Stories for January 2012

Stories for January 2012


Tuesday, January 31

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Making the Most out of Winter

A survival guide for indoor and outdoor enthusiasts.

We all know the type. Those chipper, cheery souls who bound out of bed in sub-zero temperatures to embrace any opportunity to get outside. But for many people, it's a challenge to stay active during the winter months.

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Wellbeing: Cybercycling for Better Health

Exergaming — exercise combined with video games — might offer a greater cognitive benefit than traditional exercise alone.

The same staccato beeps and flashing graphics that keep some youth glued to video games might also boost cognitive function in senior citizens.

Editorial: About Halfway

Always entertaining, the high-stakes session of the Virginia General Assembly reaches new heights this month.

The user-friendly website for the Virginia General Assembly plus live-streaming of the legislative sessions might make you believe that most of the important decisions in Richmond are being made out in the sunshine.

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For people who smoke, January is a time to quit.

For people who have resolved to quit smoking, the new year’s resolution to quit marks both a challenge and an opportunity.

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The Kelley Cares Mobile

Multi-Sensory room takes to the road.

The Kelley Cares Foundation unveiled its latest and largest project to date with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 21 at City Hall to officially open the Kelley Cares Multi-Sensory Mobile.

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MVCS Honored with Healthy School Award

Students win $1,000 for PE department.

The efforts of 115 Mount Vernon Community School students who braved the torrential rains and cold temperatures last Oct. 29 paid off when MVCS was honored Jan. 19 as one of the top five schools that participated in the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids Fun Run.

Monday, January 30

City Students: No. 1 in Poverty

Superintendent proposes $236 million budget; more students eligible for free and reduced price meals.

Superintendent of Schools Morton Sherman unveiled his FY2013 budget on Thursday, Jan. 19, describing his plan as "about the best budget we could have come up with. It is the coalescing of the work we’ve done over the past four years."

Column: Seminary Valley

With our real estate tax bills freshly arrived, you might be wondering how recent home sales in Seminary Valley are going.

Column: Legislation Starts To Move Forward

The General Assembly completed its first full week of work this week.

Linda Graninger Davis

Linda Graninger Davis of Belle Haven died on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 at Mount Vernon Hospital of an aneurism. She was 93 years old.

Construction Work at Simpson Park

As part of the construction of Potomac Yard Park, Potomac Yard Development LLC will rebuild the restroom and storage building at Simpson Park, 426 E Monroe Avenue. PYD’s General Contractor, KT Enterprises, will demolish the existing building in January.

Column: A New Session for New State Senator

With the 2012 General Assembly underway, this is my first report as from Richmond as your new senator for the 30th Senate District.

Column: Racing Against the Clock When Heart Attack Strikes

About every 34 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. On Nov. 18, 2011, that "someone" included Leesburg resident Richard Fleeman.

Column: Working To Improve Quality of Life

Working to create a better life for the next generation has always been a key component of our American values. There has always been a cost — whether in the form of laws or taxes, and today that is no different.

Column: Some Bills Move Forward, While Others Create a Stir

With the General Assembly session moving at its typical breakneck pace, several of my initiatives are moving forward, while others are creating a stir.

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Column: In Service to Their Community

The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Summit participant attendance numbers increased this year with families from the community stopping in to help make sure the service projects were accomplished.

Column: All in the Family

In 1957, William’s* parents gave each of their sons a plot of land on North Quaker Lane on which to build a home. "I think we only had $.25 but we got a house built somehow," remembers William’s widow, Arminta.

Column: Budget Plan Invests in Community’s Future

I am honored to present to you my FY 2013 Proposed Operating Budget which is dedicated to the amazing students who attend Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS).

Letter: Fair and Balanced

I want to compliment the Alexandria Gazette Packet for its fair and balanced reporting on the ongoing saga of the Waterfront Plan.

Letter: Appreciative Foundation

The Kelley Cares Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends, relatives, volunteers and sponsors who have continued to support Kelley Cares since our formation six years ago.

Letter: Council Could Have Compromised

Last Saturday, City Council passed the Waterfront Plan and the Rezoning of three waterfront parcels to encourage development.

Letter: Insufficient Evidence

H. Jay Spiegel and Martin Tillett wrote complementary letters on voter photo IDs and voter fraud, published in your Jan. 19 edition. Mr. Spiegel’s citations were nearly perfect examples of the slippery definitions of ‘voter fraud’ cited by Mr. Tillett.

