” Declawing a cat is not a trip to the spa for any feline. Wise words for any pet owner.

Simple Assault, W Broad St, May 10, 5:07 PM, a male, 86, of Fairfax County, was arrested for Simple Assault.

Driving Under the Influence/ No Valid Operator’s License, W Broad St, May 11, 1:57 AM, a male, 28, of Fairfax County, was arrested for Driving Under the Influence and No Valid Operator’s License.

No Valid Operator’s License, S Roosevelt St/Hillwood Ave, May 11, 7:09 PM, a male, 33, of Leesburg, was arrested for No Valid Operator’s License.

No Valid Operator’s License, S Washington St, May 11, 11:13 PM, a male, 22, of Laurel, Maryland, was arrested for No Valid Operator’s License.

No Valid Operator’s License/Permitting Unlicensed Driver to Operate Vehicle, S West St, May 12, 8:23 PM, a male, 21, of Arlington, was arrested for No Valid Operator’s License. A male, 34, of Arlington, was arrested for Permitting Unlicensed Driver to Operate Vehicle.

News-Press School News & Notes PAGE 8 | MAY 16 - 22, 2024 SCHOOLS
THE SPRING INSTRUMENTAL Music concert at Meridian last week included a tribute to Marsha Johnson and a celebration of the bravery of Transgender women. (Photo: Carol Sly) LEARNERS FROM the Acton Academy in Las Vegas visited their F.C. counterparts last week. (Photo: Acton Academy Falls Church)
FOR NATIONAL ‘ROLL’ to School Day last week, students traveled to school on
HENDERSON STUDENTS were rewarded for this year’s hard work with Bark Bucks redeemable for a variety of treats. (Photo: FCCPS)
scooters. (Photo: FCCPS)
Check out more School News & Notes pictures and stories online at fcnp.com FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM
STUDENTS FROM Longfellow Middle School in greater F.C. finished 13th overall and first among Virginia schools in the 2024 Quiz Bowl Championship (Photo: National Academic Quiz Tournaments) ON UKULELE DAY, Mount Daniel Elementary School second graders showcased their stringstrumming talent to an audience of families and teachers. (Photo: Chrissy Henderson)

Mustangs Prepare for Playoffs as Spring Season Wraps

We’re midway through May, which means that the regular season for Spring sports at Meridian High School is coming to a close. This is the final week of matchups before the regional playoffs begin, so let’s take a look at where the respective Mustang teams stand.

Baseball split a pair of home games last week, losing 3-1 to Brentsville on Tuesday and beating Fauquier 7-5 on Wednesday, before dominating a doubleheader against Manassas Park for Senior Night the next Monday. The boys won those two games 10-4 and 13-0 to improve their record to 11-7 on the year, and will play their regular season finale at Millbrook today with playoff seeding on the line.

Softball dropped both of its games last week, falling 5-1 to Brentsville and 7-0 to Fauquier in conjunction with their baseball counterparts, but bounced back in a big way with two convincing wins over Manassas

Park on Monday night (18-2 and 12-0) — the second of which their opponent forfeited during the second inning. They’ll also play Millbrook to close out their campaign on Wednesday this week, and at 7-12, they’ll be looking to end things on a high note.

It was a mixed bag of results for both soccer teams, as the boys blanked Brentsville 4-0 at home on Tuesday but then lost 3-2 to Fauquier the next night.

The girls played both of those teams on the road the same nights and fell 3-1 and 2-1, but then also competed against Maggie Walker at home on Friday and played to a 3-3 draw.

The 8-8 boys play at Millbrook today, while the 8-5-1 girls play host to Millbrook on the same night.

Both lacrosse teams have carried the torch for the Mustangs this season, and have continued to do so this week as the boys won a tight 10-9 contest on the road at Kettle Run last Monday and then followed it up by staying on the road to beat

Trinity-Meadow View 10-7 on Thursday. They returned home this Monday to finish out their regular season on Senior Night with a dominant 18-2 win over Eastern View, giving them a 12-2 record entering the playoffs set to begin next week. The girls also finished up last week, beating Kettle Run 18-3 on Monday at home and then Eastern View 19-2 on the road Friday, ending their regular season at 12-1.

Finally, it was another solid week for both the boys and the girls on the tennis courts, as the boys beat Brentsville 8-1 and Fauquier 5-1 on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, with both meetings at home. They fell 0-9 to Bishop Ireton on Thursday, though, and will prepare to take on Millbrook on the road today. On the other hand, the girls went on the road to beat Brentsville 7-2 on Tuesday and Fauquier in a 9-0 sweep on Wednesday of last week, extending their record to 10-2 as they prepare to play host to Millbrook today.

