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Week In McLean

<sh>Car Crash Leads

To Gas Explosion

<bt>On Saturday, Dec. 30, at 6:20 p.m., a car smashed into a gas meter in a Tysons Corner apartment development in the 8200 block of Peridot Drive, causing a fire and explosion that displaced several residents and sent one woman to Fairfax Hospital with minor injuries.

"It was a Mini Cooper that went out of control in the parking lot, jumped the curb and sheared off a gas meter next to the garden apartment," said Dan Schmidt, a spokesman for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Gas escaped from the damaged meter and an explosion occurred between the first and second floor.

"Gas had collected between the joists, and somehow, somewhere, there was an ignition source that set off the natural gas and caused the explosion," said Schmidt.

He noted that the reason for the Mini Cooper's loss of control is still unclear.

"It just went out of control, but the police said that it appears to be accidental," said Schmidt.

According to Schmidt, the fire caused approximately $120,000 of damage to the 3-story garden apartment. The American Red Cross and the apartment complex's management company provided a community center space for those residents who were displaced. Schmidt said that he was unsure of how many residents were affected by the fire.

"A lot of people weren't there that night because it was a Saturday night of a holiday weekend, so we did not get an actual count," said Schmidt. "There were a lot of onlookers since it was a Saturday night in Tysons Corner, but no one was seriously hurt."

Schmidt said he did not know if the adult female who was taken to Fairfax Hospital was a resident or the driver of the car.

<sh>Dale To Address MCA

<bt>The McLean Citizens Association will hold a general membership meeting on Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the McLean Community Center, located at 1234 Ingleside Ave. In addition to the routine business, Dr. Jack Dale, superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, will be a guest speaker. Dale will discuss the budget, the school schedule, and other issues, and he will also answer citizen questions.

<sh>DWI Checkpoint Results in McLean District

<bt>Fairfax County Police officers from the McLean District Station conducted a sobriety checkpoint to deter and apprehend intoxicated drivers on Friday, Dec. 29, from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. All motorists were stopped and drivers were checked to assure that their abilities to drive had not been impaired by alcohol or drugs. Approximately 682 motorists were stopped in the westbound lanes of Leesburg Pike at Watson Street. One person was charged with driving while intoxicated and three people were cited for driving without a license. Four auxiliary police officers assisted with the DWI checkpoint.

<sh>McLean District Alcohol Sting

<bt> McLean District police officers, along with a member of the Traffic Safety Services Unit, conducted alcohol stings at 34 locations within the McLean, Falls Church and Vienna areas of Fairfax County on Thursday, Dec. 21. This operation is part of the ongoing youth alcohol enforcement campaign during the Safe December program. The operation is conducted using underage Fairfax County police cadets, dressed in plain clothes, who attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages. Fairfax County police cadets in plain clothes made 34 attempts to buy alcohol; clerks at the following three locations improperly sold alcoholic beverages: Rite Aid, 8224 Old Dominion Drive, McLean; Total Wine, 1451-B Chain Bridge Road, McLean, and Safeway Food, 3043 Nutley Street, Vienna. Each clerk who sold alcohol to a cadet was issued a summons for violation of Virginia State Code 4.1-304 (illegal sale of alcoholic beverage to a minor).

<sh>Fatal Crash in Great Falls

<bt>On Friday, Dec. 22, at approximately 11:15 a.m., Fairfax County Police said a 1991 Toyota Celica was traveling in the east bound lanes in the 8900 block of Georgetown Pike when the driver lost control of the car. According to Police, the Toyota veered into the west bound lanes of Georgetown Pike and crossed into the path of a 2002 Dodge Durango. Police said the passenger of the Toyota — identified as Byron Norberto Ceron Hernandez, 20, of the 7900 block of 18th Avenue in Hyattsville, Md. — was determined dead at the scene. The driver of the Toyota , an adult man from Maryland, was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The Durango driver, a 56-year-old Herndon-area man, and his 29-year-old passenger, also from Herndon, were not injured. Police said that weather appeared to be a factor. Charges are pending following the investigation.

<sh>'Confronting the Controversies'

<bt>What are some of today's most controversial issues? What makes them difficult to talk about? Can the church help explain the different views people have about these controversial issues and the role faith plays in shaping opinions and beliefs? These questions and more will be explored at Great Falls UMC beginning Jan. 7.

The church is beginning a seven-week study called "Confronting the Controversies: Biblical Perspectives on Tough Issues," and the public is invited to join in.

The series begins Jan. 7 with "The Separation of Church and State" followed each Sunday through Feb. 18 with "Creation and Evolution in the Public Schools"; "Homosexuality", "Euthanasia", "Prayer in the Public Schools", "Abortion", and "The Death Penalty." According to the Rev. Nancy Childress, pastor of Great Falls UMC, "These are issues that grab our attention and dominate headlines, and yet we don't often discuss them in church. We want to explore what God might be saying to us about these important issues, and we hope to do this in a setting of sensitivity and respect."

This event will include worship, sermons, and small-group studies that feature videos, Bible study, and discussion. The study, published by Abingdon Press, was developed by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, in Leawood, Kansas. Childcare is provided. Great Falls UMC is located at 10100 Georgetown Pike. For more information, contact the church office at 703-759-3705 or greatfallsumc@verizon.net or Rev. Nancy Childress or pastor.greatfallsumc@verizon.net.