Stories for August 2012

Stories for August 2012


Friday, August 31

Calendar: Aug. 29, 2012

Upcoming events and activities.

Military Notes

Military Notes

Mount Vernon School Notes

School Notes

Shear Fun

2nd Annual Cuts for Kids Day

More than 90 students from throughout the area were treated to free back-to-school haircuts thanks to Alexandria and Fairfax County firefighters who sponsored the second annual Cuts for Kids Day Aug. 27 at the Gum Springs Recreation Center.

Local Author Writes First Novel

Stephen D. Hayes, a Belle Haven resident since 1976, has written a fictionalized story that combines his love of sailing with his wartime experiences gained while serving for two years in the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam war.

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McKay Promises Field Improvements

VOICE tour highlights needs of area youth.

Touring three neglected athletic fields Aug. 15, Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay and Park Authority board member Edward Batten heard public testimony urging them to take action. Both expressed their intent to make the fields playable and safe.

Rising Hope Food Pantry in Critical Need

“We’re getting by day-to-day.”

“We’re getting by day-to-day, hour-by-hour,” said Sarah Heckman who manages the pantry. “I’m coming in the mornings and really praying God will put food on the shelves. I don’t think people know how much it takes to feed over 900 people a week.”

Column: Route 1 and Mount Vernon Community

The Mount Vernon area has been my home since 1975. It has been a wonderful place to raise a family and become a part of the community. One of the greatest issues facing us is the congestion on Route 1.

News Briefs: Training for Voter Registration Volunteers

A training session for volunteers who would like to help people register to vote in the fall presidential election will be led by Karla Mahoney, retired outreach director of the Fairfax County registrar’s office, at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, 1909 Windmill Lane, Alexandria Virginia, Monday Sept. 10 from 7-9 p.m.

News Briefs: SFDC To Host Apartment Tour

Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation will host a tour to highlight new multi-family developments in the Huntington-Groveton area.

News Briefs: Boater Education Course Offered

A boater's education course that meets the boating education requirements for Virginia, Maryland and D.C. will be offered by Flotilla 25-8 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary on Oct. 20.

News Briefs

Emergency Closes Belvoir Gates

Fort Belvoir Police responded to a report of a possible gunman at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital just before 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug 21 .

Brief: Honest-1 Auto Care Opens

Honest-1 Auto Care, a full-service auto repair and maintenance franchise that is 100 percent ESA Certified Eco-Friendly, recently opened its newest location at 8648 Richmond Highway in Alexandria.

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Mount Vernon Field Hockey Led by Senior Class

Majors have played in three consecutive district championship games.

The Mount Vernon field hockey team went 3-0-1 at the "Under the Lights" tournament Aug. 24-25 at Lee High School.

Thursday, August 30

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Drive Nets 1,026 Backpacks

UCM exceeded its goal to raise $10,000 and collect 1,000 backpacks for the children and youth in UCM’s programs. Each backpack contains approximately $40 worth of school supplies.

Classified Advertising Aug 29, 2012

Read the latest Classified ads here!

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In Process

The construction at George Washington Library is in process.

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Dance Class at Hollin Hall Senior Center

Seniors enjoy their dance class.

Letter: No Official Position, Unchanged

I support Glenda Booth's right to personally oppose the OLDA, but when she drifts off into the netherland of trying to multiply her personal opposition by attaching it to organizations that haven't officially agreed with her, or have not taken an official position she can point to, it would be irresponsible to refrain from pointing it out.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: July, 2012

In July 2012, 132 homes sold between $3,500,000-$62,900 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales in July, 2012

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‘Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ at Signature Theatre

It was known as The Chicken Ranch, a century-old “business” in La Grange, Texas, that earned its nickname for accepting chickens as payment for services rendered.

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911's Complete Failure

Fairfax County says Verizon "failed completely" during June 29 derecho.

"It’s like the captain of the Titanic telling passengers the ship hit an iceberg when the bow is on the bottom of the ocean floor." —Steve Souder, Fairfax County 911 Director

Letter: Separate and Unequal - II

Your editorial in the titled "Separate and Unequal ?" [The Connection, July 25-31, 2012], addressed the "eye-popping" disparately low admission of Black and Latino students to Thomas Jefferson High School, and the complaint that this was "in voilation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin."

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Known and Unknown: What Would Candidates Do In Richmond If Elected?

Two candidates in special election say they don't know what bills they would introduce next year.

Voters in next week’s special election will be faced with a choice between the familiar and the unknown in the Sept. 4 special election.

Wednesday, August 29

Column: Diagnosed But Not Sick

Having/being diagnosed with cancer/a terminal disease is neither fun nor funny; however, unless I find some humor or wishful thinking in how I approach this situation, I don’t suppose I’ll be approaching it much longer. To me, it’s always been mind over matter, and even though these matters are rather serious, I still don’t mind.