This Week’s F.C. Kiwanis Little League Report

In a thrilling showdown, the Little City Legends, led by Coach Adam Alderson and sponsored by Kirk’s Army, emerged victorious against the Clouds, coached by Anthony Verdi Jr. and sponsored by RPJ Advisors, with a final score of 5-4. The Legends wasted no time making their mark, seizing an early lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Franco Perez’s well-placed single drove in two runs, setting the tone for the game. They continued to build their momentum in the second inning when Stanley Lu’s impressive double, despite an 0-2 count, extended their lead to 3-1.

Pitching was pivotal in this fiercely contested match. Luca Pipia took the mound as the starting pitcher for the Legends, showcasing his strength by striking out seven batters and conceding only two hits and one run over three innings. On the opposing side, Anthony Verdi III led the Clouds from the mound, striking out four batters while allowing five hits and

three runs.

The Legends’ offensive capability was evident as they piled up an impressive 12 hits throughout the game. Standout performances came from Sutton Snyder, Stanley Lu, and Franco Perez, each contributing two hits while collectively driving in three runs. Additionally, Luca Pipia, Sam Gilliland, AJ Allison, Charles Longley, Joseph Bellino, and Tig Fatzinger each added crucial hits to secure the victory.

Despite the Clouds’ valiant effort, amassing 10 hits in the game, they fell just short of clinching the win. Colin Kirchgraber led the team with two runs batted in, going 2-3 at the plate, while James Owen continued to shine with a flawless 3-3 performance. Timothy Verasin also made significant contributions with two hits, while Adam Dunbar, Will James, and Hunter Seymor each added one hit to the Clouds’ tally.

Up next, the league continues regular season play for one final week, then playoffs begin. Go to fckll.org for the schedule and plan to attend!

Expos 8-5

sponsor: Load Side Electric Commandos 4-9

sponsor: NDI Custom Homes TBD 9-4 sponsor: Evergreene Homes Little City Legends 7-6 sponsor: Kirk’s Army We Show Speed 8-5 sponsor: Beyer Volvo Clouds 3-10 sponsor: RPJ Advisors THE LITTLE CITY Legends emerged victorious against the Clouds this week. (photo: Amanda Alderson) FCKLL Majors Season Standings (as of May 14): MUSTANG BOYS BASEBALL plays their last game of the regular season today, with playoff seeding on the line. (Photo: Carol Sly) MUSTANG BOYS LACROSSE finished out their regular season with a 12-2 record heading into playoffs next week. (Photo: Carol Sly)

School Board Disliked

Last-Minute Changes

on strengthening literacy and foundational learning skills.

rate increase to $10.48 per 1,000 gallons equates to a $15 per year for the average household, and the stormwater fee increase equates to a $10 per year increase for the average homeowner.

The adopted FY2025 budget will go into effect on July 1.

Tuesday night, the day after the Council approved its budget, the F.C. School Board unanimously approved its final 2024-2025 school year budget, based on plans expressed by Superintendent Noonan for how to absorb the last minute $283,000 in cuts. The budget, he said, “confirms the board’s commitment to addressing the needs of a growing student population and maintaining high standards of educational excellence.”

The approved School budget incorporates the proposed enhancements, including adding five new elementary teachers, two half-time paraprofessionals, and a new teacher for the secondary campus, preparing FCCPS for an anticipated enrollment increase. Additionally, the budget introduces a new position for an Elementary Reading Specialist, underscoring the district’s focus

The approved School budget supports a comprehensive compensation plan for FCCPS staff. The plan includes a step increase for employees and a 3.5 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA), resulting in an average pay increase of 6 percent. The budget also provides a new retirement contribution match for employees up to one percent of their salary.

Introducing an additional elementary reading specialist is a clear example of FCCPS’s proactive approach, Dr. Noonan said. “The School Board and FCCPS remain committed to fostering an environment where students and staff thrive.”

School Board Chair Tate Gould also reflected on the process and the outcome. “This budget represents a milestone in our collective mission to elevate educational outcomes in our district. It’s a product of thoughtful deliberation and community engagement, designed to ensure that every student in our district has the tools they need for success. We are grateful for the community’s input, which has been instrumental in shaping this comprehensive educational plan,” Dr. Gould remarked.

In Memoriam: Geo. Allen Johnston

Geo. Allen Johnston passed away on 27 November 2023 in Fairfax, Virginia. Champion of public spiritedness, lover of American heritage, and devoted father, Allen’s unforgettable charisma animated everyone he knew. Born 1951 in Fort Smith, Arkansas; educated in New York, the U.S. Senate

Page School in Washington DC, and Colorado College, he served the public in the Social Security Administration, professional staff of the U.S. House of Representatives, local politics and business in Falls Church, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. In retirement, he traveled broadly across the country he loved and admired before settling in Williamsburg, Virginia for more than fifteen years. A dedicated father and family man, he is survived by his two adult sons, Seth and Drew; three brothers; and their families.

