Local Commentary

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

Fairfax County has 23 brand-new firefighters and emergency medical personnel. The eight women and 15 men graduated in formal ceremonies last Friday night at the Fairfax County Government Center, following five-and-a-half months of extensive class-room and field work at the Fire Training Academy on West Ox Road. Theirs was the 124th Recruit Class to complete the rigorous training to prepare them for service in the world-class Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Fire Chief Ronald L. Mastin administered the Firefighter’s Oath, which includes a promise to maintain the “highest standard of integrity,” to the graduating recruits in front of their applauding families and friends. During the ceremony, graduates are given their new dark leather helmets, which replace the shiny red plastic headgear that marks them as a trainee. Some were reminded by their shift commanders to go home and sleep since they were scheduled to report for duty at 7 the next morning. Three of the graduates will staff Mason District stations.

Hopefully, no one reading this column will need the services of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, but if you do, you can be assured of a quick response and appropriate service to protect the lives, property, and environment of all in our community.

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Great Parks, Great Communities is a new planning process initiated by the Fairfax County Park Authority to gain public comment about preserving, protecting, and planning parks to serve future generations. Demands for ball fields of any size and configuration to serve all ages and sports, active and passive recreation needs, trail connections, open space, picnic and social areas, horticultural and specimen gardens, water features, and cultural changes are among the challenges faced as we plan for the future.

The Park Planning Workshop for Mason District will be held on Wednesday, March 5, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. The kick-off meeting will introduce the planning process and provide baseline information about the existing park system. Park staff will be available to answer questions, and you can share your ideas in person about how we can strengthen our local park system for the future.

If you cannot join in person on March 5, consider sharing your thoughts online. Log on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/greatparks.htm, for an overview of the countywide initiative, informative maps and district-specific information, the upcoming meeting schedule, and how to provide feedback. Our quality of life is enhanced by a healthy environment, and parks play an important part. Please take some time to share your opinions, great ideas, and your enthusiasm!

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