News

Falls Church News-Briefs: December 24 – 30, 2009

Outgoing Gov. Kaine Gets Call from Obama

During his final “Ask the Governor” radio talk show on WTOP-AM Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine received a phone call from President Obama, who said, “I just wanted to say how proud we are of your service as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

He applauded Kaine for “a terrific round of service,” and quipped, “We continue to think your wife is probably a little superior to you, as I think people think about the First Lady, but you and me have to stick together since we’re married to better people.” Obama surprised Kaine by calling in as “Barry from D.C.” Kaine will continue as the chair of the Democratic National Committee after he leaves the governor’s mansion in Richmond early next month.

 

Ensign Installed as New VPIS President

Long-time City of Falls Church resident Karl Ensign was installed as the new president of the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS) during the VPIS’ annual holiday party last weekend at the La Cote D’Or restaurant. Ensign is past chair of the Falls Church Human Services Advisory Council and a steering committee member of the Neighborhood Tree Program. “I look forward to continuing VPIS’s leadership role in preserving, maintaining and advancing the spirit that makes Falls Church an especially liveable community,” he said.

 

Moran Cleared in Investigation

The Office of Congressional Ethics closed its investigation into Virginia Rep. Jim Moran’s relationship to the lobbying firm PMA group, Roll Call newspaper reported Tuesday, advising against any further investigation by the House. Since 1990, Moran has represented the 8th District of Virginia that includes Arlington, McLean and the City of Falls Church. Investigations on the same grounds of Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania and Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington were also closed. The board’s decision was unanimous, 6-0.

 

Bulova Receives COG’s Highest Award

Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova was given the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ (COG) Elizabeth and David Scull Award for her leadership in guiding the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition, it was announced Tuesday. It is COG’s highest award, presented annually to an elected official for outstanding service to residents of the region. “I am humbled to receive this honor from my regional colleagues,” she said. “Finding new and innovative ways to collaborate as a region will have long-lasting benefits to all our residents.”

 

Mess Hailed for 97th Birthday Milestone

At the 20th annual holiday party of the Falls Church News-Press Monday night, Falls Church’s legendary Walter Mess, founder of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, was honored with a lusty rendition of the Happy Birthday song by the large crowd of gathered revelers that included Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner and State Del. Jim Scott. Mess marked his 97th birthday on Dec. 20. He was also greeted by the “mascot” for the event, Miles Butler playing the role of Dickens’ Tiny Tim, who was about to celebrate his 18th birthday on Dec. 23. Photos of the festive event will appear in next week’s News-Press.

 

Moran Calls for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Data

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) Tuesday issued a letter to Secretary of State Robert Gates, signed by 96 members of Congress, requesting monthly reports detailing the rank, time in service and branch of U.S. Service members discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in 2009. “This policy is putting our national security at risk and wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year in unrecoverable recruiting and training expenditures,” Moran said. “Until we repeal DADT, it will continue to impose needless costs, reduce the number of specialists trained to combat urgent national security threats, demoralize the estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian active-duty service members, and deter many more good men and women from service.” Passed by Congress in 1993, DADT mandates the discharge of openly gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. Since enactment, more than 13,500 service people have been discharged at a cost of over $400 million.

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