Falls Church News-Press 9-28-2023

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September 28 -

October 4, 2023

Plans Set for Renovation Of Motel Site


On top of all the new largescale mixed use projects recently completed or now going up around the City of Falls Church’s 2.1 square miles, there are four crowd-pleasing renovations of existing commercial sites that have either just opened or will in the immediate period ahead. All involve food.

Opening this week has been the Godfrey’s Bakery Cafe at 421 W. Broad Street which launched this Tuesday as a key aspect of the handsome new Meeting House building, former site of the Falls Church Florist, that also includes a renovated hotel and beer garden. A “family and friends” staff recognition and training event kicked it off last weekend, and now the family-run operation boasts sourdough bread from a 150-yearold starter and levain (look it up) are added to old-world artisanal techniques and farm-fresh ingredients, says the management.

Coming in just a couple weeks now is the revamped restaurant replacing the Liberty Barbecue at the corner of W. Broad and N. Virginia now known as “The Falls.” Its signage is already up. By the same people who set up the Liberty Barbecue not long ago, this new iteration will still feature slow smoked brisket, pork and ribs, adding trout filets, blue crab bisque, and array of unique salads and sides. Their sampling booth at

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A Rainy, Happy Festival

After over two years and two dozen public hearings, the Falls Church City Council gave its final approval to a change in the City’s transitional zones rules that will allow for more diverse housing by a 5-2 vote Tuesday night. It comes as a welcome opportunity for those who are put off by the fact that the average price of a single family home in the City is approaching $900,000.

Strident opposition from some citizens, including Mayor David Tarter and Council member David Snyder, failed to change the minds of the five members of the Council who stood firm in their votes from the time they gave preliminary approval earlier in the summer. Vice Mayor Letty Hardi was joined once again by colleagues Marybeth Connelly,

Phil Duncan, Debbie Shantz-Hiscott and Caroline Lian once again to cast “yes” votes to secure passage of the changes.

Heightened acrimony once again characterized last night’s hearing, as Snyder, insisting the changes have “fatal flaws” and failing to get any votes for his motion to table the matter, called his vote the most consequential in his two dozen years on the Council and Shantz-Hiscott assailed those who called her actions unethical or negligent. Such remarks, many of which were conveyed to Council members through emails, she said, were “untrue and unkind.” This new policy “will allow for all types of housing, and housing matters,” she said.

The options for condos, duplexes and “two over two” housing “is something we all desperately need and want” said Hardi. She said

“the risk of inaction is greater” and assured opponents that “the sky will not fall” as a result of the vote. “At the heart of opposition to this is fear,” she said. Although a lot of the new housing still won’t be cheap, she acknowledged, it will nonetheless offer the option for “starter homes” for many.

Connelly said that the issue was “unnecessarily divisive,” and safeguards were built in to insure there would be no more unsightly developments like some feel the backside of The Spectrum has brought to Park Avenue. “This vote is a good move for Falls Church,” she said.

Lian, the newest member of the Council, said the process and final vote make her “proud to be a citizen of Falls Church,” because so many were vocal and passionate about the future of the City, and driven by “a very noble intent.” The changes, she

said, “will be incrementally beneficial.”

Duncan said “there is hardly anything good that happens without strong disagreements,” and that “there were thoughtful pro and con arguments,” but the vote “tackled the issue of housing” in the context of “good progress on affordable housing.” He said he felt “the heavy weight of our posterity” in the vote.

Tarter, in casting the only ‘no’ vote besides Snyder, said the measure was “not yet ready,” and cited the near thousand residential units now or soon to be under construction in the City.

There was another strong contingent of citizens who spoke out prior to the vote, split between opponents to the changes such as former mayor Nader Baroukh and Council candi-

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 iii n o . 33 Continued on Page 4 Finally! Pro-HousingT-Zone Reforms Get OK, 5-2
At Redone
A Plethora of New Eateries
Locations Due
IT WAS OVERCAST and a little rainy on Sunday, but the party went on in Falls Church for the annual Fall Festival and Taste of Falls Church. The weather did not deter those who set out to show up and enjoy the event. See Page 18 for
Winners of the Taste of Falls Church. (
Photo: Gary Mester) Falls Church News-Press


Kaine, Warner Warn Of Fed Shutdown

As the federal government funding deadline approaches this weekend, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the following statement on the need to fund the government and prevent 1.3 million service members nationwide from being forced to work without pay:

“In just days, the U.S. government will run out of funding, triggering an entirely preventable government shutdown that will have disastrous consequences on large swaths of Americans, including federal workers, seniors, veterans, and Americans who rely on timely government services. For servicemembers, who already sacrifice so much in service to our country, this shutdown will be particularly devastating. In Virginia alone, 129,400 active-duty servicemembers will be forced to continue working without pay – a phenomenon that will undermine our national security and threaten the wellbeing of military families. Servicemembers should never be put in this situation. We urge our colleagues in the House of Representatives to put our military and our country before politics. Congress must do its job and fund the government.”

Dehgani-Tafti Sites Drug, Mental Health Crises

With a sharp rise in fentanyl over-doses in teenagers, Falls Church and Arlilngton’s Commonwealth Attorney Dehgani-Tafti stated at public forum on criminal justice reform last Friday that there is a need to focus on mental health care, specifically for younger individuals, so that they don’t get to “a place where they want to use.”

The Northern Virginia Democratic Business Council hosted the event that included all three commonwealth attorneys from the region to take on the tough issues they face.

“Drugs and mental health issues are very significant,” Dehgani-Tafti said. “Just last night, a 16 year old overdosed and died. The number of overdoses that we’re having in schools is astonishing and it’s all fentanyl.”

(Read the full story at FCNP.com)

F.C. Council Hails Hispanic Heritage Month

In addition to a special reception outside their chambers at City Hall Tuesday, the Falls Church City Council issued a proclamation recognizing Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month in Falls Church.

The proclamation noted that the population of Latin American and Hispanics makes up about nine percent of the total City population, and is expected to grow to 10.6 percent by 2025.

Local Man Charged With Hit & Run in Traffic Death

Brian C. Diffell, 46, of Falls Church has been ch arged with a felony hit and run by Fairfax Police yesterday after he called in from a garage in the Mosaic district of Merrifield to report he’d hit a pedestrian with his SUV on the on-ramp from I-495 North to Route 50. The pedestrian, Douglas Haskett, 55 of Ashburn, was reported dead at the scene.

Reports are that Diffell is a married father of two residing in Falls Church, the president of WTG Global, a division of the Washington Tax Public Policy Group. Haskett was identified as a CPA.

Rape Suspect in Quarry Inn Sought By Fairfax Police

Detectives are seeking the community’s help identifying a suspect related to a rape at the Quarry Inn Motel in the Mosby neighborhood.

On Sept. 16 at 6:40 p.m. the suspect arranged to meet the victim at the Quarry Inn Motel at 7179 Lee Highway. When she opened the door, the suspect displayed a knife and threatened the victim. The suspect then sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to escape the room and call 911. Officers and detectives immediately began canvasing for leads.

Officers discovered surveillance footage of the suspect walking near the scene. Still images of the suspect were collected. The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his 20’s, thin with acne or scars on his face.

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Renovations Lead to Major New Restaurants in Downtown F.C.

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the Falls Church Festival last weekend was highly popular.

A little further down the road but still much anticipated, if for nothing other than the removal of the remnants of the old Stratford Motel, which has become a singular eyesore downtown at 300 W. Broad, is a proposed indoor-outdoor restaurant used by the successful Dominion Wine and Beer further up the street. This will be a “by right” use, meaning it needs only to win site plan approval from the Planning Commission to begin the renovation that will include taking down one of the two buildings at the site and rehabbing the other building, the site of a former restaurant.

Lastly among currently coming-along redos in downtown is the former bank site at 603 W. Broad that is already renovated and its upstairs office spaces filled that will be home to a Smoothie King drive-through as soon as all the logistics are ironed out. The is the latest of the Young Group’s efforts in the Little City.

