Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

Most of us go to great lengths to maintain our health, appearance, homes, yards, budgets, and so forth. So, why is it that there are so many among us who are litterbugs? Very few of us would purposely throw trash in our own yards. So why do people litter the sides of the roads, our parks, or just about wherever they please? We have litter laws and penalties for those who disobey, but it still happens. There is no clear solution, but many communities have come up with their own answer…cleanup days!

In the Culmore area of Mason District, we have a yearly event called the Culmore Cleanup. The objective is simple: to rid the streets of litter and bring awareness to the need to keep the community clean. Support is requested from local organizations and volunteers, and the response has been encouraging. This year’s Culmore Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. until noon. Volunteers will gather at the Woodrow Wilson Library, 6101 Knollwood Drive (corner of Glen Carlyn Drive) and fan out across the neighborhood to put litter in its place. It may be easy to litter, but it is nearly as easy to eliminate it from our communities and caring volunteers will do just that on May 12. To learn how you can support or volunteer for the 2007 Culmore Cleanup, log on to www.culmore2007.blogspot.com.

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The horror of the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech last week will take a long time to mitigate and heal. One step forward was taken last Wednesday night when Ambassador Tae-sik Lee of South Korea asked to meet with members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors prior to a community interfaith vigil at the Fairfax County Government Center. Ambassador Lee is a tall, elegant, and well-spoken envoy, who was obviously touched and shaken by the events at Virginia Tech. The connections between the Korean community and Fairfax County are strong, with many native Koreans and Korean-Americans living, working, and succeeding here. The Ambassador expressed his condolences, and those of his government and his president, and that alone was extraordinary, I thought.

These communications usually take place at the highest levels of government, not at the most local level. In his private comments, Ambassador Lee told me that, 24 years ago, he lived in Annandale, before it became a destination for Korean business, he reminded me! I pointed out to the Ambassador that, in this very sad time, there really was no difference between the Korean and non-Korean communities, that everyone was shocked and hurt, and that these similar shared emotions could become the building blocks, not barriers, for future relationships between the two communities. He agreed, and I hope that everyone who shared the horror that happened at Virginia Tech will begin to heal – together.

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