Letter: Inappropriate Recommendation

There they go again. At their December 2011 Council meeting, the MVCCA passed a resolution (by a vote of 14-0, barely 1/4 of the 55 MVCCA member associations) urging the County to amend its laws to make the County, rather than the homeowner, responsible for sewer line repairs under a public street.

Letter: Voter Fraud and Partisan Politics

With each historical effort to protect and extend the right to vote, both political parties have argued that expanding the franchise, whether through federal protections for voting rights or by reducing barriers, would lead to more voter fraud.

Letter: Help Make A Difference

Thank you so much for your recent call to volunteerism in your editorial on Jan. 5. As the new volunteer & community relations coordinator at United Community Ministries (UCM) in Alexandria, your powerful message of volunteerism’s impact rings particularly true for me and my agency.

Letter: Mockery of Government

The Alexandria City Council has voted on and passed the waterfront plan that has been opposed by the majority of the residents this council supposedly represents. Why has this majority body of Democrats even gone through the motions of public hearings and spend unknown amounts of taxpayers’ money while all along they have known how they would vote on the issue.

Letter: No to HOV Ramp

The Virginia Department of Transportation is proposing to remove large numbers of trees, and other vegetation, along I-395, between Seminary Road and Sanger Avenue. The removal is needed, says VDOT, to widen I-395, so that there will be room for ramp from the HOV lanes, going northbound, to connect to Seminary Road.

Letter: Flouting Public Opinion

I would like to thank Councilmember Alicia Hughes for standing by the citizens in Saturday’s waterfront vote, particularly in her remark that she sees her role as an elected representative to implement the public’s wishes on a matter where an informed public has formed a view.

Letter: City Needs Ombudsman

If ever there was a time for Alexandria to have an ombudsman, now is the time with the majority of Alexandria residents lack of trust with our elected officials and department administrators.

Letter: Small Area Plan Disaster

As some of you may know, I voiced an opinion about the proposed Arlandria Re-Development plan that praised the concept, the new tax revenue, the revitalization of the area and the addition of developer funded affordable housing units. As this letter progresses, please keep in mind that as the developer in Arlandria adds affordable units, it is not tearing a single one down.

Letter: Explaining Her No Vote

I voted against the Waterfront Small Area Plan and accompanying text amendment on Saturday. I want to clear up any misunderstanding on why.

Letter: Restore Pregnancy Prevention Funding

At the beginning of the Virginia General Assembly session earlier this month, Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled his proposed $85 billion budget for the next two fiscal years. Buried way down in the massive document is a cut of $455,000 for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative which serves seven Virginia communities, including Alexandria.

Letter: A Lack of Leadership

I was not at all surprised, sadly, by the 5-2 vote in favor of the City’s waterfront plan on Saturday. What continues to astound me is the total disregard of the Democratic majority on City Council for citizens who don’t agree with them.

Letter: The Day City’s Democratic Party Died

As an activist labor Democrat on a national scale it pains me to admit that Alexandria’s Democratic Party produces elected mutants.

Letter: Later, Later

I am an Alexandria resident and retired librarian who also worked as a contractor with FEMA's flood insurance program. I was an opponent of Alexandria's Waterfront Development "Draft Plan."

Letter: Residents Ignored

There was a time when the opinions of civic associations would have carried some weight at City Hall.

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Voorhees Leads West Potomac Gymnasts in Home Meet

Seniors Bell, Tupitza, Muir compete at home for final time.

West Potomac gymnast Marien Voorhees turned to a nearby Wolverines supporter and said "I’m scared" prior to her floor routine during the team’s lone home meet of the season on Jan. 23. Nerves were getting to the junior, who would attempt her first full layout of the year. As it turned out, Voorhees had nothing to worry about.

Sunday, January 29

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Sports Briefs: West Potomac Boys, Girls Swim Teams Win

In the last meet of the regular season, the West Potomac girls’ and boys’ swim and dive teams posted wins over the Lee Lancers on Jan. 20 at the Lee District Recreation Center.

Wilson Clutch for Wolverines in Win over Bruins

West Potomac boys one game out of first in Patriot District.

West Potomac senior Tamaric Wilson made a name for himself intercepting passes as a defensive back for the school’s football team. On Jan. 17, it was basketball Wilson wrestled away from an opponent to lift the Wolverines to victory.