Meanwhile, the new restaurants in Founder’s Row One are humming along, with the Ellie Bird scoring major reviews on regional and even national sites. Highly successful in their opening of the Rooster and Owl in D.C. in 2019, the owners of Ellie Bird tout that they are both natives of Falls Church. “We were both raised in Falls Church, held our first hospitality jobs as teens on Broad Street, and live in the area; not to mention both our parents still live minutes from Founder’s Row. We wanted to provide the area with a chef-driven, fun, and approachable option for a fun dinner out, pre-movie brunch, or weeknight takeaway,” they say on their website.

In his presentation to the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce last week, Paul Stoddard, the City’s Chief Planner, touted the robust growth in the City, which at the same time has seen an actual 9.3 percent decrease in vehicular traffic, with almost 50,000 fewer trips daily running through the City owing to concerted efforts at City Hall to encourage alternative forms of travel.

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Transitional Zones Rules Updated

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-date Erin Flynn, and voices favoring the changes for the diversity of housing options that will result in the context of the greater region’s housing shortage crisis, including David Gustafson, Aaron Wilkowitz, Mostafa El Nahass and Joseph Schlarizzi. Wilkowitz argued the changes will bring more customers to City businesses, improve the environment by permitting the retention of forests in outlying areas, and allow for more community. He added, “Urban aes-

thetics are beautiful.”

Local developer Bob Young, chair of the City’s Economic Development Authority, in a written statement to the News-Press, added, “It’s a relief to me that the T-Zone code revisions have been approved by Council after over two years and 26 or so public hearings. It’s clear from the numerous revisions incorporated by Council over this time period that it has carefully listened to the substantial public input it’s received and produced a code that will permit additional housing that, by Falls Church standards, will be reasonably priced.”

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The Younger Folks Who Led Us

Just as with regional neighbors Arlington County and Montgomery County in Maryland, the City of Falls Church has responded to the national housing crisis with a modest move to modify its “transitional zones” rules to permit some housing types and alternative uses in the sparse areas defined as “transitional” between residentially- and commercially-zoned areas of its 2.1 square miles.

It’s hardly a drop in the bucket, but for all the angst and heartburn it caused here in over two years of haggling, you’d have thought folks were fighting over something much more important. As important as housing is, perhaps the nation’s Number One crisis, actually, the tiny scale our local officials were tasked with handling nonetheless sent a lot of locals into orbit, fearing the worst for their treasured homes. Frankly, it’s an ugly, highly prejudicial and racist history that created the zoning in the wider region that so sharply restricted areas where only single family homes have been permitted. It is not worth rehashing the arguments that a certain segment of the City’s population became fixed upon in what was ultimately a losing cause, by a 5-2 vote of the City Council Tuesday night, except to remark about how unsightly and uncivil it became, especially in emails to members of the Council, bordering in some cases on obsessive mob-like behavior.

Here’s our message to those most arduously involved: Let it go.

Council members were kind in their concluding remarks about the virtues of disagreements in matters of importance. But perhaps it’s a reflection of how angry and polarized our national discourse has become, in general: we found this heated debate sadly over the top coming from certain quarters.

However, most heartening to us in the midst of all of this was the willingness of a younger cohort of our population to step up and speak out. That is, young adults in their 20s and 30s coming to the podium at City Council meetings, including this week’s, to chime in with vigor in support of the zoning changes. These are younger people who reflect the ages and savvy of those who carried the ball for the City staff in supporting this measure, the Planning Department chief Paul Stoddard and this project manager Jack Trainor. In our long history covering all things Falls Church, participation from this demographic, in particular, has been rare at best. But it is, we hope, a reflection of where we’re headed.

Younger adults are moving into Falls Church in greater numbers than ever before, insofar as housing prices allow. They will fill the lion’s share of the efficiency and one-bedroom apartments being built all over town now, and with them are coming values that are more both environmentally sensible and economic development-supportive. They’re intelligent, articulate and favoring “sustainable growth” and the cultural and lifestyle changes that go with it.. Done right, they stand to make Falls Church one of the most desirable destinations in America. Next up: auxiliary dwelling units. Get ready!


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Are We Sleepwalking to A Second Trump Term?

we’re learning that in this range of perception between the ultra big and ultra small, there seems to be a developing pattern.

Molly JongFast’s article in the latest Vanity Fair , “Let’s Not Sleepwalk Into Another Trump Presidency,” suggests an unsettling proposition in its title.

Indeed, if you add everything up, all the legal charges and salacious claims against Trump, his poor track record in elections since 2016 and revelations about his intentions on the infamous January 6, it is incredibly troubling indeed that he remains the undisputed frontrunner to win the Republican nomination to be their candidate for a second term in the White House after the 2024 elections.

All the very considerable efforts since 2015 to knock him out as a political force in U.S. life have failed. The polls now show he’ll be everything from a landslide winner to neck-andneck with Joe Biden in the next election. This can’t be true, can it? To what extent is it our own hubris that prevents us from acknowledging this? Or lack of creativity?

As for Trump, none of the efforts to derail him have succeeded at all, as much as just saying that may upset people who are working so hard at it, myself included. Is this the time to panic, at least in hopes that might do some good?

This writer doesn’t pretend to have the answer, except that we may be needing to go more to the heart of the matter. At its most basic this is a battle between good and evil, although that, too. offends many people who don’t like the idea of evil.

But life experience, mine at least, suggests otherwise. It is not pandering to proponents of superstition or cult brainwashing to take a much broader look at this cosmos in which we find ourselves, such as we’ve had an unprecedented opportunity to do with the functioning in the last year of the Webb Telescope broadcasting images from deep space. Here, for my money,

Light is good. Darkness not so much. Formation of infinite numbers of stars that generate light and heat provides for us on this planet, at least, the preconditions for life, and life is good. The reason it is good is simply that it affords the ability to knowingly grow itself. More light. More life. More good.

But it is also evident that darkness, or lack of light, is not simply the absence of light, but functions in the universe as akin to “black holes,” gaping spaces that devour and knock out light. Except for theologically, shall we say, this is a recent discovery. In fact, it could be said that the existence of a force that stands against light is the only real reason to have theology at all.

We, us humans in this time and space, may not have been around that long in cosmic terms, but the stuff in us has been for millions of years. Embedded in our stuff is the experience of the universe, living in each and all.

It should not be lost on us that in our recent experience as humans, we’ve learned that there is a relation between light, warmth, connections between us and the phenomenon we identify with the term, “love.’ This connection can be extrapolated to the entire cosmos and there is nothing to oppose that notion, except for that which we observe is actively against it.

Could it be that it is in our very DNA, the million-years old molecules that make each of us up, we recognize this?

Why would the essential prayer given us centers on the lines, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil?”

I believe we all know this in our bones, so to speak. We sentient beings are smarter than most we know of; it is our calling to resist evil.

Trump is aligned with evil. He’s made the conscious decision to emulate its forms, such as Hitler. But more than that, he is the face of a generation of highly immoral men who now are the wealthiest one percent in the world, who own and control everything, and are determined to tamp us down.

Our Man in Arlington

It took five decades and National Hispanic Heritage month for Latino education pioneer Emma Violand-Sanchez to share some highly personal details of her immigration story.

The native of Cochabamba, Bolivia, who in 2008 became Arlington’s first Latino school board member, spoke Sept. 14 to the Arlington Historical Society about her pains and triumphs over the “culture shock” common to many who come to America.

Now 78 as a member of Arlington’s largest minority group, Violand-Sanchez continues to give back.

In 1961 in La Paz, Bolivia, her family of six sisters had to split—her father, political leader Adalberto Violand Alcazar, was exiled to Peru. “It was difficult for my mother, for economic and political reasons,” to support them, she said. “That decision reflects why it is difficult and painful to leave one’s family and culture.”

Emma at age 16 was sent to Fairfax County, where she enrolled—with only a bit of English—at Mount Vernon High School. “I’ve never forgotten driving from National Airport on the George Washington Parkway and exclaiming, This is beautiful,” she said.