A memorial will be held Friday, May 24 2024, 1 p.m. Sir Christopher Wren Building, College of William & Mary Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Delegate Marcus Simon’s Richmond Report

This week’s Richmond report comes to you from . . .well, Richmond.

The Virginia General Assembly returned to the Capitol on Monday for the Special Session to consider the recently released 2024-2026 State Budget.

Now I know what you’re asking yourself... these extra sessions have become such a regular phenomenon, is it really accurate to call them special sessions anymore? Are the really still “special?”

While I don’t necessarily disagree, that’s still what we call them.

Although the General Assembly completed its work on time and sent a comprehensive budget to the Governor back in March, the Governor initially attempted to rewrite it with an unprecedented 233 individual amendments. He then threatened the first ever veto of a biennial state budget passed by the General Assembly.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and members of the House and Senate have been meeting with the Governor for weeks to create a budget compromise that we could all agree on. In the end, the House of Delegates came out as the big winner in these negotiations, preserving the lions’ share of our priorities, with some nods to the State Senate and agreeing not to cross a few red lines put in place by the Governor.

The House passed the new budget 96-4 and the Senate 39-1. The Governor has already signed it.

Let’s start with what’s not in the budget:

The new budget does not include the Governor’s proposed sales tax increase — a regressive tax that hits families and lower income people the hardest.

Also not included is the Governor’s tax giveaway to the

ultra-wealthy — a package that would have resulted in nearly $10,000 for the wealthiest 1 percent while raising taxes for individuals making less than $58,000 per year.

Unfortunately, the language ensuring Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is not included. In 2020, we passed legislation to join RGGI, but since then the Governor has refused to adhere to the law. I have heard from many constituents about this, and I absolutely agree that Virginia should be a part of RGGI. Given the Governor’s illegal action here, I have no doubt that lawsuits are pending.

On the flip side, the new budget does contain many of our priorities that were highlighted in the original compromise budget that passed in March.

Just last year, a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) report highlighted that Virginia underfunds K-12 education by $4 billion a year. With this budget, we made significant investments to address this, including funding a 3 percent pay increase each year for teachers and school employees.

Furthermore, Falls Church Public Schools will receive an estimated $10,350,000 for FY 2025, which is about $1 million more than was in the Governor’s original budget. Meanwhile, Fairfax County will receive over $1 billion or about $62.5 million more than the original budget.

I’m also happy to report that my budget amendment to restore funding for the Student Loan Ombudsman Office (which I helped establish) is included.

The Ombudsman provides timely assistance to student borrowers of any student education loan in the Commonwealth.

We kept the language that

authorizes state funding for abortions in cases of severe abnormalities.

To strengthen our mental health resources, there is $20 million for additional mobile crisis units and $32 million to expand and modernize crisis services provided by Community Service Boards across the Commonwealth. Out of this, $3.6 million will go directly to Crisis Intervention assessment centers in six unserved rural communities.

Further, we are funding over 3,000 additional I/DD waiver slots to help reduce the Priority One waiting list. And we have $10.2 million for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to help low-income families meet their basic needs.

The budget also includes $7.6 million for sexual assault and domestic violence prevention programs as well as $2 million in grants for hate crime prevention programs at state agencies and non-profits.

After a battle over WMATA funding, we secured $318 million to ensure that Virginia continues to pay its fair share, investing in public transportation.

We kept our promise to state employees by maintaining a 3 percent raise each budget year.

To help with housing initiatives, we’ve committed $87.5 million each year to the Housing Trust Fund, which works to preserve affordable housing and reduce homelessness.

In short, there are a lot of good things we can be proud of in this latest compromise budget. Much can be accomplished when we work together. But to be clear, there is more that we can and should be doing when it comes to investing in our economy and the Commonwealth.

Continued from Page 3
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MAY 16

Arts and Humanities

Council Meeting

Arts and Humanities Council meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Dogwood A-B, Falls Church), 9:30 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.


Pinewood Derby

A fun evening of Pinewood Derby races. Free to attend. Details at harveysva.com. Harvey's (513 W. Broad St., Falls Church), 5:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.

Human Svcs. Advisory Council Meeting

Human Services Advisory Council meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Dogwood A-B, Falls Church), 6:30 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.

