John A. Rollison III isn't letting a few snickers from his colleagues in the Virginia House of Delegates stand in the way of his crusade for trees.

Rollison, a Republican from eastern Prince William's 52nd District, suffered some unkind cuts last year from legislators who didn't think much of his "tree conservation" proposal in the General Assembly. Critics took special delight in quoting the bill's definition of a tree: "any self-supporting woody plant growing upon the earth which usually provides one main trunk and produces a distinct and elevated head with many branches."

The proposal failed.

Nonetheless, the concept of a tree ordinance -- allowing local governments to require developers to replace the self-supporting woody plants chopped down during construction -- is starting to catch on, according to Rollison.

At his request, the managers of Virginia's 141 localities were polled on the subject of a tree conservation bill. Of those who responded, 19 city and town managers supported the idea, while four were opposed. Among counties, 19 were in favor and an equal number were against.

Not surprisingly, Rollison said, support for a tree bill is greater in relatively populous localities, while officials in rural jurisdictions "don't see the need yet."

Even though Republican Donald E. Kidwell is retiring as Woodbridge representative on the Board of County Supervisors, he said he would not mind at all if the new board wants to reappoint him to the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation District Commission.

On the other hand, Kidwell said, he does not want people to get the idea that he is staying awake at nights scheming for the post. "I'm not lobbying for it," he insisted. The panel, which covers Prince William and Stafford counties and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, was formed last year with the aim of easing the region's traffic congestion.

The notion that Kidwell might keep his job as chairman of the transportation panel even as he gives up his supervisor post has been floating about county political circles in recent weeks. Some say Kidwell's experience on transportation issues is too valuable to lose.

Prince William appoints six members to the 14-member commission. For Kidwell to keep his job, at least two of the seven supervisors would have to decide that they would rather appoint Kidwell than themselves. Even the most selfless politician might have trouble swallowing that one.

It would be easier, Kidwell said, if they knew what serving on the commission is really like. "It's mostly nuts-and-bolts stuff," he said, not prestige and glamor.

There is a would-be robber out there who probably feels like the Rodney Dangerfield of crime. He got no respect recently when he tried to steal a 55-year-old woman's purse.

Myrtie Close of Winchester Court near Manassas was walking home one night this month when a man, whom she described as six feet tall and weighing 175 pounds, grabbed her purse. Or tried to.

Close grabbed it back. The man then told Close to give him her purse or he would shoot her. "Go ahead and try," she said, before running to her house, a short distance away, and slamming the door.