She settled in Lorton. And though she did not understand American racial peculiarities at the then-segregated high school, she was light-skinned enough to qualify. A “terrifying” life with a language barrier left her “frustrated

and lonely—which pushed me to work with immigrants,” she recalled. But eventually she ended up scoring the school’s first 800 on college board Spanish achievement test. That prompted her guidance counselor to “look at me in a different way, to look at the role of a first language” rather than underestimating her.

Violand-Sanchez also worked as a nanny for an American family that encouraged her to consider college. The Quaker family tutored her and wrote her “a wonderful letter of recommendation.”

After visits to the campuses of Georgetown University and Trinity College, she ended up with a scholarship to Radford, then a women’s college. There she met her first husband, Virginia Tech ROTC student Albert Giddings. Just months after their marriage in July 1967, he received his orders to ship off to Vietnam. It was in August of the tumultuous political year 1968 that she became a war widow.

A grief-stricken Emma ViolandSanchez focused on earning her master’s at Radford in counseling. She returned to Bolivia, where she and friends organized to help isolated rural schools hire teachers. But she felt “frustrated by the glass ceiling” in her old country. Deciding to take advantage of her status as a U.S. citizen and war widow, she moved to Arlington and enrolled in George Washington University for a doctorate.

In 1976, she was hired by Arlington Public Schools as a bilingual resource teacher at Key and Patrick Henry elementary schools. The timing was right:

Superintendent Larry Cuban was responding to national court decisions requiring schools to invest in English as a second language instruction, when she was made secondary school coordinator for a federal grant.

1976 also brought war refugees from Vietnam to Arlington. And in the 1980s, after a second wave of Spanish-speaking students made Wakefield High School crowded, she launched a second program at Washington-Lee (now Liberty). The 1980s brought refugees fleeing the violence in Central America, she noted, and the later student tongues would range from Urdu to Mongolian.

In 2010, Violand-Sanchez helped found the Dream Project, which continues to help immigrant students with scholarships, mentoring, family engagement and advocacy.

“Culture shock,” she says, can ease. “After you work hard, you can feel you belong here.” ***

The Sycamore School, Arlington’s only nonreligious private school, celebrated its move from Ballston (behind the Holiday Inn) to Rosslyn at 1550 Wilson Blvd. The ribbon-cutting Sept. 14 was attended by members of the county board, the chamber of commerce and the Rosslyn BID. Attendees thanked Arlington Economic Development for help in the relocation.

Founded in 2017 by psychologist Karyn Ewart to provide a less-stressful alternative middle school, Sycamore’s student body of 6-8th graders has grown from 14 to 70.


Fall Senior Living

See Pages 9-17

Falls Church City Remains An All Encompassing Community for 50+

Older adults are projected to outnumber children under the age of 18 for the first time in U.S. history by 2034, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections.

As demographics shift and populations change so do a community’s needs. The City of Falls Church had a 13.2 percent population over the age of 65 while maintaining a 24.5 percent population under 18 as reported in the 2022 Census. This number will only continue to grow as the Little City and its business community continues to bolster its development and resources geared towards older adults.

Wether older adults choose to

move into age restrictive communities, assisted living or decide to age in place the City of Falls Church has the means to accomodate all the above.

Here are ten steps and considerations for those looking to plan for life after retirement or as they age.

1. Assessment of Needs: Begin by understanding current and potential future health needs.

2. Modify Your Home: For those looking to age in place, safety first. Insatlling grab bars in the bathroom, non-slip flooring, improved lighting, and railings on both sides of staircases. Accessibility, consider a walkin shower, ramps for entrance ways, and possibly a stairlift if there’s a second floor.

Maintenance: Opt for low maintenance materials and designs. This will reduce the need for regular upkeep.

3. Stay Connected: Falls Church City Community Center, Kenneth R. Burnett Building, an award-winning recreation facility located adjacent to Cherry Hill Park and in the heart of the city, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, and other public spaces often host events for older adults.

4. Stay Active: Physical activity is a crucial part of healthcare. Consider walking in one of Falls Church’s parks or joining a local senior exercise class.

5. Financial Planning: Plan for future costs. This includes potential home modifica-

tions, medical expenses, or inhome care services. Investigate if there are any local grants or assistance programs for seniors wanting to renovate their homes for accessibility in Falls Church.

6. Build a Support System: Develop a local network of friends, neighbors, or community groups that can check in on you.

7. Healthcare Access: Ensure easy access to your healthcare providers or consider one of the local in home care providers.

8. Stay Informed: The city has local organizations, newspapers, and websites dedicated to senior resources and news. Stay updated on any new services, policies, or programs.

9. Plan for Mobility: As driving becomes challenging, look into public transportation options, local shuttle services for seniors, or rideshare programs.

10. Utilize Local Services: Falls Church, has access to various services. These include grocery delivery, home care agencies, and transportation services tailored for seniors.

Aging in place in Falls Church, VA, is entirely feasible with proper planning and leveraging local resources. Given the city’s strong sense of community, it’s a welcoming place for seniors looking to retain their independence while staying connected. The FCNP Fall Senior Living Guide provides many businesses and resources to help in the process. See pages 9-17.

FALL SENIOR LIVING SEPTEMBER 28 - OCTOBER 4, 2023 | PAGE 11 FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM GOODWIN, GREAT COMMUNITY Welcome to The View Alexandria by Goodwin Living TM! We’re a nonprofit, faith-based organization that has been uplifting the lives of older adults since 1967. The View Alexandria offers senior living at its best — a carefree, vibrant lifestyle made affordable by a rental contract. You can choose from a range of floor plans, and you’ll feel right at home among our friendly residents. Learn more and connect with us to schedule a personal tour! 571.568.8224 | TheViewAlexandria.org

Popular British artist Elton John once stated: “Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” In the City of Falls Church and surrounding areas, this quote rings true for various senior citizens.

Encore Creativity for Older Adults, the Falls Church Senior Center and Friday Morning Music Club are just some of the various organizations offering musical activities and classes for senior adults. Recent studies have shown that music has been linked to neurological benefits, such as improved memory and mood.

Mary Ann East, the director of Arts for Life at Encore, said through singing groups, she has seen “lots of friendship and support” built. For those experiencing cognitive change, East said members are more engaged with not only their care partners, but with the other singers.

“Many of the care partners have expressed that even for several hours after our rehearsals, [singers] are more engaged, talkative and energetic,” East said.

Encore Creativity for Older Adults, established in 2007 by

Jeanne Kelly, grew out of a national study that focused on how singing, dancing and theater impacted the health of senior citizens.

“In all three studies, they did find improvements in health, but the most significant improvements were found with the singing group,” East said. “They have less falls, reductions in medication and doctor’s visits….and most of the singers didn’t want to stop singing.”

With locations in Alexandria and Reston, Encore offers different types of choirs, ranging from classical repertoire to rock and roll/pop groups. Under East’s division, she said she concentrates on those experiencing cognitive change with two musical groups; one for early to mid-stage cognitive change called “Sentimental Journey” singers and the other for mid to later-stage called “Melody Makers.”

Along with benefitting the mind, East said senior citizens involved in musical activity can experience physical health benefits, such as oxygenating the blood and increasing cardiac exercise. More information about Encore can be found at encorecreativity.org.

Here in the Little City, the Falls Church Senior Center offers multiple

programs, activities and classes for local senior citizens, such as regular musical performances and ballroom dancing.

Tracy Browand, the director of the senior center, said she has seen these musical programs and activities impact the participating seniors, as it brings them “pleasure and a lot of reminiscing.”

“I think it’s a win-win for everyone,” Browand said. “For the performer to come and perform and then for our seniors to get so much from them, it really makes a difference.”

One new thing Browand said she will be starting at the center is a music club, which will allow seniors to come and perform for other seniors. More information about the Falls Church Senior Center can be found at fallschurchva.gov/611/ Senior-Center.

“I think music is essential [because] it makes people feel happy and brings back memories,” Browand said. “Music is an important part of everyday life.”

Friday Morning Music Club (FMMC) has promoted classical music in the Washington area for over 130 years. People of all ages and musical abilities can audition to

be a part of the organization, including senior citizens.

FMMC’s president Leslie Luxemburg, said that studies have shown that continued exposure to music is “of great benefit” to seniors, further adding that the music club does not have an age limit when it comes to its performers.