Thursday, January 26

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Moderate Mutiny

Former governor wants to impose Virginia “talent economy” on Washington; increase bipartisanship.

With the sluggish economy at the forefront of voters’ minds this year, former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine hopes to put fiscal issues at the top of his campaign to fill the seat vacated by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.

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Politics of Notification

Father takes his plight for increased parental notification to Richmond.

Steve Stuban can’t help but wonder if things could have turned out differently.

Council Notebook

Smoking is still legal in Alexandria, but it’s increasingly discouraged.

In Session

Now that congressional redistricting has moved through the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate, a picture of 2012 is beginning to take shape

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West End Worries

Beauregard small-area plan raises concerns about displacing poor residents.

Like the street that bears his name, Confederate Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was difficult to manage.

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It’s Done, Sort Of

Controversial plan passes on 5-to-2 vote; opponents vow to overturn.

After hearing more than eight hours of heated testimony for and against a controversial plan to allow hotels and increase density at three sites on the waterfront, Alexandria City Council members cast a party line vote on the planning documen

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Protesting the Vote

Alexandria officials say City Hall is not open for business during a public hearing.

Is City Hall open for business during a public hearing? Alexandria officials say no, but that could be a matter litigated in the Alexandria Circuit Court.

Wednesday, January 25

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Scandal Highlights Child Sex Abuse

Fairfax County police say reports, concerns rose in wake of scandal.

The fallout from the Penn State child sex abuse scandal — arrests, firings and the disgrace of a sports icon — has also promoted a heightened awareness of child sexual abuse.

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Column: For All I Know…

Skipping my monthly targeted treatment (Avastin) because my kidneys are under stress might be a good thing. It might mean my body doesn’t need (it certainly doesn’t want) to be infused.

School Board Needs Public’s Input

Recently, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale presented the School Board with his proposal for next year’s budget.

Tuesday, January 24

Recognized for Outstanding Performance

Bruce L. Green, regional vice president of Weichert, Realtors, announced the Reston/Herndon office was recognized for outstanding performance in December.

Claudia Marie Chaillé, 68, of Reston, Dies

Claudia Marie Chaillé, 68 of Reston and Waimanalo, Hawaii passed away on Jan. 18, 2012.

Column: Soulless Ant Colony

That is what a reporter for Norfolk’s Virginian Pilot called Reston in a column recently.

Column: Hidden Candidates

Besides a race for President in 2012, we have elections for one-third of 100 U.S. Senate seats and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

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Dranesville Student Wins Helmet Competition

Nasim and Subia Khan drove all the way from Herndon to Richmond to celebrate their daughter’s achievement.

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Finding Winter Fun, Vienna-Style

Cold-weather activities abound if you know where to look.

It’s not just the children who need fun winter activities … grown-ups, families, everyone looks for things to do when it’s dark by 6 p.m. and cold outside.

Column: Battles to Preserve Voter Access

Assembly is seeing numerous bills to limit participation at all levels of voting.

The 2012 General Assembly is in full swing. The committees are selected and legislation filed. Some of the sharpest battles are forming on the issue of voter access.

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Run-a-Thon Raises Almost $25K for New School Track

More than 600 students run in support of project.

After collecting final donations in early December, the Marshall Road Elementary School (MRES) PTA announced that it raised almost $25,000 in support of its initiative to build a new school track. P

Concetta "Connie" (Botte) Massa died Jan. 20, in Iowa City, IA

Concetta "Connie" (Botte) Massa, 97, who lived in Vienna for 40 years, died Jan 20, 2012 in Iowa City, Iowa, after a short illness.

John F. Ellis, 68, of Vienna, Dies

John Francis Ellis, 68, passed away peacefully while in the care of Coastal Hospice at the Lake in Salisbury, Md. on Jan. 18.

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Sports Brief: Alexandria

Erg Sprints Looking For Volunteers

Alexandria Sports Briefs: Erg Sprints Looking For Volunteers, SSSAS Wrestling Wins City Tournament, Episcopal Boys Improve to 11-1, TC Boys Snap 4-Game Losing Streak, TC Girls Beat Annandale, BI Girls Beat O’Connell

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Petersen, Keam Discuss Richmond Agenda

State Sen. Chap Petersen and Del. Mark Keam conduct Town Hall meeting at American Legion.

Transportation, transportation, transportation. While other topics, such as education funding, arose at the Jan. 21 Town Hall meeting conducted by Virginia Sen. Chap Petersen [D-34] and Del. Mark Keam [D-35], it was Vienna-area transportation problems – funding and execution of projects – that local residents voiced most concern and frustration over.

