Mason Varsity Boys’ Lacrosse Makes a Comeback

By David Smith
Special to the Falls Church Times
April 18, 2014

The varsity boys lacrosse program at George Mason High School re-launched this spring following a year when low numbers of seniors playing and turnover in the program led the school to field only a junior varsity squad.

To avoid a repeat of that situation, Athletic Director Tom Horn worked to bring a fresh approach, investing in new uniforms and equipment and bringing in Kevin Pope from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda as head coach. Mr. Pope built the Whitman boys lacrosse program from the ground up and coached it for 16 years.

The 2014 varsity team has 21 players representing each grade of the high school. While it’s a rebuilding year and the team is up against a formidable schedule – unlike some other Mason sports, in lacrosse Mason plays some of the largest schools in the region – the team has shown great effort, resilience and growth.

“We are laying the foundations for a strong future for Mason boys lacrosse,” Mr. Pope says. “We knew coming in that this year is about rebuilding, getting new players, teaching game fundamentals. I’m... [Read more...]


GM Falls to Wilson in 7th

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
April 14, 2014

“You Can’t Win ‘Em All” – or so goes the sports cliché. But the George Mason High School Varsity Baseball team almost did – at least for the week of April 7. After three wins in succession over Bull Run District foes Manassas Park, Clarke County and Rappahannock County, Mason faced off last Friday, April 11, against a tough foe from Washington, D.C., Wilson High School, winners of 21 straight DC1AA titles. With little more at stake than Potomac River region bragging rights, the two teams entered the game with the kind of energy one might expect at a playoff game.

After working himself out of a bases loaded jam in first inning without allowing a run, Mason’s hard-throwing sophomore pitcher Logan Nesson found his comfort zone, proceeding to set down the Tigers over six innings. Effectively mixing his pitches, Nesson allowed only one hit while striking out six over that stretch.

Always solid, the Mason defense continued to provide great support for its pitching staff. Second baseman Jake Abruzzi started a nice double play in the fourth, cleanly fielding... [Read more...]


OUTSIDE THE BOX: Above and Beyond at City Hall

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Above and Beyond at City Hall

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 13, 2014

Last week I received in the mail a letter from the Falls Church City government. In general, many people have been conditioned to think we must have done something wrong when we receive mail from officials at any level of government. But this turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise instead.

The letter was addressed to “Property Owner.” Hey, that’s me! But I was scratching my head a little as I opened it, unsure what it could be. I had previously received information about the new stormwater fee, as did all homeowners, so I didn’t expect any other correspondence on that program, which is scheduled to go into effect this year and be billed with the first installment of the real estate tax later this spring.

When I started reading it, I initially couldn’t believe my eyes. The letter, from the Department of Public Works, explained that they were aware that I have a stormwater management system on my property that would allow me to apply for a reduction in the fee I would have to pay.

It went on to point out that they had calculated, from City records, just... [Read more...]


Council Requests Budget That Keeps Tax Rate Flat

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 12, 2014

There has been a lot of concern among residents this year about rising taxes in Falls Church City — and the City Council is listening.

To that end, the Council this week asked City Manager Wyatt Shields to provide ways to avoid a tax rate increase in the budget scheduled for completion this month. That doesn’t mean it will happen, but it is a possibility as the Council continues to grapple with the City’s various needs.

Mr. Shields’ initial budget proposal, released in March, suggested a property tax rate increase from $1.305 to $1.35 per $100 of assessed value, which would have meant around a $300 increase for the median priced home of about $700,000. But combined with rising property assessments and a new stormwater fee, many homeowners were looking at anywhere from $600 to more than a thousand dollars in increased taxes and fees.

As a result, many residents complained, and Mr. Shields faced some criticism of his initial proposal. But the idea for a tax increase wasn’t his; he crafted the budget from loose guidance initially provided by the Council and... [Read more...]