“It’s an opportunity for people to still enjoy performing because the pressures are not quite the same as a public concert,” Luxemburg said. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for these audiences to share in this love of music.”

Dr. Albert Hunt has been a mem-

ber of FMMC for about 15 years, joining the organization after being invited by friends to play in the orchestra. Describing himself as a professional musician, Hunt said FMMC led him to meet more people and begin playing chamber music.

“With older people, there’s a definite association with mental cognition and music,” Hunt said. “I’m no scientist, but the research shows that it’s a lot less likely for someone to have memory issues associated with dementia.”

For more information about FMMC, please visit fmnc.org.

Uplifted by Various Music Programs and Activities
Senior Citizens
Coordinated Services Management, Inc.—Professional Management of Retirement Communities since 1981. 703-531-0781 | chesterbrookres.org 2030 Westmoreland St. | Falls Church A Caring Assisted Living Retirement Community Saturday, October 14 1:00 3:00 PM • Family Fun • Petting Zoo • Bounce House • Picture Booth • Pumpkin Decorating • Snacks + Apple Cider FREE Community Event FALL Outdoor event. Donations will be accepted to benefit our Care Trust Fund. Call 703-531-0781 for details! FALL SENIOR LIVING
MUSICAL ACTIVITY, such as Encore Creativity (shown above) can help with seniors’ mental and physical health. (P����: E��� S��������)

Your years of service taught you the importance of physical fitness and keeping your body ready for action. At Falcons Landing this idea lives on, but we replaced the obstacle course with walking trails, drill sergeants with personal trainers and PT in the dirt with a state-of-the-art fitness center, including a Junior Olympic indoor swimming pool. You’ll still break a sweat, but now it will be with a smile on your face.



(no alarm necessary)
for Independent Living at Falcons Landing is open to any officer that has served, senior level federal employees GS14 and above, spouses or surviving spouses. If you are looking for short-term rehab, long-term care, assisted living or memory care, no military or government background is required.


Maintaining an Active Lifestyle Helps with Happiness For 50+



• Age 50+ Jobseekers attend two FREE Workshops in the morning and Network with area employers in the afternoon. Register at virtualexpos.accessjca.org

• Northern Virginia Employers with at least 3 professional openingsRegistration is Complimentary. Register at virtualexpos.accessjca.org


Upcoming Expo S

Funded by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

Made possible by a grant from Montgomery County Government Questions? Email

“You have to decide what makes you happy — and work ain’t it.” laughed A. Michael Stevens, during our interview discussing life after work. Retirement can mean a lot of things to a lot of people — and for Stevens, six years into his early retirement, travel takes center stage in this chapter of his life. Travel, though he says, isn’t the key — it’s finding your own joy.

After a decades-long career in Government administration and oversight, he decided to take early retirement after a heartbreaking 2016 — during which he lost his mother, sister, and husband in rapid succession. It may have cost him a piece of his pension, but by early 2017 Stevens was ready. “I knew I had enough to live comfortably,” he remarked, as we looked out the window of his condo in Courthouse with an enviable panoramic D.C. view.

Many don’t plan for retirement, and to Stevens, that’s the simplest piece of advice he can give to folks worried whether they will be able to afford a healthy post-job life. “You have to know what you need, and have a plan to get there.”

In addition to the condo in Arlington he bought with his late husband in 2008, Stevens rents a home in central Florida year-round, typically spending about four months at each annually. The remainder of the year he can typically be found traversing the globe on a variety of cruise ships. He doesn’t like cold winters, but he loves D.C. in the summer months, so he spends those here, “winters in Florida,” then spends the late winter and early spring on the seas. He recently booked his 99th cruise in 2024, to Antarctica and South America.

Stevens notes that many don’t really plan for retirement, never thinking about the income level they’ll need in order to maintain the lifestyle they desire in their senior years, and that keeps retirement out of reach for many.

& Online)

2023/24 SESSION



#3: January 16, 17, 19, 22, 24

#4: February 26, 28 & March 1, 4, 6

#5: April 8, 10, 12, 15, 17 and Session #6: June

12320 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD.

* To check whether your session is in-person/online and to register.

Call: (301) 255-4215

E-mail: Career.Gateway@AccessJCA.org

Visit: accessjca.org/career-gateway/

Made possible by generous funding from Montgomer y County Aging and Disability Ser vices The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, NextSO Initiative, and JCA - the Jewish Council for the Aging

But what’s his secret? Stevens is always on a trip, always smiling, and is constantly meeting new people. It’s not the retirement one typically imagines (or fears), where finances are tight, social interactions decline, and life slows down. On the contrary, he seems to have figured out how to thrive in his golden years.

Simply put, he makes sure he never wastes a single day — at least not entirely. When Stevens first retired, he made a simple rule that he’s stuck with. “I decided to make sure I did one productive thing every single day, whether getting groceries for the week, doing laundry… whatever” he shared, “and then I can do

whatever I want — even if that’s doing nothing at all!”

Oxford University agrees, listing making every day meaningful as the most important thing one should do to thrive in retirement — and it’s one of the best things you can do (other than what your doctor recommends) in order to extend your life. Despite the financial concerns most have leading up to their retirement, 80 percent of seniors agree that the key to a happy retirement is health, not wealth. And mental health — in particular a feeling of purpose and meaning — plays an important role in keeping one’s overall health up.

All the trips sound wonderful, but Stevens is very clear that one doesn’t need to go on extensive vacations to find their perfect retirement. Every week, at least during his months in the DMV, he treks to Foundry United Methodist Church for their Sunday service (this past Sunday, he notes, was their 28th anniversary as an LGBTQ+ welcoming congregation), on nicer days walking the nearly four-mile trek across the Key Bridge through Georgetown to the church’s location east of Dupont Circle. However you define joy, feel a sense of purpose, or find a supportive community, prioritize those things in retirement. Doctors, scientists, and Stevens agree: doing so will make your golden years longer, healthier, and full of excitement.

PAGE 14 | SEPTEMBER 28 - OCTOBER 4, 2023
JCA's Can Help! ARE YOU AGE 50+ AND A JOBSEEKER? JOIN US! Employment Expos and Career G ateway
Oct. 12th 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Today at
County, MD
Nor thern Virginia Montgomer y
Februar y 15 & April 18, 2024 Nov.
2023 |
9 & Mar. 19, 2024
SCAN ME #2: *October 30 & November 1, 3, 6, 8 (Interactive
3, 5, 7, 10, 11
STEVENS, ENJOYING a Lisbon historical tramcar tour during a vacation in Portugal this past July. (Photo: A. Michael Stevens)

Friday Morning Music Club

Sharing classical music since 1886— and not just on Fridays!

Free and open to the public!

CONCERTS in September & October 2023

September 30 at 7:30pm:

Avanti Orchestra concert, Conductor Shun Yao - Unsuk Chin, Mahler Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center, 7995 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD

October 6 at noon:

Chamber concert - Martinu, Debussy, Brahms

St. George’s Episcopal Church, 915 N Oakland St, Arlington, VA

October 13 at noon:

Chamber concert - Haydn, Glière, Poulenc

St. George’s Episcopal Church, 915 N Oakland St, Arlington, VA

October 15 at 3pm:

Chamber concert - Bruch, Songs by Female Composers, Haydn The Lyceum, 201 S Washington St, Alexandria, VA

October 18 at 1pm:

Chamber concert - Bruch, Schoenfeld, Fanny Mendelssohn

JCC of No. Virginia, 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax, VA

October 19 at noon:

Chamber concert - Soler, Scarlatti, Ravel, Schumann, Pleyel Old Town Hall, 3999 University Dr, Fairfax, VA

October 20 at noon:

Chamber concert - Hailstorck, La Montaine, Granados

LIVE! @ 10th & G, 945 G St NW, Washington, DC

October 24 at 7:30pm:

Chamber concert - Brahms, Bartók, Clarke, Bach Goodwin House, 4800 Fillmore Ave, Alexandria, VA

October 26 and 28 at 8pm:

Arioso Chorale concert, Conductor Paul LeavittCharpentier, Haydn, Verdi, Bruckner

Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St NE, Washington, DC

For more information, visit: fmmc.org/calendar

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Falls Church Presbyterian Hosts Small Group Discussions

On September 30, The Falls Church Presbyterian Church will hold small group discussions in their Memorial Hall East Room

Come engage in small group discussions about real world experiences responding to and participating in difficult conversations about identity, race, gender, and inclusion. This non-secular workshop is free and they will use the time to practice how to be more impactful when faced with opportunities to speak up and speak out during unexpected or even planned challenging, critical, conversations. Register here: 2023workshopsept30.eventbrite.com.