Tuesday, August 28

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How To Register, Vote and Vote Early

Election Day is Nov. 6, but you can vote as early as Sept. 21.

How important is it for Virginia voters to turn out on or before Nov. 6? As a critical “battleground” state, Virginia will be key in determining who will be the next President of the United States. Who will represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate is also too close to call. Since polling shows that there are very few undecided voters in the Commonwealth, every eligible voter will want to be sure to cast a ballot.

Monday, August 27

Army of Appointees Helps Keep County Running

Newcomers & Community Guide

The following individuals have been appointed by Supervisor Gerry Hyland to serve on various county boards, commissions and authorities as representatives of the Mount Vernon District.

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Newcomers Are Needed to Volunteer

Here are four agencies to join.

Altruistic? Enjoy helping others?

The Forces That Shape Mount Vernon

Transit study to relieve Route 1 corridor traffic gridlock; boundary studies to relieve overcrowded schools.

The decision several years ago by the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) to massively expand the Fort Belvoir military base on Route 1 near Woodlawn Plantation will continue to be felt by the Mount Vernon community in many ways and for years to come.

Community Leaders Outline High Priority Local Issues

Community leaders and elected officials detail the issues they see as important in the Mount Vernon area.

Rev. Charles Brock Named as St. James’ Rector

The Rev. Charles F. Brock, most recently associate rector at St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church in Annandale, has accepted a call to be rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Mount Vernon, beginning Sept. 2.

Welcome to Mount Vernon

Welcome to Mount Vernon, an area steeped in history and full of exciting activities.

Editorial: About the Gazette, a Connection Newspaper

The paper you're reading, the Mount Vernon Gazette is one of 15 papers published by the independent, locally owned Local Media Connection LLC, serving the suburbs of Metropolitan Washington in Northern Virginia and Potomac, Md.

Shaping a Route 1 Bypass Proposal

Plan includes “Equestrian Underpass.”

According to supporters of Woodlawn Stables, the Federal Highway Administration has offered an alternative bypass proposal that would allow the riding academy to continue operation, preserve more acreage and build new barn facilities on the remaining property.

Commentary: Feds Approve Voting Law Changes

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice approved Virginia’s voting law changes for use in the Nov. 6 election. Many are questioning why DOJ approved the changes.

Letter: Expand Use of Sworn Testimony

August is a good month to take a step back and think about what improvements can be made in the discourse occurring in the civic arena. In August, the Board of Supervisors (BOS), Planning Commission (PC), Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), and Park Authority (FCPA) are all in recess along with the MVCCA.

Letter: Supports Natural Resource Parks

I write to clarify the position of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia on the development of Westgrove Park, in response to Jay Spiegel's Aug. 15 letter to the Mount Vernon Gazette.

Friday, August 24

Opinion: Mindless Slashing

Automatic cuts set to kick in January would harm Northern Virginia more than any other region.

While reducing the federal deficit is critical to the nation's economic health in the long run, the knee jerk, slash and burn method based only on cuts that is coming at us like a freight train will do immense damage to the economy nationally. But no place would feel the pain more intensely than Northern Virginia.

Thursday, August 23

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State Senator Shares Places-to-See

Q&A With Chap Petersen

Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen (D-34) represents central and western Fairfax in the Virginia State Senate. He grew up and lives in Fairfax City.

Wednesday, August 22

Classified Advertising Aug. 22, 2012

Read the latest Home and Garden, Employment and Classifieds here!

Column: Life in the Cancer Lane

Having been there and done that now for three and a half years certainly helps. And however familiar it may be and/or has become, it doesn’t exactly help to pass the time or affect the results, unfortunately. Cancer sucks! That much is clear. Now and in the future.

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Riverside Estates Median Clean-up

Residents of Riverside Estates volunteered on May 4 to do a little clean-up on the median strips bordering the residential community off Old Mount Vernon Road. Throughout the morning volunteers cleared weeds and trash in the flower beds and added mulch to the shrubs and bushes along the roadside.

Friday, August 17

Nearly 800 Jobs Added to the Local Economy

Information technology firms and professional service companies see growth.

Information technology firms continue to do well in a sluggish economy, according to a new report from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). During the second quarter of 2012, the FCEDA provided services and resources to 33 businesses that are adding almost 800 jobs in Fairfax County. Most of these businesses are in the information technology and professional services sectors and four are foreign-based firms using a Fairfax County location to expand in North America.

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Minority-Owned Businesses Prosper in Fairfax County

Companies generate more than $1 billion in revenue and provide more than 1,000 jobs.