Environ. Sustainability Council Meeting

The Environmental Sustainability Council and Energy Transition Subcommittee meet. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Council Chambers/Court Room, Falls Church), 7:30 p.m. — 9:30 p.m.


MAY 17

Flora and Fauna:

Thriving or Threatened Exhibit celebrating the natural world — or exploring its challenges. Falls Church Arts (700-B W. Broad St., Falls Church), 11:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m.

FCEF 20th Anniversary

Gala & Auction

Falls Church Education Foundation (FCEF) celebrates its 20th anniversary at its annual gala and auction. Celebrate the impact FCEF has had on FCCPS, sponsor the event, or purchase a ticket at fcedf.org/ gala. Washington Golf & Country Club (3017 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, VA), 6:30 p.m. — 10:30 p.m.

Bike to Work Day

A fun and healthy way to start your day. Free to participate; register at

biketoworkmetrodc.org . All around the DMV (Anywhere, Bicyclefriendly commute routes, DMV)


MAY 18

Falls Church

Farmers Market

Shop the award winning market every Saturday, year-round! City Hall

Parking Lot (300 Park Ave., Falls Church), 8:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.

Cancer Screening & Health Fair

Health Fair with local food trucks, fun kids' activities, cancer screenings, giveaways, and more. Free and open to the public. Inova Hitt Center for Healthy Living (8100 Innovation Park Dr., Lower Level, Fairfax, VA), 9:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m.

National Chamber Season Finale

The National Chamber Ensemble performs their season finale, "Concerto Celebration: Bologne, Mendelssohn and Beethoven." Tickets at tinyurl.com/FCNP0524nc.

Marymount University Ballston Center Auditorium (1000 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, VA), 7:30 p.m.


MAY 19

NoVA Lights Chorale:

The Color of Jazz

A free concert with a selection of jazz favorites and reception. More at novalightschorale.org. St. Paul's Episcopal Church (3439 Payne St., Falls Church), 4:00 p.m.


Electoral Board Meeting

Electoral Board meets. City Hall (300 ParkAve., DogwoodA-B, Falls Church), 2:00 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.

City Council Work Session

City Council Work Sessions are held the first and third Monday

of the month, with the exception of August and December when only one meeting is held. Open to the public and conducted to allow council members to discuss upcoming legislation and policy issues; the public is not generally invited to speak. Watch live or on-demand at fallschurchva.gov/CouncilMeetings or on FCCTV (Cox 11, RCN 2, Verizon 35). City Hall (300 Park Ave., Dogwood A-B, Falls Church), 7:30 p.m. — 11:00 p.m.



Networking Luncheon

Monthly networking lunch. Tickets include your meal at fallschurchchamber.org. Italian Café (7161 Langston Blvd., Falls Church), 11:30 a.m. — 1:15 p.m.


MAY 22

Government Ops. Committee Meeting

Government Operations Committee meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Oak Room, Falls Church), 9:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

Robert L. Goff Property Yard Open House

The City of Falls Church Department of Public Works hosts its annual "Touch A Truck, Open House" event in honor of National Public Works Week. Attendees will be able to participate in hands on activities led by operations staff and take-home creations, ask questions and learn from community helpers, watch demonstrations of Urban Forestry Climbing, Sanitary Sewer Cameras, Backhoe Work and Switch & Go on Trucks (1 demonstration every 15 minutes per hour until 7:00 p.m.), attend a walking tour of the yard, and enter in a raffle. Free and open to the public. Robert L. Goff Property Yard (7100 Gordon Rd., Falls Church), 3:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.

Affordable Living Policy Workgroup Meeting

Affordable Living Policy Update Workgroup meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Dogwood A-B, Falls Church), 6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.


Tech Scams & Fraud Protection Event

Learn to be more careful and cautious when receiving messages and calls. Bring your phone to take steps to protect your privacy and data, delete and block junk, and more. The Kensington Falls Church (700 W. Broad St., Falls Church), 4:30 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Historic Architectural Review Board Meeting

Historic Architectural Review Board meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Dogwood A-B, Falls Church), 7:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.

Historical Commission Meeting

Historical Commission meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Dogwood A-B, Falls Church), 7:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.

MAY 16 - 22, 2024 | PAGE 11
FLORA AND FAUNA, an all-media exhibit, is on display through June 9 at Falls Church Arts. (Photo: "Beautiful Garlic" by Sharon Fields)



The following was given first reading at the April 29, 2024 City Council meeting. A public hearing, second reading, and possible City Council action is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 7:30 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard.


This action would amend the City’s floodplain district boundaries of the Zoning Map to meet the floodplain boundaries set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Floodplain Insurance Program (NFIP).

