Community News at a Glance

The 161st Recruit Class of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department graduated from the Fire and Rescue Academy and joined the department as Probationary Firefighters assigned to fire stations throughout the county.

Fairfax County is in a drought. When using sparklers and other fireworks, create a clear level area away from buildings, structures, leaves, and other debris that can burn.


Drought Conditions Mean Fire Risk on 4th of July

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says the county is under a drought warning going into July 4. The dry conditions increase the risk of fires. If you use fireworks, use them only outdoors and take precautions when using all fireworks, including sparklers. 

Fireworks need space. Create a clear level area away from buildings, structures, leaves and other debris that can burn. Clear debris from gutters. Keep a bucket of water and a hose nearby. Use only legal fireworks. According to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, firecrackers, cherry bombs, and skyrockets are not allowed in Fairfax County.


NOVA Parks celebrates the accomplishments of Melody Mobley, named a national recipient of the 2024 Diversity Leadership Award by the Society of American Foresters, celebrating her significant contributions and impact on forestry. 

NOVA Park’s Melody Starya Mobley Earns National Award 

Melody Mobley will be honored at the Society of American Foresters (SAF) National Convention 2024 in Loveland, Colorado, Sept. 17–20. “As the first woman of color to be a forester with the US Forest Service, I know we need to do more to connect diverse communities to nature,” said Mobley. “A perfect example of these diversity efforts is the Black and Hispanic Birding Program at Upton Hill Regional Park in Arlington. For several years, I have been working with NOVA Parks and a group of other partners, including the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and the Arlington NAACP, to bring nature education to our diverse community.”

The Rotary Club of Great Falls holds its Officers’ Installation Ceremony Front Row: Neddal Abu-Taa, board member; Connie J. Sawtell, immediate past president; June Melloni Kelly, president; Liz Bouchard, vice president; Pat Williams, former Area 11 district Governor; (back row) Dan Cardenas, sergeant-at-arms; Steve Flannery president-elect; Raf Traboulsi, secretary; TJ Shea, treasurer; IB Barghout, board member; Leila Kump, board member; Amelia Stansell, incoming 7610 district governor; and Michael Broyles.

Rotary Club of Great Falls Installs New Officers 

The Great Falls Rotary Club announced its June 20 officers' installation at the Great Falls Grange. The event introduced the 2024–2025 Rotary officials, praised "service above self," and reviewed the club's achievements and ambitions. 

"In Rotary, one person is not an island," June Melloni Kelly, incoming Rotary club president, said. "We work together to make things happen." 

Past president Connie J. Sawtell said 2023–2024 created "hope in the world." Club volunteers reportedly served 2,300 hours on 26 projects.

According to the Great Falls Rotary Club spokesperson, the club honored Anil Bhatia and Dan Cardenas as co-Rotarians of the Year. Bhatia raised $33,400, enabling 50 children in India with congenital heart defects to undergo cardiac surgery through the Gift of Life International pediatric cardiac surgery program. 

Arborist Cardenas supported the Great Falls Citizens Association's Oak Grove naturalization project and distributed 140 trees to Great Falls Elementary School children on Earth Day.

The club named Bill Canis and Richard Ashton co-Citizens of the Year. Canis helped establish the Great Falls Grange Foundation, led the Great Falls Citizens Association for ten years, and served with Boy Scout Troop 55. Ashton owns Classic Wines of Great Falls and hosts wine tastings and refreshments for many local organizations. The club recognized Leila Kump, Cynthia Stinger, Vishal Chawla, and Anil Bhatia as Paul Harris Fellows for donating $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation or having donations made in their name.

Amelia Stansell, the incoming District 7610 Governor, was among the special guests, as were Pat Williams, the past Area 11 District Governor, and Michael Broyles, the incoming District Governor. "Working together; working with you; working for and having fun doing it — that's the true magic of Rotary," Kelly said.

Great Falls: Community News at a Glance

 Iqra Mian, whose higher education learning was supported by a scholarship from the Women’s Club of Great Falls Scholarship Fund Committee, helped her focus on her education rather than financial stress.

Women’s Club of Great Falls Scholarship Fund Raises $100,000

The Women’s Club of Great Falls Scholarship Fund Committee held its Kentucky Derby-themed fundraiser in May. The organization was “successful, for the second year in a row, in raising $100,000 for our George Mason and Northern Virginia Community College Scholarships,” said Connie Colabatistto. “We have added two more four-year student scholarship recipients [for the 2024-2025 school year.]” The scholarships go to local area students attending George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College.

One of the 2023-24 scholarship recipients, Sumita Chopra, said that this scholarship has helped her dream of becoming a high school transition specialist to help students with disabilities plan their future. 

A 2022-23 year student recipient, Iqra Mian, said, “It [the scholarship] allowed me to focus more on my education and studying … and has alleviated the financial stress.”