Businesses owned by Hispanics, African-Americans and women shine in Fairfax County, according to the latest national rankings for largest or fastest-growing companies. "Fairfax County is proud to be a community in which companies of all descriptions can and do succeed to a greater extent than in the rest of the region, the state or the country," said Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, which supports and monitors the growth of local businesses. Eleven Fairfax County-based companies are among the 500 largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the nation based on revenue — more than the total in 40 states, according to a recent report by The Fairfax County companies are among 22 from Virginia on the 2012 Hispanic Business 500 list.

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Time for School

Advice on how to transition from a laid-back summer to a hectic academic year.

When Ellen Feldman’s 5-year-old son started school for last fall, one of the biggest adjustments for the single mother of two was having to adhere to a schedule. “All of a sudden we went from being able to do things on our own time frame to having to wake up and be at a certain place at a certain time,” said Feldman. “Sending my son off to school for the first time was exciting, but also difficult.”

Thursday, August 16

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$30,000 to Community Lodgings

Walmart funds after-school programs for teens.

No sooner had Community Lodgings Executive Director Bonnie Baxley been presented a check for $30,000 from Walmart store manager William Hunsucker, she asked for more. “Do you have any tents?” she queried.

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Theatre Sports Summer Camp

West Potomac High School drama instructor Phillip Clark held a week-long camp in the art of Theatre Sports.

Editorial: Starting School Prepared

First day of school is Sept. 4; local nonprofits provide school supplies and weekend food.

With school beginning in a few weeks, area charitable organizations have been collecting contributions of new backpacks, calculators, other school supplies, money and gift cards and winter coats to help the tens of thousands of truly needy Northern Virginia students.

Classified Advertising Aug. 15, 2012

Read the latest Classified, Home and Garden and Employment!

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Making Ice Cream, Colonial-Style

As the temperature and humidity raced toward 90 on Aug. 4, chocolate ice cream was being made in the green house at the Mount Vernon Estate.

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Three-Way Race for the House of Delegates Special Election

Voters to choose between Democrat, Republican and Libertarian in lightning-fast campaign.

Voters in the special election for the House of Delegates have a variety of choices, offering candidates on the left and the right and somewhere in between.

Wednesday, August 15

Column: A Pill a Day…

Hopefully will keep the cancer at bay. (I’d say “away,” but let’s be realistic, three and a half years past a NSCLC diagnosis, there is no way, generally speaking, that stage IV lung cancer disappears into the ether; it’s classified as stage IV for a reason.

Thursday, August 9

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Celebrating National Night Out

Celebrating National Night Out Photos.

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Howell and Harrington Engaged

Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Howell of Clifton announce the engagement of their daughter, Laura Marie Howell of Arlington, to Brian Michael Harrington of Alexandria, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Harrington of Alexandria.

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Backpacks Urgently Needed at Rising Hope

Aug. 30 and 31 are the distribution days.

A spunky New Yorker, Sula Tyler won’t admit to panic but it’s fair to say that as minister of children and youth at Rising Hope Mission she’s facing a mountain of concern.

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Six Tons of Produce Arrive at Rising Hope Mission Church

Distribution is free every fourth Friday.

“Get your cabbage! Get your eggplant!” a Rising Hope volunteer called out.

No More Details

Fairfax and Arlington reject requests by Virginia Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability.

The Virginia Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability, Inc. received a qualified “No” from the Fairfax County Police to four FOIA requests the community organization sent last month. A fifth FOIA request to the Arlington County police did provide some FOIA-related information.

Church To Host Homecoming Worship Service

The Rev. Dr. Darrell K. White and congregation of Bethlehem Baptist Church will celebrate their Annual Homecoming Worship Service on Sunday, Aug. 12, at 12 p.m.

Letter: Check Spending Line by Line

Thoughts on taxes.

Letter: Beyond Schools’ And TJ’s Control

Thoughts on the lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson High School

Letter: Natural Doesn’t Require Pristine

A rebuttal to Mr. Spiegel's thoughts on Dyke Marsh.

Letter: Inhibiting Progress

Thoughts on civic progress.

Letter: Backpacks Needed

Request for backpacks.

Realizing a Dream

Garrett begins job of deputy fire chief.

Since he was a boy, William Garrett knew he’d grow up to be a firefighter. Although he and his family have lived in Centreville six-and-a-half years, he was born and raised in Alexandria’s Gum Springs community — and that’s where the spark was ignited.

Classified Advertising Aug. 8, 2012

Read the lastest Classified, Employment and Home and Garden ads!

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A Stark Choice: Candidates in Special Election Are on Opposite Sides of Key Issues

Voters to choose between radically different views in September.

The summer of 2012 is turning out to be the hottest political season in recent memory, and not just because of the record-breaking temperatures.

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Beacon of Groveton May Be a Sign of Things to Come on Richmond Highway

High-end rental units and ground-level retail will be a first-of-its-kind on the corridor.