This action would add the following properties to the floodplain district on June 6, 2024:

(51-116-041) 6936 N 26TH ST (51-117-002) 6947 N FOUR MILE RUN DR (51-116-042) 6935 N 26TH ST

(51-116-018) 6933 N 26TH ST

(51-101-012) 214 W JEFFERSON ST

(51-101-010) 114 W JEFFERSON 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 (52-312-100) 410 S MAPLE AVE

(53-208-015) 408 VAN BUREN ST

This action would remove the following properties from 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 public hearings will be held in the Council Chambers, 300 Park Avenue, Falls Church, Virginia. Remote participation information at www.fallschurchva.gov/publiccomment. Comments may also be sent to cityclerk@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).



The following was given first reading at the May 13, 2024 City Council meeting. A public hearing, second reading, and possible City Council action is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 7:30 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard.



This ordinance would add eligibility requirements to the board and commission section of the City Code and make practical edits in relation to the addition.

All public hearings will be held in the Council Chambers, 300 Park Avenue, Falls Church, Virginia. Remote participation information at www.fallschurchva.gov/publiccomment. Comments may also be sent to cityclerk@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).


Final day of registration is Tuesday, May 28th for the June 18th, 2024 Republican Primary for US Senate. Virginia registered voters do not register by party. Therefore, all registered voters are eligible to vote in this primary. Sample Ballots can be found online: http:// www.fallschurchva.gov/vote

All citizens, including those who are currently 17 years old, who will turn 18 years old by the November 5, 2024 General Election are eligible to register and vote in the primary.

Online Voter Registration and early/absentee ballot by mail applications: http://www.vote. virginia.gov/

Deadline for applications submitted online via the Virginia Department of Election website is 11:59 pm on May 28, 2024. Only applicants with a DMV ID like a driver’s license can submit an application electronically and these applications may also be untimely if missing material information. Please note: those applications filled out online that are required to be printed and delivered to the registrar should be treated as regular mailed in applications and need to be postmarked by May 28, 2024, to meet the deadline. The 5:00 p.m. deadline on May 28, 2024, applies if any of these are submitted in-person at the registrar’s office.

The deadline for mailed in applications remains that they be postmarked by May 28, 2024.

Early/Absentee Voting for the City of Falls Church In-Person early voting began in May at our office at City Hall, 300 Park Ave, and will continue through Saturday, June 15th, 2024. During that time, residents wishing to vote early can do so 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

We are also open the following additional hours.

Saturday, June 8th: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, June 15th: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We are closed for the Memorial Day Holiday on May 27th

Mailed ballots with a postmark no later than June 18th can be received by our office until noon on Friday, June 21st, 2024

Vote By Mail: The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail is Friday, June 7th but we don’t recommend that you wait that long.

Election Day Reminders for the City of Falls Church

Ward 2 now votes at the Community Center with Ward 3. Falls Green Apartments is no longer a Polling Place.

Residents are reminded that on Election Day, street parking is available on both sides of Little Falls Street by the Community Center and on Oak, Seaton, Fellows, Parker, Timber, and Jackson near Oak Street Elementary School (formerly Thomas Jefferson Elementary School). Additional details, can be found online at www.fallschurchva.gov/Vote. Contact the Registrar’s office at 703-248-5085 (TTY 711) or vote@fallschurchva.gov for more information.

David B. Bjerke, MPP, CERA, VREO

Director of Elections & General Registrar of Voters, City of Falls Church Office of Voter Registration & Elections 300 Park Ave., Room 206C , Falls Church, VA 22046 Office: 703-248-5085; Fax: 703-248-5204 vote@fallschurchva.gov; http://www.fallschurchva.gov/vote




The City of Falls Church Historic Architectural Review Board will hold a public hearing on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 7:00 PM in City Hall’s Dogwood Room (first floor), 300 Park Ave, Falls Church, VA 22043 to consider the following:


FERSON ST: Addition of one level to the top of the existing western wing of the home.

Information or copies of the proposed alteration can be viewed at the Community Planning and Economic Development Services (CPEDS) counter at City Hall, 300 Park Avenue, Falls Church, VA, Monday through Friday (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). You may contact the Planning Division at plan@fallschurchva. gov with any questions or concerns.

This location is fully accessible to persons with physical disabilities and special services or assistance may be requested in advance.

(TTY 711)





The City of Falls Church Historic Architectural Review Board will hold a public hearing on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 7:00 PM in City Hall’s Dogwood Room (first floor), 300 Park Ave, Falls Church, VA 22043 to consider the following:


FERSON ST: Replacement of roof over back portion of existing home, transition from a flat roof to a gabled roof that extends over existing balcony associated with master bedroom.

