February 28, 2010
The video is now available of Joel Block’s February 23 appeal to the Falls Church City School Board. A math teacher at George Mason High School, Block won the “Super Teacher” Award last year, selected from 1,200 teachers nominated from the region. In the video, Block asks the School Board why his salary may be cut, when his fellow teachers in Arlington, Alexandria, and Loudon will receive pay increases and teachers in Fairfax County will have a pay freeze.
From Page 1, click “Read More” to watch the 4-minute video.
See also the May 11, 2009 report in the Falls Church Times on Block’s Super Teacher award.
February 28, 2010
Peggy Monahan reported that once again George Mason High School is the Scholastic Bowl State Champion in Division A. She reports that the Mustangs were undefeated in 4 matches on Saturday to capture the trophy. Congratulations to Coach Jamie Scharff and his fantastic team!
Meanwhile, Craig Cheney reports that George Mason High School Girls Basketball won the Region B Division 2 title for the 3rd year in a row. The Mustangs beat Strasburg on Friday 52-27 in semifinals at Eastern Mennonite and topped Buckingham Country 63-26 last night in the finals.
Cheney reports that the quarterfinal playoff game of the state tournament will be next Friday night or Saturday at Robinson High School to earn a trip back to Richmond for State Final 4 title the following week.
City officials have clarified that Tuesday, March 2, is the filing deadline for candidates for the May City Council and School Board elections. The election will occur Tuesday May 4.
This year the 22nd GMHS International Dinner will be held on Wednesday,March 3 at 6:30 pm-8.30pm in the Mustang Café. For those new to the school, the International Dinner is an annual event hosted by the GMHS International Club and sponsored by the PTSA and ESOL/Foreign Language staff. It is a fun celebration of our diverse Falls Church community, with over 250 attendees enjoying a delicious array of ethnic foods and entertainment with an international flair. It is a wonderful event for all families.
This is a pot-luck. Attendees MUST bring an entrée, side-dish or salad for 8-10 people to share. Disposable containers are advised. Don’t have time to cook?? Bring a family size dish from one of our local ethnic restaurants!! Desserts are provided by the PTSA.
Also there will be a raffle of Global baskets compiled by the International Club, with proceeds going to Haiti Relief Project and the child the Club is sponsoring through PlanUSA.
Volunteers are needed. This is a PTSA sponsored event which can not happen without the help of volunteers to make extra food and/or be part of the kitchen crew. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Jane Cashin at 703-534-5247 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By DAVE WITZEL
Falls Church Times Staff
February 27, 2010
I’m really proud of the work the all-volunteer Falls Church Times team has done. What started out as a civic experiment has become a thriving, valuable enterprise. During the past two months our volunteers have been posting an average of four articles per day. Sometime this week someone on the team will prepare our 1,000th article. This is remarkable production.
That said, I can’t help but wish we were doing more. It would be great to have more volunteers and contributors to broaden and deepen our coverage.
Here’s a few examples of stories I would love to read in the Falls Church Times.
Big Games in the Little City. We have at least three games/comics stores nearby (Compleat Strategist, Anime Pavilion, and the just-opened Victory Comics). This seems like a lot of comics per-capita. Are we #1 in the nation? Do Falls Churchers really like games? Are we kind of Silicon Valley for gaming?
2nd Hand Falls Church. We have a great set of used-stuff stores in town. We have used CDs (CD Cellar), books (Hole in the Wall Books), clothes (Second Chance, New to You, Rosalin’s Bridal Boutique), and bikes (Bike Club), not to mention antique stores including Falls Church Antique Annex and Olde Habits. What else should be on this list? Any particular treasures the community should know about? How can we make or save money (and waste less)?
Can GM Ladies Basketball Re-peat? The GM’s Girls Basketball team is in the regional play-offs. How are they doing? Who are they playing and when? And, most of all, can we get some action photos and video!
Falls Church Rec Basketball Celebrates XX Years. The Community Center’s annual recreational basketball leagues is one of the grand traditions of Falls Church. How many kids participate in it? How long has it been going on? Who are the personalities that keep it going?
Budget, Budget, Budget. You may have heard that Falls Church is facing some budget difficulties. What’s more, this is a problem that won’t go away any time soon. We’ll be wrestling with budgets for years into the future. So what do we need to know to make intelligent choices about changing services, raising taxes, finding new revenue sources? Our budget has increased a lot over the last 5 years – where did we spend the money? How do other cities our size spend their money? Is our mix dramatically different? What tools should we have to do analysis and decision-making? Can the Falls Church Times help provide any of those tools?
Mass Transit Planning and Falls Church. Okay, while we don’t exactly have a metro stop in the city, we do have two of them named after us. And Metro and other area mass transit matters to us. So what’s going on? What’s going to happen to budgets and fares? What about traffic and business opportunities from the new lines that are planned? Do we have the right bus routes? Should we jump on Arlington’s trolley? What about walkability – are we good and how can we get better?
There’s Music in the Air. I enjoyed this week’s focus on music in the Falls Church News Press including the article about Sunday’s Wammies. Falls Church has wonderful music venues including The State, Bangkok Blues, and Claire and Don’s. We host amazing events like the Wammies but also the Tinner Hill Blues Festival and the summer music series at Cherry Hill Park. We have delightful school and community groups. There are great shows in town regularly. But what’s coming up? What did we miss? Where’s the Falls Church Times music reviewer to complement our amazing food reviewer?
Falls Church Makes a Difference. One of the many exciting things about this town is its reach -people in this city have local focus and national and international impact. Opportunities to contribute range from supporting the schools and the library to helping in Haiti. What are they? What have we accomplished? Who is leading the charge?