When the high-end residential units at the Heights at Groveton open next month, Richmond Highway will begin a new chapter in its long history.

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Collingwood for Sale: 8.7-Acre Estate on the Market for $5.9 million

Construction of $2 million American Legacy Center created hefty debt for nonprofit.

The dream of a museum dedicated to Americana may be dead, and an important community center may be privatized.

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Should Virginia Compensate for Dark Days of Eugenics?

Del. Patrick Hope (D-44) asks governor and General Assembly to form a task force.

The number of victims is unknown in Virginia’s system of forced sterilization, a dark chapter that stretched from the 1920s into the 1970s.

Wednesday, August 8

Column: Derive to Survive

Now that I can taste food again, or rather have food taste like normal again, my attitude is much improved.

Monday, August 6

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Beacon for the Future

Urban development may be a sign of things to come on Richmond Highway.

When the high-end residential units at the Heights at Groveton open next month, Richmond Highway will begin a new chapter in its long history.

Thursday, August 2

Alexandria/Mount Vernon Calendar Events 8/1/12

Alexandria/Mount Vernon Calendar Events

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Demon Barber of Fleet Street Benefits Alexandria Charities

If you were unable to obtain a ticket to London for the 2012 Olympics you can still take part in a unique British cultural experience. Alexandria resident Brooke Curran is hosting a charity event on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the Little Theatre of Alexandria on behalf of at-risk children living in the city.

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Receive Shoes at Rising Hope

Like Christ, 12 Samaritan’s Feet volunteers wash feet.

Twelve 9th grade Samaritan’s Feet volunteers from Charlotte, N.C., washed the feet of 250 children Tuesday morning, July 31, at Rising Hope Mission Church.

Hyland Praises John Byers’ Depth of Community Service

In Remembrance

It is with extreme sadness that I must share with you that my good friend and former Planning Commissioner John Byers passed away Sunday [July 29] at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. John's love for Mount Vernon was only surpassed by his love for his wife Peggy and his three children Susan, Leslie and Dan.

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Dogs Get Their Reward

Two-year interim use approved as master plan moves forward.

After a protracted community debate over the past two years on whether or not to establish an Off Leash Dog Park (OLDA) within Westgrove Park, the Fairfax County Park Authority, with the concurrence of the Planning Commission, recently approved an Interim Use OLDA at Westgrove Park for two years.

Letter: State Taxpayers Pay Federal Too

Thoughts on Economic debt and Healthcare

Letter: True War On Women

Thoughts on a previous letter, "War Against Women."

Letter: We Are All Environmentalists

Thoughts on Dyke Marsh.

Obituary: Harry Clay Hoffman III Lt. Col. U.S. Army (retired)

Harry Clay Hoffman III, 81, died peacefully of natural causes in Richmond on July 26, 2012.

Mount Vernon School Notes 8/2/12

Mount Vernon School Notes

Classified Advertising (Aug. 1, 2012)

Read the lastest Employment, Home and Garden and Classified ads!

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Lightning Campaign Pits Longtime Elected Official Against Progressive Newcomer

Democrats to determine special election candidate this weekend.

This week, Democrats will determine their candidate in a special election blitz campaign that offers little time for voters to learn much about their options.

Wednesday, August 1

On the Way To Improving U.S. 1 North of Fort Belvoir

The other day, I came across and article about the widening of Route 1 in Woodbridge. Between that and the coming federally-funded widening through Fort Belvoir, I often get queries from constituents who want to know why Route 1 is being improved there, but not between Woodlawn and the Beltway. There are two reasons — planning and money.

Column: Choosing My Words, Respectively

It has been brought to my attention by some regular Kenny-column readers – who are friends, too, and whose opinions I value, that my most recent batch of “cancer columns” (as I call them) were not funny; in fact, they were more depressing and negative than anything, and not nearly as uplifting and hopeful as many of my previous columns have been.

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Getting a Body Like an Olympian

Local fitness gurus offer gold medal advice for achieving a toned, muscular body.

Muscular legs, toned abs and buffed biceps are hard to miss in London this week, but is it possible for the average sports fan to achieve a body like an Olympian? Local fitness experts say "maybe."

Taking Care of One’s Teeth

American Dental Association says many Americans don’t know basic oral care.

Here’s a pop quiz: How often should a person replace their toothbrush? "Once a year," said Terrie Andrews of McLean.

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Beating Bad Breath

Dental experts offer solutions for chronic halitosis.

When Amanda Welch’s boyfriend asked her to marry him last spring, she accepted his proposal on one condition: that he find a cure for his bad breath.

Editorial: Readers Respond on TJ Admissions

"Stop making smart 8th graders feel inferior because they are not admitted."

Readers responded to last week's editorial, which cited a civil rights complaint about the apparent lack of access to gifted and talented programs and admission to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.