Shepherd’s Center Hosting Pickleball Mixer & Fundraiser

Join the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia for their 2nd annual Pickleball Mixer & Fundraiser. This event will be held at Worldgate Health Club & Spa (13037 Worldgate Drive, Herndon) October 19 from 12:30 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.

Attendees of all playing levels are welcome. There will be a tutorial for beginners, competitive play for advanced players, two golf simulator stations, health refreshments, a smoothie bar, a silent auction, and lots of fun. All proceeds go to The Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia (SCNOVA) and their mission to improve the lives of the older adults in the Vienna, Oakton, Reston, Herndon, Dunn Loring, Great Falls, and Merrifield Virginia areas that they serve.

St James Church to Host Food Drive Soon

Once again, St James Church, in conjunction with the St Lucy Food Project of Catholic Charities, will conduct a food drive on Saturday, September 30th from 10:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m. It is a drive through donation event located on Spring Street, in front of St James Church. Last year, the church collected 8,400 pounds of food which greatly helped the food insecure population in the area. With the high cost of food, rent and gas many of our fellow

neighbors are struggling to provide necessities for their families.

League of Women Voters to Host Membership & Meeting

It’s voting season and now is the time to get involved with the League of Women Voters. Arina van Breda, Director of Voter Registration for LWV Fairfax Area, will talk about voter registration opportunities and training to help jump right in. Held on Thursday, October 5 at the Falls Church Community Center on the 2nd floor Art Room.

Grace Christian Academy Awarded Community Grant

Grace Christian Academy was awarded a $1,000 Community grant through Walmart’s Tysons Corner store #5936. The funds will be used to equip a new pickleball P.E. program.

“Pickleball aligns with our school’s physical education goals,” said Assistant Principal Jacob Price. “It improves eye-hand coordination and balance and supports healthy hearts. Pickleball is inclusive and focuses on strategy and team building. We could not offer this program without the generosity of Walmart/ Sam’s Club and their Community Grant program.”

NVSO Opening Day Has Record Turnout

“The opening ceremonies of the 2023 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics was a rousing success,” said Riley Geary, NVSO Vice Chair. Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey welcomed the senior athletes to Arlington and wished them “Good Luck” in their track events which followed the opening ceremonies at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center.

Vice Chair Geary said, “In addition to having the largest number of participants overall this year, the track events produced 20 plus broken records.” Other events held the first week of competition in various venues throughout Northern Virginia included ERG rowing, diving, tennis, 10 pin bowling, Wii bowling, eight and nine ball pool, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, croquet, Mexican train dominoes, Sudoku,

Taste of Falls Church Winners

rummikub, swimming, scrabble, cornhole toss and Mah Jongg. Geary said he expects the second week of events will “produce even more records broken.” The second week of events includes more field events, racquetball, mini golf, line dancing, disc golf, canasta, bocce, horseshoes, pickleball, 9 hole, 3 par golf, table tennis, basketball skills, 5K trail race, orienteering and 10K and 20 K cycling.

Annual Plein Air Festival Brings Art to Falls Church

Artists from across the region gathered in historic Falls Church when the 2023 “Scenes in the City” Plein Air Festival began on September 15. This unique event celebrates the art of plein air painting where artists work quickly outdoors to capture the ever-changing light and atmosphere.

Artists can register at https:// fallschurcharts.org. To enter the competition, participants must have their canvas or papers stamped. Stamps may be obtained during business hours from September 15-29 at Falls Church Arts gallery at 700-B West Broad Street or Art and Frame of Falls Church at 307 East Annandale Road.

The event concludes on Saturday, September 30 when art entered in the competition is judged beginning at 8 a.m. From 8 — 11 a.m., a Quick Draw competition, open to all levels and all ages, will take place.

F.C. & Arlington County to Host Expungement Clinic

Arlington County and the City of Falls Church will host an expungement clinic on Saturday, September 30 from 10:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. at The Arlington Presbyterian Church (918 S. Lincoln St., Arlington).

The filing fee coverage is $91, and will be covered on a first-come, firstserve basis while funds last. People are encouraged to bring Warrant of Arrest or Final Disposition for each charge sought to be expunged. Criminal records must consist of Arlington County/City of Falls Church charges to expunge in this jurisdiction. If one has not pre-registered, please arrive no later than 10:30 a.m. to complete initial paperwork.

ON SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 16th, Greenwich hosted the 27th Annual Greenwich St Block Party, organized by Justine Underhill and Victoria Cortes. The event included the �irst ever pet parade, and live performance by MHS student Hanah Boesen. (P����: J������ U��������)

THE ANNUAL NUN FUN Run was held on September 16. This event raises money for the IHM Sisters retirement home. (P����: B������ S�����) FROM TOP TO BOTTOM Best overall Taste: Taco Bamba. Best Menu : Tie with The Falls/Northside Social and Hot N Juicy. People’s Choice: Harvey’s (P�����: G��� M�����)



Virtual Rise and Grind

Join spotlight speakers Lisa Menckhoff (she/he/they) and Kevin Hanley (he/him) for an informative and interactive workshop, "Safeguarding Your Business: Exploring Essential Insurance Options for Business Owners." Virtual (Online, Free to attend, Registration required at business.eccdc.biz/ events), 9:00 a.m. — 10:30 a.m.

City Council Candidate Forum

The Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS) and the F.C. League of Women Voters host a City Council candidate debate. Audience members will have an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates. The event will not be on FCCTV, but will be streamed on facebook. Falls Church Senior Center (223 Little Falls St., Falls Church), 7:30 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.



Ukulele Baby Lap Time

For ages 0-24 months w/ caregiver. A short lapsit with story, songs on ukulele, and rhymes. Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 N. Virginia Ave., Lower Level Conf. Rm., Falls Church, 10:30 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.

Sunset Cinemas: Super Mario Bros. Movie

Free outdoor movies, Fridays through October 13. This week: "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave., Falls Church, 7:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.




Farmers Market

Shop the award-winning market ev-

ery Saturday, year-round! City Hall Parking Lot (300 Park Ave., Falls Church, 8:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.

Meridian HS Tag Day

To help fund their performance trip, Meridian musicians, the "Red Shirts", perform their way across Falls Church City for their annual TAG Day fundraising event. 9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.

Mosaic Fall Festival

Outdoor festival with 90+ handmade and vintage vendors, performances, and family activities. Free entry, parking, and Metro shuttle. Through Sunday; more at mosaicdistrict.com. Mosaic District (2905 District Ave., Fairfax, VA), 11:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m.


Carlyle's Drag Brunch

An exciting new drag brunch hosted by Evita Peroxide! $55 tickets include bottomless brunch buffet, show, and tax. Tickets at bit.ly/FCNP0923db. The Carlyle Room (1350 I St. NW, Washington, DC), 11:00 a.m.

2023 Moon Festival

Cultural performances, games, art and eating contests, a lantern giveaway, and more! Eden Center (6751-6799 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church), 11:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.

Mickey’s Music Spectacular

Your favorite Disney songs in concert, followed by treats and activities! Tickets at fccpschoralboosters.org. Meridian High School Auditorium (121 Mustang Alley, Falls Church), 2:00 p.m.



Medicare 101

Learn more about Medicare. Free registration at mrspl.org. Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 N. Virginia Ave., Lower Level Conf. Rm., Falls Church, 2:00 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.

City Council Work Session

Council members discuss upcom-

ing legislation and policy issues; public not usually invited to speak. Watch live or on-demand at bit.ly/ fccvacm 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.