That’s the beginning of my list. What stories do you want to read? Please make suggestions in the comments below. Which ones are you willing to write? Would you contribute photos or video of events you are attending? How about reporting sports scores and results? If you’d like to pitch-in, please let me know.
Monday 3/1: City Council Work Session. Training Center – G Level, 7:30 pm. Agenda and documents.
Planning Commission. Council Chamber, 7:45 pm. Agenda and documents.
Tuesday 3/2: Electoral Board. Administrative Conference Room, 3:00 pm.
Economic Development Authority. Training Center – G Level, 6:30 pm.
Recreation and Parks Advisory Board. Falls Church Community Center, 7:00 pm.
School Board Special Meeting and Adoption of FY 11 Budget. Council Chamber, 7:30 pm.
Wednesday 3/3: Architectural Advisory Board. Council Chamber, 7:45 pm.
Thursday 3/4: Long Range Financial Working Group. Time and venue not stated.
Friday 3/5: City Council Economic Development Committee. Administrative Conference Room, 7:15 am.
Meeting notices are obtained from the City and School Board on-line calendars and from the notice board at the east entrance of City Hall. Meetings may be subject to re-scheduling or cancellation.
If you haven’t braved the cold weather on Saturday mornings to check out the Falls Church Farmers Market, you’ve been missing out. This winter the city’s food wonderland has bolstered its already stellar vendor line-up with two excellent additions.
In December, Oh! Pickles set up shop, offering a range of classic barrel-cured pickles. A month later sausage and charcuterie maker Jamie Stachowski, who has developed a cult following among area meat-eaters, snagged a spot and started selling homemade bacon, kielbasa, and a number of other European-style fatty treats.
I’ve been a frequent customer at both.
In a perfect world, the pickles at Oh! Pickles would be locally made from locally grown cucumbers. Alas, they are imported from the New Jersey-based Patriot Pickle Co., which sells wholesale to many restaurants. They also contain preservatives, which is a turn-off for many people. But they sure taste good.
Usually the stall is setup with samples of every kind of pickle, but sometimes they don’t get around to it. If there are samples the day you happen by, I say just eat them all and decide for yourself which one you like best. If not, I’d zero in on the classic kosher dills, which add a springy tang to any sandwich. For a zippier pickle, go for the spicy red hot variety. The crinkle cut bread-and-butter pickles are a tad on the sweet side but also good.
Stachowski’s stand at the other end of the market has been drawing huge crowds. The wafting aroma of pork fat sizzling away on a hot plate inside of his jeep is surely a factor in his success. He doesn’t have a sign yet and he doesn’t need one—market-goers just tilt their noses up and start walking.
After years toiling in restaurant kitchens (where his homemade charcuterie was often featured on menus), the wonderfully eccentric Buffalo native shifted to meat crafting full-time a little over a year ago when he launched Stachowski Brand Charcuterie. Since then he’s slowly built up a customer base, selling mostly to restaurants and local specialty food shops, including Red, White, and Bleu, the city’s wine and cheese specialist. He’s also organized several pick-ups at random spots in the Northern Virginia area through the online foodie forum DonRockwell.com.
Bringing his product to a Farmers Market was a logical next step and we’re lucky to have landed him. He’s got some seriously good stuff.
Seemingly every person I’ve come across at his stand at the market has walked away with some fresh kielbasa. The sausage is mildly spiced, a little sweet, and supremely juicy. The veal bratwurst, laced with cream, is just as succulent and pleasantly subtle. Both are a far cry away from many of the off-tasting and overly spiced supermarket sausages. There’s no doubt that they are made with care and calculation.
Some of the smoked products are a little more assertive. Sometimes it’s just the right amount of smoky goodness, like with the smoked kielbasa, which is a great foil for crusty bread, good mustard, and pickles. But the Portuguese linguica I brought home a few weeks ago was a little too smoky to enjoy.
Other misses have been the painfully salty Irish bacon, the strangely spiced venison pate and the too-lamby merguez sausage. But perhaps those are a matter of personal taste. European-style charcuterie can be quite bold—some people like that and others don’t. The beauty is that there are always a handful of cooked samples at Stachowski’s stand so you can make the decision for yourself.
Stachowski’s prices aren’t bad either, although they are frustratingly uneven. Somehow a single piece of Irish bacon (which cooks down to essentially nothing) and a huge link of smoked kielbasa both sell for seven bucks. I suspect such discrepancies won’t remain for long. His business is still evolving (take a look at the Web site here) and considering its small scale is doing incredibly well.
A winter time market will never measure up to the bounty of spring, summer, and fall. But the Falls Church Farmers Market is thriving in these cold months. Its two newest vendors are chief examples why.
BREAKING NEWS: Falls Church and Fairfax Water Reach Settlement in Current Suit, but City Still Appealing Earlier Decree Prohibiting Transfer of Profits to General Fund
February 25, 2010
Today the parties issued the following joint press release.
The City of Falls Church and Fairfax Water have successfully resolved the matters pending in Fairfax County Circuit Court. The consent decree is beneficial for all residents and businesses in the City of Falls Church and Fairfax County. In the decree, neither party admits liability and both Fairfax Water and the City of Falls Church will have the opportunity to provide water service in the portions of Fairfax County currently served by the City. In addition, the City has agreed to pay Fairfax Water $750,000 to settle claims, fees and damages, which will be covered by the City’s liability insurance. Both entities welcome the conclusion of this case so that they can resume focus on the business of best serving the public.
The City will continue its appeal of Count V, the Fairfax County Circuit Court’s Final Decree of Jan. 6, 2010, which prohibited the City from transferring water fund surpluses to the City’s general fund. Read more