Information or copies of the proposed alteration can be viewed at the Community Planning and Economic Development Services (CPEDS) counter at City Hall, 300 Park Avenue, Falls Church, VA, Monday through Friday (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). You may contact the Planning Division at plan@fallschurchva. gov with any questions or concerns.

This location is fully accessible to persons with physical disabilities and special services or assistance may be requested in advance. (TTY 711)

Invitation For Bids (IFB)

IFB 0618-24-BPTC

Berman Park Trail Crossings Project City of Falls Church


of Falls Church by electronic submission to the Purchasing Agent, James Wise, jwise@ fallschurchva.gov (email) for the provision of Berman Park Trail Crossings Project.

Due date for the electronic submission of Bids is Tuesday, June 18, 2024 @ 11:00 AM.

A Non-Mandatory Pre-Bid Conference will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams on May 21, 2024 (see the IFB for details). A copy of the IFB which includes all details and requirements may be downloaded from the City of Falls Church’s procurement website: www. fallschurchva.gov/Bids. Notice of the IFB may also be accessed via eVA, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s electronic procurement portal for registered suppliers, www.eva.virginia.gov.

For more information and/or questions regarding this IFB contact the City’s Purchasing Agent; (703) 248-5007; jwise@fallschurchva. gov. To request a reasonable accommodation for any type of disability, call 703 248-5007 (TTY 711).


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Community News & Notes

VPIS Donates, Plants 80 Coleuses Along W. Broad

On May 10, in coordination with the City of Falls Church’s Urban Forestry staff, the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS) Garden Committee donated and planted 80 coleuses in the planters of the north 100 and 200 blocks of W. Broad St.

State Police to “Diss-Rupt” Dangerous Driving on I-95

The Virginia State Police Fairfax, Culpeper, Richmond, and Chesapeake Divisions will be conducting Operation DISSrupt on all 179 miles of Interstate 95 in Virginia on May 16, 2024, and May 17, 2024. The traffic enforcement and educational safety initiative focuses on Distracted driving, Impaired driving, Speed compliance and Seat belt safety. A primary goal of this initiative is to prevent any fatal crashes from occurring on the interstate during the enforcement time period.

On January 10-11, Virginia State Police conducted a similar operation on Interstate 95 in Virginia. State Troopers cited 120 drivers

for reckless driving, 117 drivers for speeding, 33 drivers for violating Virginia’s “Hands Free” law, and 25 drivers and passengers for seatbelt violations (one improperly restrained child). There were no fatal crashes along the interstate during the enforcement period.

Virginia State Police also recorded no fatal crashes this year during “I-95 Drive to Save Lives,” April 19-21.

Memorial Day Parade and Festival Details

It is that time of year! The 42nd Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival is returning Monday, May 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the grounds of City Hall (300 Park Ave.). The event is rain or shine!

This family-friendly event has attractions for everyone, including a Memorial Day ceremony, parade, amusement rides, inflatables, live music, and over 70 vendor booths featuring local businesses, artisans, civic groups, and food, glorious food. Some surrounding streets will be closed beginning at 5:00 a.m. Check parking options and road closures ahead of time.

Full Schedule of Events:

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Festival

• Children’s amusements

• Vendor booths, including civic groups, crafters, local merchants, and food

9:00 a.m.: Beyer Auto 3K Fun Run

• Start Line: Great Falls St. at Little Falls St.

• Free! No Registration Required

• No rollerblades, scooters, bikes

9:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.: Main Stage

• The Coozies (9:15 a.m.)

• F.C. Concert Band (12:30 p.m.)

11:00 a.m.: Memorial Day Ceremony

• at Veterans Memorial

Keynote Speaker Major David Hatcher (Ret.) US Army

11:00 a.m. — 3:00 p.m.: Blood Drive Inova Blood Drive, located outside the Community Center

2:00 p.m.: Parade

• Parade route: Park Ave., between N. West St. & Little Falls St.

• Led by 2024 Grand Marshal, Mary Gavin

• “Best of” trophy presentation after the parade

THE VILLAGE Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS) Garden Committee donated and planted 80 Coleuses in planters along West Broad Street last Friday. (Photo: Sam Beatty) GAVIN HALE, founder of Meridian’s Renewable Energy Club, addressed City Council on Monday on sustainability awareness. (News-Press Photo) SCHOOL BOARD representatives took the floor to express concerns on the budget process at Monday’s City Council meeting. (News-Press Photo)

In Memoriam: Mary Clare Penney

Mary Clare Penney, 90, a resident of Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, passed away at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington on May 7, 2023.