Death Comes to Tudor Place

During this tour, visitors will experience almost 200 years of traditions employed by upper-class households to express grief. Tudor Place (1644 31st St. NW, Washington, DC), 10:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.

Family Fun Night

The F.C. chamber of commerce's community Family Fun Night at Jefferson Park has loads of fun planned — face painting, a moon bounce, and other activities! Jefferson Falls Miniature Golf Course (7900 Lee Highway, Falls Church, 5:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m.

FCCPS School Board

Community Forum

FCCPS School Board community forum on early release Wednesday. Oak Street Elementary School (601 S. Oak St., Falls Church, 7:00 p.m. — 9:00 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.



Ask the Council Session

The public is welcome to attend this session to meet with Council members and ask questions in an informal setting. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Oak Room, Falls Church, 9:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

Planning Commission Meeting

Planning Commission meets. City Hall (300 Park Ave., Council Chambers/Court Room, Falls Church, 7:30 p.m. — 10:00 p.m.

DEATH COMES to Tudor House, a guided tour examining funeral and burial practices over nearly two centuries, starts this week. (Photo Courtesy of Tudor Place Historic House & Garden)


The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) of the City of Falls Church, Virginia will hold a public hearing on October 12, 2023 at 7:30 PM in the Council Chambers, located at 300 Park Avenue, for consideration of the following item:

a. Variance application V1643-23 by Oak Park, LLC, applicant and owner, for a variance to Section 48-1101 to allow maximum lot coverage of 55% instead of the 40% to construct a two-story daycare facility, at 711 Park Avenue, RPC #51-131-017 of the Falls Church Real Property Records, zoned T-1, Transitional District. Public comment and questions may be submitted to zoning@fallschurchva.gov until 4:30 pm on October 12, 2023. 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.

Invitation For Bids (IFB)

IFB 1026-23-WODT

W&OD Trail Crossings Project City of Falls Church


BIDS (SEALED) will be accepted by the City of Falls Church by electronic submission to the Purchasing Agent, James Wise, jwise@ fallschurchva.gov (email) for the provision of W&OD Trail Crossings Project.

Due date for the electronic submission of Bids is Thursday, October 26, 2023 @ 11:00 A.M. A Non-Mandatory Pre-Bid Conference will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams on October 3, 2023 (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).


FCBG, LLC trading as Victura Park, 419

W. Broad St., Falls Church Va, 22046 is applying to the Virginia ABC board for a Retail license to sell Beer/Wine and Mixed beverage on premise. NOTE: Objections to the issuance of this license must be submitted to ABC no later than 30 days from the publishing date of the first of 2 required newspaper legal notice. Objections should be registered at www.abc. virginia.gov or 800-552-3200

Salon Nordine & Spa LLC trading as Salon Nordine & Spa, 8075 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, 22182 is applying to the Virginia ABC board for a Marketplace License – Day Spa. NOTE: Objections to the issuance of this license must be submitted to ABC no later than 30 days from the publishing date of the first of 2 required newspaper legal notice. Objections should be registered at www. abc.virginia.gov or 800-552-3200


House for Rent: Falls Church City

Lovely 4 bedroom/3 full bath house is available for rent soon. Bright, spacious living/dining room with open floor plan.

Completely renovated chef’s kitchen, renovated bathrooms, large finished basement; upgraded laundry room, tree lined fenced backyard great for pets. Detached garage. Lawn service is included. Close walk to Founders Row, W&OD, schools, West FC Metro. etc.

Contact: fallschurchrental23@gmail.com for more info, photos etc.


Two NMP burial plots/spaces, Laural Garden, Unit 38, Level A & B, Marker 24 X 14 with round vase. 7482 Lee Highway, Falls Church, Va, 22042. $6500, Contact Sherry at 540-497-2767


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


Live Fish for stocking ponds. Many varieties available. Free to low delivery to your pond. Call Zetts Fish Farm for information 304-821-4496, 304-995-9202, Cell 304-820-6986.

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DIVORCE-Uncontested, $475+$86 court cost. WILLS-$295.00. No court appearance. Estimated completion time twenty-one days. Hilton Oliver, Attorney (Facebook). 757-490-0126. Se Habla Espanol. BBB Member. https://hiltonoliverattorneyva.com.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator May Be Covered by Medicare! Reclaim independence and mobility with the compact design and long-lasting battery of Inogen One. Free information kit! Call 888-608-4974

FREE high speed internet for those that qualify. Government program for recipients

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A Penny for Your Thoughts News of Greater Falls Church

Several years ago, an elderly constituent, who had served in World War II, came to my office and asked me, with some agitation in his voice, “is it true that, if you are born here, you automatically are a U.S. citizen?”

A little surprised by the question from the gentleman, I advised him that, yes, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirms that anyone born in the United States has all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. It’s been that way since the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868, so it’s not a new idea.

I was thinking about that conversation last week, when I attended the Citizenship Celebration at Goodwin House Baileys Crossroads (GHBC). For the past few years, the Goodwin Living Foundation has sponsored applications for its employees who qualify for citizenship. Residents at GHBC and Goodwin House in Alexandria support the effort monetarily (the citizenship application fee is $725) and tutor candidates for the difficult test. More than 100 employees and family members have attained American citizenship through this effort.

At last week’s celebration, four recent citizens told their stories, especially reflecting on the opportunity to vote, and the freedom that citizenship brings. One young man from Ethiopia revealed that he had not yet

registered to vote. By the time photos were taken an hour later, a voter registrar had his paperwork completed!

The star of the program, however, was Eric from Ghana, who has been a maintenance engineer at Goodwin House for eight years. An article about the program appeared in The Washington Post, which prompted a filmmaker from the American University to contact the Goodwin Living Foundation about making a documentary film about Eric’s path to citizenship. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when “The Test” documentary was screened at the celebration. The film followed Eric through months of study and tutoring (he passed!) and a trip home to Africa to see the family he left behind but had supported all through the eight years. The day before the celebration, his wife arrived from Ghana, and was welcomed warmly by the residents who had followed Eric’s arduous journey from immigrant to American citizen. For more information about the Goodwin Living Foundation citizenship program, and how you can help, log on to www.GoodwinLiving.


There are at least 100 civics questions on the Naturalization Test, covering Principles of American Democracy, the System of Government, and Rights and Responsibilities. Another section asks

The LGBTQ+ Reach

about American History, including the Colonial Period, the 1800s, and Recent American History and other Important Historical Information. Then there are questions about geography, symbols, and holidays. Can you explain the “rule of law” or name your U.S. Representative? Can you name three of the 13 original states, or the year the Constitution was written? Perhaps the trickiest question centers on the authors of the Federalist Papers. You have to name one of them.

Most of these questions may sound familiar, and might even be found in a “Jeopardy!” television quiz. But imagine how they may be viewed by someone from another country, whose first language is not English, and who might be working two or more jobs to support themselves here and a family far away. It takes resources, determination, English proficiency, and a lot of patience to prepare for the citizenship interview and take the test. And it makes one appreciate even more the privilege, as the song goes, being “Born in the USA!”

 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.


Larceny, Noland St, between 5:00 PM on September 18th and 8:20 AM on September 19th, unknown suspect(s) took items of value from a secured trailer

Gavin Newsom Vetoes One ProTrans Bill While Signing Others

September was a mixed bag for queer rights in California, though mostly good. On Saturday Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Cal.) signed several pieces of pro-LGBTQ+ legislation, just one day after vetoing one that would have strengthened trans youth protections in the state’s family courts system.

The Good Legislation signed into law includes measures to create a timeline for required LGBTQ+ cultural competency training for public school teachers and staff, identify needs and implement supporting initiatives for LGBTQ+ students, and require courts to keep confidential any petition for a minor to change their gender markers (i.e. how gender appears on identification), fine schools for banning textbooks with LGBTQ+ themes, and more.

The Bad Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 957, which would have required courts to consider parental affirmation of a child’s gender identity or gender expression when determining their best interests in a custody or visitation proceeding.