Around Town









3 Wins in 3 Nights for GMHS Baseball

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
April 11, 2014

Steady pitching, strong defense and timely hitting – and a bit of luck – have been the hallmarks of the George Mason High School varsity baseball team as they have roared out to a 7-1 record (5-1) this season, including a defeat of a 5A school along the way. Last night’s win over Rappahannock, the team’s third victory in three nights, was no exception, as pitcher Gabe Terry went the distance for a 12-2 win in a game that was much tighter than the final score might indicate.

Against Evan Hitt, the Panthers’ hard-throwing starting pitcher, Mason managed to get two runs in the first inning, combining hits by Grant Hagler and Marsden Davis, a Rappahannock error, and an RBI single by Evan Davis to jump out quickly to a 2-0 lead. Rappahannock batters hit the ball hard in the bottom of the first, but managed only a single before Terry set them down.

Neither team was able to score for the next three innings. Terry faced only one batter over the minimum over that period, allowing a single to the Panthers’ Andrew Williams.  A nice running catch in deep left field by... [Read more...]


GMHS Baseball Continues Winning Ways

GMHS Baseball Continues Winning Ways

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
April 10, 2014

George Mason High School extends their winning record to 6 and 1 with victories over Clarke County and Manassas Park.

Clarke County:  April 9, 2014

Facing its second Bull Run District opponent in consecutive nights, the 5-1 George Mason Varsity Baseball squad traveled over the 1,056 foot Snicker’s Gap through the Blue Ridge Mountains on a crystal clear, warm spring afternoon to face a formidable challenge presented by the Clarke County Eagles, sporting a 5-2 record of their own.  Finally presented with some decent baseball weather, fans were able to settle in comfortably for what promised to be an eventful evening.

The Mustangs were able to manufacture a couple of runs in the first inning without a hit.  A hit batter, two walks, a wild pitch and stolen base gave Mason a 2-0 lead.  The only hard hit ball was a line drive to deep right center field by Gabe Terry, which was snagged on a terrific, diving catch by Clarke’s centerfielder to end the inning.

Hagler faced the minimum number of batters over the first two innings, aided by... [Read more...]


Mustang Baseball Season Starts Strong

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
April 8, 2014

Another strong outing by senior pitcher Grant Hagler, combined with consistent hitting and solid defense led the Mustang varsity baseball team to at 12-2 defeat of Bull Run District rival Central Woodstock in a game hosted by Mason on Friday, April 4. Hagler’s victory followed his complete game win over Warren County, giving him a 2-0 record for the season and leading the Mustangs to a 4-1 record early in the season.

After allowing the Falcons a run in the top of the first on an RBI single by senior Hayden Bauserman, Mason quickly responded.  After a Falcon error and a single by freshman right fielder Zach Lang, catcher Marsden Davis ripped an RBI-double to left. An infield hit by shortstop Chris Meador loaded the bases. First baseman Gabe Terry, fresh off his own pitching win against John Champe H.S., promptly blasted a double to left center, driving in two runs. A deep sacrifice fly by Daniel Butler gave the home team a 4-1 lead heading into the second.

After retiring the side in order, Mason scored another run in the home half of the second, with Marsden Davis driving... [Read more...]


OUTSIDE THE BOX: Is City’s Ability to Offer Zoning Special Exceptions Good Policy?

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Is City’s Ability to Offer Zoning Special Exceptions Good Policy?

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 7, 2014

As the debate over development has raged anew recently, there has been much angst among residents about what the City Council may or may not allow on the parcels of commercially zoned land in our 2.2 square miles.

Yet the fact that it is in the hands of the City Council at all may be the larger question we should be discussing.

The reason the Council has any say over proposed developments, like the recently-approved Harris Teeter project and the proposed plans for the busy intersection of Broad and West, is because of a feature in the city code called the Special Exception.

The Special Exception does exactly what it sounds like: it allows the Council to grant what amounts to a departure from the City’s zoning code if it deems a project exemplary in one way or another.

If the Special Exception wasn’t in the code, what’s allowed under the zoning rules on a particular parcel of land would be all that’s allowed; the Council would have no discretion. In such a scenario, projects either meet the requirements or they don’t, and the Council wouldn’t even be... [Read more...]


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