Vienna Kitchen Gets Spicy

Scientist turns her skills to blending spices.

Stepping into Deepa Patke’s Vienna kitchen is like walking into a parfumerie for foodies…Indian food foodies.

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Sports Brief: Arlington

Yorktown Swim and Dive Teams Beat Edison

The Yorktown swim and dive team traveled to South Run Recreation Center on Friday, Jan. 13 for a swim meet with Edison, emerging as the winner in both the boys’ and girls’ meets. Both teams are now 6-0 for the season.

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Chamber Installs 2012 Board

Lisa Huffman welcomed as new ViennaTysons Regional Chamber president.

On Jan. 19, the ViennaTysons Regional Chamber of Commerce [VTRCC] installed its 2012 Board of Directors in a luncheon program at Maggiano’s at Tysons Galleria.

Scouts Receiving Eagle Scout Honors

Three Boy Scouts from Troop 869 of Trinity United Methodist Church in McLean will receive their Eagle Scout awards at a Court Honor to be held on Jan. 29 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church

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Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy

The week before the holiday celebrated in his honor, Churchill Road students learned about Martin Luther King, Jr.

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VHSL Sets New Direction for Classifying Schools

At its Dec. 7 meeting, the Virginia High School League (VHSL), the governing body of high school sports in the state, voted to develop a new classification model for high school sports teams and leagues to be presented to the VHSL Executive Committee on Feb. 22.

Forum on Stopping Dating Abuse

"What's Love Got To Do With It? Healthy Relationships and Dating," an educational interactive program will be held Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the McLean High School auditorium (1633 Davidson Road in McLean).

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Cleaning Up at Churchill Road

Webelo Pack #665 coordinated a clean-up at Churchill Road School campus on Saturday, Jan. 14.

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Collage Workshop at Churchill Road

On Jan. 13, Churchill Road fourth graders participated in a collage workshop taught by McLean Project for the Arts ArtReach Director Sharon Fishel.

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Saving Dolphins in Great Falls

‘Dolphin Tale’ rescuer visits Forestville Elementary.

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, Aquatic first-responder and educator Brandon Paquin spoke to students at Forestville Elementary. Paquin is one of the marine biologists who helped to rescue and rehabilitate Winter, the dolphin featured in the film "Dolphin Tale.

PTA Reflections Program

The theme of the 2010/2011 PTA Reflections program was "Diversity means..."The PTA Reflections Program was described by its founder, Mary Lou Anderson, as "almost too simple." That simplicity—of asking children to express themselves artistically based on a common theme—is the foundation of this long-standing PTA program.

Monday, January 23

Weekly Entertainment (Vienna/McLean/Great Falls)

Jan. 25-Jan. 31

Weekly entertainment in the Vienna/McLean/Great Falls area.

Letter: Unethical Behavior

Letter to the Editor: Unethical Behavior -- What else is the County covering up regarding its Brickyard giveaway?

Friday, January 20

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Preston Mulford Is Mourned

Local family patriarch dies at 82.

Well-known in the local area, the Mulfords have lived and operated the Mulford School here for decades. But on Jan. 6, the family’s patriarch, Preston Mulford, died at age 82.

Getting Help for Teen Substance-Abusers

If teens want to obtain drugs or alcohol in the local area, it’s fairly easy for them to do so. But it’s also just as easy to get them help for their addictions.


Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012

News briefs for Centreville and Chantilly.

The Horrors of Heroin Use

Three local residents share their stories.

It’s not easy to stand in public and bear one’s soul about life’s most tragic moments, but that’s what Tayler Gibson, Greg Lannes and Greg Richter did recently. Addressing the Sully District Police Station’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), they described in detail how heroin had affected their lives.

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Chantilly High Presents Cinderella’s Untold Story

Children’s show is Jan. 27-29.

Although the story of Cinderella is one that’s well-known, leave it to Chantilly High to tell it in a new and hilarious way.

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Alliance Gets Several WATCH Nods

Nominated for community theater awards.

Two musical productions of the Centreville-based, community-theater company, The Alliance Theatre — “Hairspray” and “Little Shop of Horrors — have been nominated for a number of WATCH awards for last year's season.

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Yorktown Aquatic Center Opens

The newly completed Yorktown Aquatic Center held a ribbon cutting and grand opening on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 15.