In his veto message, Newsom claimed that “a court, under existing law, is required to consider a child’s health, safety, and welfare when determining the best interests of a child in these proceedings, including the parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.” Even in California, this isn’t inherently true, though a number of other protections are in place, such as a ban on “reparation therapy,” which is nothing less than traumatic mental (and often physical) abuse, laws protecting parents from extradition if conservative states like Texas start subpoenaing them as criminals just for being affirming of their own child’s identity.

Larceny from Building, Founders Ave, between 3:45 PM and 4:10 PM on September 16th, suspect took 2 Schwinn bicycles, one gray/silver in color, and one dark purple with black. Suspect is described as a male 50-60 years of age, approximately 5’10”-6’ in height, wearing a blue shirt, blue jeans, and gray hat. Both bicycles were later recovered.

Drunk In Public, S Washington St, Sept 18, 12:47 AM, a male was arrested for drunk in public.

Simple Assault, N Washington St, Sept 18, 3:36 PM, a known suspect assaulted a taxi driver.

Simple Assault, W Jefferson St, Sept 21, 1:30 PM, victim reported being assaulted by a coworker.

Drunk In Public, Douglas Ave, Sept 22, 4:51 PM, a male was arrested for drunk in public.

Attempted Carjacking, Park Ave, Sept 24, 7:00 PM, two unknown suspects attempted to take car keys from victim after victim exited their vehicle. Suspects were originally described as males, both 19-20 years of age wearing dark colored athletic clothing. Further investigation determined suspects to be males.

Newsom’s primary reason wasn’t that existing law already covers these protections (which isn’t true). His central argument was that, if a law were passed specifically identifying trans acceptance as a factor in awarding parental custody of a trans child, conservative states might pass similar legislation doing the opposite (giving advantage to a parent with anti-trans views in a custody battle).

The Ugly

The ACLU is tracking 494 bills attacking trans and LGBTQ+ rights pretty much across the board — it’s already happening, even in states where they are doomed to fail. The

implication that passing protections might energize opposition is a worn out excuse. Worse, the fact remains that — no matter how liberal or conservative a state’s politics are — people with extreme views exist, and parents who reject or harm their trans children exist, even in California.

The Trevor Project found that 37 percent of trans youth reported being physically threatened or harmed as a result of their gender identity, and that experiencing such abuse tripled suicide attempt risk. In areas considered very unaccepting, 21 percent of LGBTQ+ youth had attempted suicide within the last year.

Research by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found that more than half of trans youth attempt suicide by age 20.

University of Pittsburgh researchers found that 73 percent of trans adolescents reported psychological abuse, 39 percent reported physical abuse, and 19 percent reported sexual abuse.

California has not seen a successful veto override in 40 years, and no moves have been made, so this bill has failed. Hopefully similar legislation will be introduced in the near future, and hopefully Newsom will have a change of heart and recognize its importance.

LGBTQ+ Falls Church Adds

More Clare and Dons Events

The Clare and Don’s “No Agenda Happy Hour” is now monthly! Join us from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. October 8 for a social hour, co-hosted by NOVA Pride and LGBTQ+ Falls Church! Anybody pro-equality is encouraged and invited to come, the only condition being that you bring with you a spirit of inclusion and kindness. That’s it.

LGBTQ+ Falls Church Partners

With Creative Cauldron

LGBTQ+ Falls Church and Creative Cauldron are collaborating on multiple Pride Nights starting with an October 12 showing of “Monarch: A Mexican-American Musical.” Purchase tickets on the Creative Cauldron website using the code “PRIDE” for a discounted rate and access to a special pre-show cocktail reception one hour before the show, with two drink tickets included. Donations to LGBTQ+ Falls Church are encouraged. For more information, to get involved, or to sign up for the mailing list, visit lgbtfallschurch.org.

Interested in Partnering with LGBTQ+ Falls Church?

Businesses and organizations seeking partnership with LGBTQ+ Falls Church to launch LGBTQ+ inclusive programming are encouraged to email breach@fcnp.com.

Week of September 18 -24, 2023
City of Falls

Meridian Football Loses Tough One, Field Hockey Rolls On

District play is underway as the fall sports season at Meridian High School continues, and the football team visited rival Brentsville this week coming off of back-to-back wins. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t earn a third, losing 13-34 although they kept it close throughout the first half. They’ll conclude their road trip at James Wood this Friday.

Field hockey, meanwhile, continues to dominate everything in its path. The girls beat Fauquier 5-1 on Tuesday in a battle of unbeatens, then beat Hayfield 3-0 on Thursday to move to a perfect 9-0 on the year. They’ll play at Kettle Run and then host Heritage this week, looking to stay red hot.

Volleyball’s winning streak came to an unfortunate end, losing 3-0 to Lightridge on Tuesday

and knocking the girls back to 4-7 for the year. Their resilience after a slow start has been admirable, though, and they’ll look to get back on track at Fauquier and against Skyline this week.

Cross country was scheduled to compete twice, on Wednesday against Fauquier and John Handley and then at an invitational at Lake Braddock on Saturday, however both were no contests as Fauquier and John Handley backed out of the meeting and Mother Nature got in the way over the weekend.

Golf was off this past week as the team prepares for the Green Hills Tournament at William Monroe, which will be their final matchup of the regular season. Meanwhile, competitive cheer is finally in action this week, as they’ll compete in the Park View Invitational in Sterling.

Falls Church School News & Notes

Ms. Hardy Bids Farewell to FCCPS for New Role

Falls Church City Public Schools

announces with mixed feelings the departure of Ms. Valerie Hardy, Head of Secondary Schools, as she accepts a new role in Prince William County Schools, concluding her impactful six-year journey with them on September 29th. Ms. Hardy expressed her departure as “incredibly bittersweet,” emphasizing her deep love and gratitude for the FCCPS community and her commitment to its values and goals.

The School Board and Superintendent, Dr. Peter Noonan, have expressed their deep appre

ciation for Ms. Hardy’s dedication and transformative leadership. Dr. Noonan assures the community of continued commitment to high-quality education and stable leadership, with an announcement regarding an Interim Head of Secondary Schools expected soon.

MHS Students Receive IB Global Youth Grant

Three Meridian High School students, Grace Calabrese, Elbetel Kiros and Adam Belouad, were notified earlier this week that their applications to the IB’s Global Youth Action Fund were successful. They will receive grant funds to support their

project: Hand to Hunger. The groups will receive up to a $3,000 grant to fund their project and mentorship and online training in social entrepreneurship to transform and further develop their idea to impact their community.

The work of these students is directly aligned with an increased focus on sustainability education in Falls Church City Public Schools.

Mickey’s Music Concert at MHS

On Sunday, October 1, enjoy a concert of beloved Disney songs followed by tasty treats and fun activities. Proceeds benefit the MHS spring choir trip. Costumes are encouraged.

Please RSVP at fccpschoralboosters. org/mickeys-music-spectacular-2/.

School Supporters Ran All Over Town

On Sunday, the annual FCEF Run for the Schools was hugely successful — even despite the rain. Over 900 registered runners took to the streets to support the Falls Church Education Foundation. The funds will go toward more equity of student access, significant teacher grants, and support all year long.

Field Hockey Inspires in Youth Night

The Meridian High Field Hockey Team held a Youth Night to engage and inspire young, aspiring athletes. During this event, the youth participants had the opportunity to experience the dynamics of the sport firsthand and interact with both junior varsity (JV) and varsity players.

The evening began with the young enthusiasts participating in a warm-up session alongside the JV players and then had the exciting opportunity to walk out onto the field with the varsity team. For the varsity players, it was a chance to be role models, demonstrating sportsmanship, discipline, and dedication to the younger generation.

Walk, Bike & Roll to School Day Coming Soon

Ready to enjoy fresh air, exercise to start the day, time with friends and neighbors, and the chance to positively impact the

environment? Take part in National Walk, Bike & Roll to School Day on Wednesday, October 4. All FCCPS students (and parents) are invited to participate in this voluntary event, celebrating safe, active ways to get to and from school. The FCCPS Health & Wellness Advisory Committee, Bike Falls Church, and the Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation remind everyone to stay safe by reviewing safety tips and safe walking and bike routes before participating.