Born in Oak Park, IL on August 31, 1933, she was the daughter of the late Paul and Kathryn (O’Connell) Bowman.

On June 30, 1962, she married Edward Penney. The two lived, worked, and raised their four daughters in the Middle East and South Asia, as well as Reston, VA. Mr.

Penney predeceased Mary Clare in 1998.

Mary Clare taught elementary school for many years, mostly 5th and 6th grade, and was later a school counselor. Growing up in Oak Park, IL, she attended Trinity High School and Mundelein College, graduating in 1955. She started her teaching career in Chicago, later teaching at the American School in Algiers, Algeria; Cairo American College in Cairo, Egypt; Our Lady of Good Counsel in Vienna, VA; and Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls, VA.

She was a big fan of hope. She constantly read about the world, looking for and finding inspiration in countless places, people, and ideas. Her work at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and on the Green Team at Goodwin House Baileys Crossroads was fruitful, fun and reflected her values. She desired to leave the world better than she found it for her children and grandchildren, with whom she relished time spent more than anything.

Mary Clare is survived by her

children, Dorothy Penney (Corning Painter) of Spring, TX and Fairfax, VA; Kathryn Penney of Falls Church, VA; Anne Miller (Joseph) of Falls Church, VA; Margaret Penney (Paul Burton); seven grandchildren: Kyle Painter (Alexa), Edward Painter, John Painter, Henry Phillips (Claire), Charles Phillips (Emma), Sarah Miller, David Miller; and brother, James Bowman (Winnie), sister-inlaw Mary Bowman; cherished cousins, and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband Edward, she is predeceased by her brothers, Jerome Bowman (Corina), Paul Bowman (Mary), John Bowman (Joan).

A Memorial Service will be held at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (2700 19th St. S, Arlington, VA) on Friday, May 17 at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Herndon, VA. Memorial donations in honor of Mary Clare Penney can be made to Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church and/or the World Wildlife Fund.

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The LGBTQ+ Reach

FBI, DHS Issue Pride Month Warning

Last Friday the FBI and DHS issued a public service announcement (PSA) alerting the public of the potential targeting of LGBTQIA+ related events and venues by foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) or their supporters, whom they say may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month.

The PSA noted that June 12 marks eight years since the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, that in February 2023 English language ISIS messaging featured antiLGBTQIA+ rhetoric and a call for lonewolf attacks, and that last June three alleged ISIS sympathizers were arrested attempting to attack a Pride parade in Vienna, Austria.

The PSA also included a list of warning signs of potential threat activity to look out for:

• Violent threats made online, in-person or via mail

• Unusual or prolonged testing or probing of security measures at events/venues

• Photography of security related equipment, personnel, or access points without a reasonable alternative explanation

• Unusual surveillance or interest in buildings, gatherings or events

• Attempts to enter or gain access to restricted areas, bypass security, or impersonate law enforcement officials

• Observation of or questions about facility security measures, including barriers, restricted areas, cameras, and intrusion detection systems without a reasonable alternative explanation

• Eliciting information from facility personnel regarding the nature of upcoming events, crowd sizes, busiest times of day, etc. without a reasonable alternative explanation

In an emergency, always call 911. To report a threat, contact your local FBI field office (fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices or 1-800-CALL-FBI), or find your local DHS tip line at tinyurl.com/dhsthreatreport.

EPW Pride Needs Volunteers on Saturday!

This Saturday, Equality Prince William (EPW) is hosting their third annual Pride festival, 12:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m. at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.

EPW has issued an urgent call for volunteers, needing to fill about 30 more two-hour shifts to ensure a smooth event. Needs range from selling raffle tickets or monitoring kids activity tables to assisting with setup/teardown. Volunteering at Pride events is super fun! Sign up to help out at tinyurl.com/EPW24pride.

Pride Prom 2024

Last month NOVA Pride and Safe Space NOVA met and decided to combine youth events, with NOVA Pride moving its April 27 event to Safe Space’s “Pride Prom: Out of the Shadows” event, May 31 at The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria!

Pride Prom is an opportunity for all high

school students (aged 14 and above — a plus one ticket may be purchased for a guest no older than 20), to have a fantastic Prom experience as their authentic selves, dance with whomever they wish, and meet their peers from around the region.

NOVA Pride board member Evita Peroxide, the local Drag persona you know for bringing several Drag events to The Little City including a monthly Drag Bingo and a monthly Family Drag Lunch at Clare and Don’s Beach Shack, will be the event’s emcee.

Tickets are on sale at prideprom.org and include non-alcoholic beverages, a waffle bar, and optional silent disco headphones for those wishing to participate, a sensory space, and more.