“Flourishing After 55”

“Flourishing After 55” from Arlington’s Office of Senior Adult Programs for Jan. 30 - Feb. 4.

Little Theatre Earns 43 WATCH Nominations

'Hairspray' is top area production with 22 nods.

With an astounding 43 nominations, The Little Theatre of Alexandria led the way as the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors announced the nominees for the 2012 WATCH Awards Jan. 15 at the Birchmere Music Hall.

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Senior Skaters Have High Old Time at Iceplex

Weekly morning skate attracts seniors.

Question: Where can you find 40 people over 55 swooping in circles for an hour early Monday mornings? Answer: The top of an eight story parking garage leased from Arlington County which also serves as home to the Washington Capitals. Explanation: Ice skating.

'25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

LTA production spells success.

It's an American institution that millions of children have suffered through — the spelling bee — and contestants in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are preparing for the county championship in this lively production of the Tony Award-winning musical now playing at The Little Theatre of Alexandria.

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Taste the Challenge

1K wine walk promotes Crystal City shopping.

Long distance races require advanced preparation, determination and grit. 1K wine walks, on the other hand, require a willingness to step outside of boundaries and try new tastes.

Winfred Winans (Fred) Charlot Dies

Winfred Winans (Fred) Charlot, 49, died at his home in Buena Vista on Dec. 27, 2011 after battling esophageal cancer.

Insightful Technology

Advances in technology levels the playing field for people who are blind.

Ian Elliott is a contract specialist for Boeing, and knows how to read the fine print. Unlike many who deal in contracts, however, Elliott is legally blind.

Letter: Additional Work Needed

As a member of Alexandria’s Waterfront Work Group, I participated in the recently completed review of the City’s waterfront plan.

Time To Dig Deeper

It is time for the closing arguments for and against the City Waterfront Plan.

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Inked in Arlington

DC Tattoo Expo draws crowds and bodywork.

Ink aficionados from across the country crowded the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington for the second DC Tattoo Expo, held Jan. 12-15. Organizers estimated that twice as many people were in attendance as the previous year’s event.

A Concept, Not a Plan

I attended almost all of the meetings last fall of the Waterfront Plan Working Group appointed by Mayor Euille.

It’s About Quality of Life

Look around Alexandria. What percentage of Old Town is actually old?

Waterfront Plan Deserves Approval

It has been nearly three years since Alexandria kicked-off the Waterfront Small Area Plan-making process with a public forum at City Hall. In that time, I’ve had the privilege of participating as a member of the Waterfront Committee and Waterfront Plan Work Group. Today, however, I’d like to share my personal reasons for supporting the Waterfront Plan.

Don't BRAC Waterfront

It is until Jan. 21, anyway. That’s when the majority Democratic City Council will hold a final public hearing on the waterfront plan. Democrats on council appear to have already decided to give 8.5 acres of prime historic river shoreline away to developers for what amounts to little more then the gilded and glitzy promise of tax revenue and a "waterfront for all."

Make It Distinctive

Although I strongly support the city’s waterfront plan, I believe it has a major flaw: It does not provide enough funding for the features needed to transform the area into a truly vital, distinctive place.

Delay Vote

As a final City Council vote on the Waterfront Small Area Plan draws near, I wish to make several points to clarify issues and dispel myths about the Small Area Plan.

Increased Density

The jumble of letters in last week’s Gazette supporting the waterfront plan either ignores important facts, misrepresents facts or makes statements that are nonsensical in the context of the waterfront debate.

Tread Lightly

It seems everyone is "weighing in" on the proposed Alexandria waterfront plan.

Comparing Waterfront Plans

Recently a flyer concerning the Alexandria Waterfront is being circulated by CAAWP.

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United We Serve

Volunteer Fairfax mobilizes more than 1,100 residents to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

Sitting together at large round tables, children and their parents cut out pink and red paper hearts, pasting them on cards for nursing home patients, or stuffed socks and blankets into kits for the homeless.

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‘Fears and Phobias’ Serves Up Diverse Views on Fear

New exhibit at Torpedo Factory runs through Feb. 19.

At the Tornado Factory's new exhibit, "Fears and Phobias," artists were given the opportunity to explore that which makes people afraid or anxious.

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Lake Accotink Bald Eagle

A pair of Bald Eagles are once again working on their nest at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield for the winter nesting season.