Girls Volleyball Invites All to Breast Cancer Game

Meridian High School Girls Volleyball will host a Dig Pink Game on Thursday, October 5th, to raise funds for the Side-Out Foundation supporting people with Metastatic Breast Cancer. The game is a pink out.

Justice HS to Host Free Community Service Fair

On Saturday, October 14 from 9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. at the Justice High School Parking lot, Justice High School will be holding a free community service fair for recycling.

Three stations will be set up to drop off and collect electronics, paper/sensitive documents and bicycles. Drivers will remain in their vehicles and follow the route to each station as directed by student and adult volunteers. Donations for the Athletics and Activities programs will be gladly accepted on site.

THIS WEEK, THE MHS Cross Country team honored nineteen Seniors and had some fun with the wacky Mustang Relays. (Photo: FCCPS) ON SUNDAY, THE ANNUAL FCEF Run for the Schools was hugely successful — even despite the rain. (Photo: Carol Sly)

Falls Church

Business News & Notes

Acton Academy Ribbon Cutting

Thursday, September 28, 5:45 — 6:30 p.m. - The City Council and Chamber celebrate Acton Academy and their newly renovated school. A reception will be held from 5:45 — 6:30 p.m. with the ribbon cutting ceremony at 6:00 p.m.

Ellie Bird Makes National List

Local restaurant, Ellie Bird, made the New York Times list of America’s top 50 most exciting places right now. Yuan and Carey Tang grew up in Falls Church and earned a Michelin Star with their restaurant, Rooster & Owl, in DC. Ellie Bird is located in Founders Row.


According to the 10th edition of “Winning Strategies in Economic Development” survey report released earlier this week by Development Counsellors International (DCI) at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference, VEDP is now viewed as one of the top state economic development organizations in the country. When asked to list “best-in-class” state EDOs, VEDP was ranked among the top five “best-in-class” state economic development agencies by the site selection consultants who participated in the survey. This is the first time ever that VEDP has been ranked in the top five since the state EDOs ranking was added to the survey in 2011. Download the report here: aboutdci.com/thought-leadership/winningstrategies/#download-report

Solace Brew Benefit: Lost Dogs and Cats Rescue Adoptions

Solace Outpost is teaming up with Solace Brewing Company and Lost Dog Cafe to enjoy freshly brewed Solace Rescue Ale while meeting dogs looking for their forever homes this Saturday, September 30, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. A portion of Solace Rescue Ale proceeds are donated to Lost Dogs and Cat Rescue Foundation (LDCRF) every year. View details for the meet and greet, schedule interviews and adoptions via the link. lostdogrescue.org/events-archive/solace-rescue-ale-adoption-event-2023/

Local Businesses Sponsor Family Fun Night

The community is invited to the Annual Family Fun Night at Jefferson Park hosted by the Falls Church Chamber on Tuesday, October 3, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Enjoy dinner and activities including mini golf, a moon bounce, face painting, pumpkin painting, bracelet making and more. The event is sponsored by local businesses Dignity Memorial, Great Outdoors Landscaping, KiPS Family Gymnastics, LP Dental, VIGEO Physical Therapy, and Dave Crance and Marcus Simon. Tickets are on sale now with early bird pricing on the Falls Church Chamber website (www.fallschurchchamber/events.org). In the event of a rain date, it will be held on October 5.

SWaM Certification Workshop

The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) and Central Virginia SBDC are hosting a session for small, women-owned or minorityowned businesses who want to do business with the Commonwealth of Virginia. The workshop will cover the SWaM Certification process, the documents required, and how to use the certification to do business through the portal. The workshop is free and will be held on October 2, 9:30 — 10:30 a.m. The link will be shared upon registration at https://clients.virginiasbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=20430061.

The Arc Hosts Arctoberfest

Bring the family out for Arctoberfest, a Halloween Extravaganza on Saturday, October 21. The Arc of Northern Virginia promises fun-for-all-ages and will be held at The Columbus Club, Knights of Columbus, 5115 Little Falls Road, Arlington. The early session runs 3:00 – 5:00 pm and is perfect for the youngest ghosts, goblins, princesses, and pirates with face painting and an interactive scavenger hunt. The evening session runs 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and available at thearcofnova.org/arctoberfest/#tickets

 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.

Cosplayers, Voice Actors and Mythology Surprise in Crystal City

Last weekend Anime USA returned to the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Virginia. Fans of anime (Japanese animated films), manga (Japanese-style comic books), and similarly styled video games attended symposiums, shopped, played games, and socialized with other fans of the genre.

First we begin with the costumes: Mallory Phillips cosplayed as Marin Kitagawa from “My Dress-Up Darling.” Characters in this manga-turned-anime property themselves dress up as characters, for instance wearing elfin ears, as did Mallory.

We next met cosplayer Maja, who was Ena from “Project Sekai,” and Key, who cosplayed as Xiao from “Genshin Impact”—each representing characters from the Japanese and now Chinese video game world respectively. Key spoke of her admiration for the global cultural awareness that Anime conventions celebrate. We also met David Gallo as Tsukasa and Robert Adams as Hanoko, both stern warriors from the manga series “Hanako” which became anime. Cosplayers Skye (who was Ganyu as maid from “Genshin Impact”) and Peep (who was Meryl from “Trigun Stampede”) also enjoyed the opportunity to meet other individuals with the same anime interests.

Performers were present as well. Ayla Almee, who appeared in the anime showcase “IdolUSA,” was clad in green costume and goggles as “Froppy,” or Tsuyu Asui, from the anime series “My Hero Academia;” she also models and came with photographers. For those unfamiliar with the series, “My Hero Academia” is a popular show and manga book series about a child born without supernatural powers in a world where they are common.

We also were introduced to Molly Searcy, a voice actress in many anime titles, including her voicing Mako Reizei in “Girls und Panzer.” (Mako is a student at a high school where the main team sport is “tankery,” fighting with clas

stars in “One Piece,” the on-going story of a child who accidentally starts on the path of becoming King of the Pirates. The story is about his efforts to assemble a crew, particular as to who will be the final crew member. Molly is also a stage actress, having taken on such challenging roles as Lyubov Ranevskaya in Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” and as evil Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

In addition to a gaming room and shopping opportunities (we learned there is a version of Monopoly with the theme of the famous— some would say classic—“Sailor Moon” anime), anime also has a serious side. Examples included an exhibition on Japanese dolls and arts and crafts as well as a symposium on the Japanese tea ceremony, a hallmark of Japanese culture. Scholarly presentations about the literary aspects of anime were also on offer. Brent P. Newhall gave a particularly engaging presentation on the aforementioned “Genshin Impact.” This is an anime-themed open world video game which features a multi-year plot played out over the exploration of the various regions of its fantasy world, as secrets of that world’s past are gradually revealed. Lecturer Newhall finds compelling links between Genshin Impact and Norse mythology, with Irmin mirroring the Germanic hero Siegfried, Rhinedottir taking on the role of the wily King Gunther (also from the “Nibelungenlied” saga), Deinsleif as the traitorous Hagen, Abyss Sibling in Princess Kriemhild’s shoes, and even presence of the Valkyries, which Brent compares from Wagner’s operatic “Ring” cycle, not from the medieval “Nibelungenlied” directly.

Clearly, this annual conference offers something for anyone who is even slightly interested in anime, fantasy, or science fiction (indeed, one panel was called “So Much Star Wars”!). The cultural aspects are engaging as well, as when one enters through a classic Shinto Torii gateway in a Northern Virginia hotel. We eagerly await next year’s Anime

MOLLY SEARCY, voice actress for “Girls and Panzer.” (Photo: Mark Dreisonstok)
FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS | FCNP.COM PAGE 24 | SEPTEMBER 28 - OCTOBER 4, 2023 ON YOUR SIDE & BY YOUR SIDE steinsperling.com • 301-340-2020 S TEIN SPERLING AT T ORNEY S AT LA W We see law on a personal level, and appreciate how your legal issue affects you, your family, your business, and your future. Working with our local Falls Church attorneys to pursue your desired outcome, you are an intergral part of the team.
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