Work to Begin Soon

On Mason Neck Trail

Construction will begin soon on the Mason Neck Trail, a six-mile-long, eight-foot-wide asphalt route between Richmond Highway (Route 1) and Great Marsh Trail near the Mason Neck Peninsula. A groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled for yesterday.

The trail will be suitable for cyclists, walkers, runners, in-line skaters and horseback riders. It will connect to the National Heritage Trail between Maine and Florida.

Construction will be in phases, with the first segment between the entrance to Mason Neck Park at High Point Road and the southern portion of Pohick Bay Regional Park just beyond the entrance to Gunston Hall Plantation.

The Mason Neck Trail was first envisioned during the mid-1990s by Johan de Leede, a Mason Neck resident who sought a bike path along Gunston Road, which will run parallel to the new trail. De Leede and Joe Chudzik joined other Mason Neck activists in securing endorsements from community associations, local agencies and the county Board of Supervisors.

Public Hearing Set

On County Budget

Public hearings on the county budget have been set for 7:30 p.m. on April 7, 8 and 9 at the Government Center.

County Executive Anthony H. Griffin is scheduled to present the spending plan at 10 a.m. Monday at the Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy.

The presentation will be televised live on Channel 16 and will be repeated at various times through March. The public hearings also will be televised.

The budget covers the fiscal year that begins July 1. Residents wishing to speak at the hearings should call the board clerk at 703-324-3151.

Albright to Speak

At McLean Conference

Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright is among 16 speakers scheduled for the Women's Center's annual Leadership Conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 8 at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner.

Albright was secretary of state during the Clinton administration and has been a frequent commentator on the war on terrorism and the disarmament of Iraq.

The theme of this year's conference, the center's 18th, is "Advancing the Agenda." Other speakers and panel discussion leaders include news personalities Paula Zahn, Nina Totenberg, A'Lelia Bundles and Andrea Roane.

Also participating are PBS President and chief executive Pat Mitchell, political psychologist Martha Burk, broadcasting and Internet executive Geraldine Laybourne, former U.S. senator Birch E. Bayh (D-Ind.), former assistant surgeon general Susan Blumenthal, former ambassador to Ecuador Ivonne A-Baki, University of Maryland women's scholar Robin Gerber, economist Heidi Hartmann, AOL co-founder James V. Kimsey, entrepreneur Lovey Hammel and former basketball player Mariah Burton Nelson.

Cost is $145 for members; $165 for nonmembers; and $170 for new members. To register, call 703-281-2657 or go to www.thewomenscenter.org.

County Saves Money

By Selling Bonds

The county government saved nearly $13 million by selling $171 million in bonds at a low interest rate, officials said.

The Aaa/AAA/AAA-rated tax-free, 10-year general obligation refunding bonds were sold Feb. 6 to Lehman Brothers at an interest rate of 2.72 percent, one of the lowest rates since the county first received a AAA rating from Moody's Investors Service in 1975.

Officials said the refunding bonds were sold to take advantage of current market conditions and low interest rates so the county could refund outstanding bonds that have higher interest rates and can be redeemed before their stated maturities.

Foundation to Build

Cultural Center

Fairfax County and City of Falls Church officials are scheduled to sign a lease today with the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation allowing the group to build a cultural center.

County and city officials agreed to buy the half-acre site of the original home of former NAACP president Joseph Tinner. The foundation plans to rebuild the home and add a meeting hall, turn-of-the-century barn and cultural center that it hopes will be a focal point of community activities in the Falls Church-Fairfax area.

The lease will be signed at a reception hosted by Cox Communications at Cox's Herndon offices.

Shapiro to Continue

Leading Park Board Winifred S. Shapiro (Braddock) has been reelected chairman of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. She has been a board member since 1997.

The board also voted to keep Gilbert S. McCutcheon (Mount Vernon) as vice chairman and Jennifer Heinz (at-large representative) as secretary-treasurer.

Two new board members have been appointed. They are Edward R. Batten Sr. (Lee) and Kevin J. Fay (Dranesville).

Channel 16 Airing

Planning Program

Channel 16 has begun airing a monthly 30-minute series, "The Planning Commission Roundtable."

The program is designed to give citizens, landowners, community groups and developers a better understanding of the commission's role in land use planning and developing. It also gives residents a place to voice their support or concerns with development projects.

Discussion topics will change each month and include segments on residential density criteria, the capital improvement program and revitalization efforts.

Viewers are invited to submit questions by mail or to e-mail plancom@fairfaxcounty.gov. For more information, call 703-324-2865.

Theater in McLean

Presents 'Jungle Book'

Beginning tomorrow, the Alden Theatre in McLean is scheduled to present a stage production of "The Jungle Book." It will showcase more than 15 area actors ages 10-14.

Adapted from Rudyard Kipling's "Mowgli" stories, the play is the story of a young boy raised by wolves and forced to learn the ways of the jungle. The story highlights the value and importance of friendship and loyalty.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 2. Tickets are $6.50 for adults; $4.50 for McLean Community Center district residents.

The theatre is at 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean. For more information, call 703-790-0123 or visit www.mcleancenter.org.

-- Compiled by Diane Mattingly

and Stephen C. Fehr

Madeleine K. Albright will be one of 16 speakers at the Women's Center's Leadership Conference on March 8.