Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Tuesday’s election results were awesome in Northern Virginia, and I am honored and humbled that Mason District voters chose me to serve for another term. Thank you! Since my column and the voter results were on the same deadline, next week’s column will analyze the election in Fairfax County in greater detail. Thank you!

Digging out the winter coats after a historically warm October marks a significant seasonal transition in our daily lives. A warm coat is especially welcome now that standard time has returned, and it gets dark earlier. If you are a pedestrian, please be sure to wear something reflective or light-colored when walking at night. A recent pedestrian accident occurred after midnight and, even though a clear night, dark clothing prevented the pedestrian from being seen in the roadway. According to Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler, pedestrian deaths outpace the homicide rate in the county. Fairfax County is one of the safest jurisdictions of its size in the nation, and it takes the community and the police together to keep it that way. Please don’t be a statistic. Be aware of your surroundings, especially as a pedestrian at night.

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Not just the seasons are changing. The ribbon-cutting for the new Bailey’s Shelter and Supportive Housing, in late October, signaled an exciting transition in services for homeless persons in Mason District and Fairfax County. The new facility, which was built to LEED silver standards, is located near the intersection of Seminary Road and Columbia Pike. The shelter is the first major investment in the proposed town center area of Bailey’s Crossroads’ southeast quadrant, near services, employment opportunities, transportation options, and passive and active recreation.

The new shelter has 52 beds for men and women, four medical respite beds, and 18 units of permanent supportive housing. These microunits are a bit smaller than an efficiency apartment and are designed for residents ready to move out of the dormitory-style shelter, but still close to services they still need. That’s why it is called “supportive” housing. Each unit was adopted by an organization or family, so each has its own theme and color scheme for household items that really make the unit “home” for the new resident. A community Open House for the shelter is planned for Saturday, Nov. 23, from 2 – 4 p.m. If you go, be sure to look for the delightful mural, created by local artist Dana Scheuer, that commemorates historical events in the Bailey’s area.

Monday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. That’s not a transition or a change, since Veterans Day has been a traditional observance for decades. What has changed are the veterans we celebrate – younger veterans, more women, more diversity and, sadly, more devastating war injuries and more suicides. My grandfather, father, husband, stepson, and brother served in wartime and peacetime during various decades, so I especially am grateful for the opportunity that Veterans Day offers to remember the sacrifices of the many veterans still among us, and those who have passed on. In Mason District, American Legion Post 1976 will host a brief Veterans Day observance at the cannon in downtown Annandale (Columbia Pike at Maple Place) at 11 a.m. Many veterans will attend, and all deserve thanks for their service to our nation.

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