Love Wins in The Little City

Last Saturday was the third installment of the monthly “Miss Evita’s Family Drag Lunch,” an all-ages event catered to young children and their families, with bubbles, sing-alongs, dancing, and stories about kindness and accepting differences.

The event was first held in February, and was met with a handful of anti-LGBTQ+ protesters with hateful signs, who demonstrated across the street within view of the children.

In March the protest grew, with about a dozen demonstrating against Drag, the LGBTQ+ community, and (for whatever reason) abortion. They shouted at children and grandmothers as they walked into the venue.

While the F.C. event was paused in April for a personal vacation, another Drag story hour event at Freddie’s Beach Bar had to be evacuated after a bomb threat was received just before the show, with a dog-sniffing dog brought in from the Pentagon to clear the space before families could return.

With both events returning in May, I joined many in calling for community members to counterprotest. The Rainbow Defense Coalition — which forms barriers to protect children and queer folx and stands up for LGBTQIA2S+ rights in the DMV — was activated.

And the community was ready. Only a couple protesters showed up at Freddie’s on May 4, and they didn’t stick around, with dozens crowding the sidewalk decked out in rainbow gear. So was the case last Saturday in The Little City, where 20-30 counterprotesters lined up along the sidewalk in front of Clare and Don’s and at nearby crosswalks, most with large rainbow umbrellas — which when opened create a visual barrier between the families inside and any potential negativity happening outside.

Dave Tax, the owner of Clare and Don’s Beach Shack — who has been unwavering in his support of the community in face of these intimidation attempts — took things a step further, creating “haters stand here” placeholders where the protesters typically stand.

The protesters, if they came at all, decided to keep walking, with zero demonstrating.

Thank you to everyone who showed up.

Hate has no home in Northern Virginia.

Falls Church Business News & Notes

Falls Church Success Story

Dave Link, Richard Chart and Christopher Cordray founded ScienceLogic in a Falls Church garage in 2003 and within five years, the company was posting almost $6 million in annual revenue. ScienceLogic has acquired Restorepoint, Zebrium, and AppFirst. Today the software and services company is operating out of Reston with seven corporate locations on four continents.

Dr. Waters Presents an Economic Outlook

Dr. Keith Waters will give the Falls Church Chamber an update on the economy at the luncheon on Tuesday, May 21, 11:30 a.m. — 1:15 p.m. This is a popular topic and advanced reservations should be made on the chamber website business.fallschurchchamber.org/events/details/chamber-event-networking-luncheon-05-21-2024-73114?calendarMonth=2024-05-01 by 12:00 p.m. on Monday. Nonmembers are also welcome. Dr. Waters is the Assistant Director of the Center for Regional Analysis and the Stephen S. Fuller Institute at George Mason University. New Bus Service to Wineries

Vineyard Voyages has designed a service to Loudoun County wineries in three regions beginning Saturday, September 18. The seven-hour round trip excursion offers pick-up and drop-off service from the West Falls Church Metro stop on weekends and some holidays. Ticket prices start at $79.99 and allow for 60–90-minute stops at each winery.

Webinar: Independent Contractor Agreements

The Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia (CBP) offers a webinar on the differences between employees and independent contractors and the importance of using the appropriate language in contractor agreements. Bonnie Sanchez, Esq. leads this session on Tuesday, May 21, 12:00 p.m. — 1:00 p.m. This is free of charge and the link for registration is wbcnova.centerdynamics.com/workshop. aspx?ekey=10440084.

Paying for College

Anne Byerly, local Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, leads a session for those with questions about funding college education. Get the answers to your questions regarding 529 College Saving Plans, including the unique features, restrictions, and financial benefits. Learn saving strategies to reach your goals and gain a fundamental understanding of financial aid. The session is free and will be held Monday, May 20, 6:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. in the St. James Catholic School Library.

New Health and Wellness Center

Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness Center will celebrate its newest site at 7777 Leesburg Pike with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony today at 6:00 p.m. The public is welcome to participate with the Falls Church Chamber and members of the City Council. A reception will follow, and guests may learn more about the practice.

2024 WomensNet’s


Women business owners have the opportunity to apply for grants offered on a monthly basis. WomensNet, an online organization, founded the Amber Grant to give women-owned businesses grants. The Amber Grant was set up to honor the memory of Amber Wigdahl, who died at 19 years old, before realizing her business dreams. Judges review applications monthly, selecting 10 finalists, one of which will be awarded a $10,000 grant. Each winner then qualifies for the year-end grant of $25,000. All business categories, including non-profits, are eligible. To learn more and apply, visit ambergrantsforwomen.com/all-grants/.

 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.

Visit us online at FCNP.com
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