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Therapeutic Riding Program Acquires Permanent Home

Equine therapy nonprofit purchases Little Full Cry Farm in Clifton.

The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP) recently announced the purchase of Little Full Cry Farm, a 17-acre property located in Clifton.

Column: Session Ahead Includes Opportunities for Progress

Last week, Virginia's 100 state delegates and 40 state senators gathered in Richmond to begin the 2012 General Assembly session.

Counting the Homeless

… And making the homeless count.

Alexandria is often described as an affluent community. One recent report pegged the median income at $102,000, not the highest in the area, but not low.

Workhouse Theatre Kicks Off Inaugural Season

The Lorton Arts Foundation has announced the inaugural season of its own Workhouse Theatre. Based in the Workhouse Arts Center’s newly renovated building W-3, it is one of only three professional theater companies in Northern Virginia. Workhouse Theatre will launch its season with the play "ART" from Jan. 20-Feb 26, 2012.

Lake Mercer Bald Eagle

A number of Bald Eagles have been spotted recently at Lake Mercer in Fairfax Station.

State Legislature Begins with Bill on Personhood

As Virginia begins the 2012 Legislative session, many issues are at the forefront in the minds of the residents of the Commonwealth: jobs, transportation, and education.

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"Progeny" at GMU’s School of Art

Beginning Feb. 1, George Mason University’s School of Art and the African and African American Studies Program present "Progeny," a photography exhibition that is the first collaborative effort between Deborah Willis, an artist who received her doctorate in cultural studies from George Mason University in 2000, and her son, Hank Willis Thomas.

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A Computer for Every PVI Student

Paul VI announces laptop program for incoming freshman class.

The School Board of Paul VI Catholic High School and the Office of Catholic Schools of the Arlington Diocese recently approved Paul VI’s business plan to implement a student laptop program.

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GMU's Center for the Arts Presents Aquila Theatre 'Macbeth'

"Fair is foul and foul is fair" in this acclaimed British/American touring company’s rendering of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. In this brutal and chaotic tale, nothing is as it seems and men combat their own madness and fates.

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Viewpoints: Volunteering on MLK Day

Residents of Fairfax County share their thoughts about MLK Day.

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Task Force Presents ‘Common Sense’ Proposals

Allowing schools to open before Labor Day part of task force recommendations.

Repeal of the "Kings Dominion law," which requires Fairfax County schools to obtain a state waiver to open schools before Labor Day, is high on the list of legislative priorities announced Monday, Jan. 16, by Governor Robert McDonnell.

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County Dribbles to Goal

County issues request for proposals for soccer fields on Brickyard Road farm site.

Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) looked to the colorful banners in Potomac Presbyterian Church — "peace, love, joy" — before he alerted more than a hundred angry citizens that Isiah "Ike" Leggett and the county would issue its request for proposals to build soccer fields on Brickyard Road the next day.

$2.4 Billion School Budget Proposed

Budget includes new positions, salary increases to address growing student population.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Jack D. Dale presented a $2.4 billion budget proposal to the school board on Jan. 12, reflecting a nine percent – or $202.3 million increase - in next year’s operating budget.

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‘Surface Appeal’

At The Art Gallery

This month The Art Gallery of Potomac will present an art exhibition titled "Surface Appeal." The show will feature paintings by artists Millie Shott and Martha Spak.

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Robinson Stages Fashion Show

On Jan. 11, the students of the Robinson Secondary School DECA club, a chapter of an international organization aimed at preparing high school students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, held its sixth annual DECA Fashion Show, showcasing the designs and fashion-stylings of DECA members at Robinson.

Richmond Diary: Re-writing the Rules

State senator reflects on the first week of the 2012 General Assembly session.

I packed up the car and stopped by a constituent’s house to pick up information regarding 100 percent disabled veterans whose homes are in trusts, and who are not receiving the intended property tax relief.

Thursday, January 19

Local Housing Market: 2011 Mirrors 2010

McLean and Great Falls housing wrap up for 2011.

The tallies are in for 2011 and in the real estate markets of McLean and Great Falls, 2010 turned out to be "fairer" in terms of the number of transactions compared to 2011, but just by small margins

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Chocolate Festival Comes to McLean

Inaugural festival to be held Jan. 29 at Community Center.

Like chocolate? The McLean Rotary club, along with the Governing Board of the Community Center, is calling all chocolate lovers to the McLean Community Center on Sunday, Jan. 29 from noon to 5 p.m. for the inaugural McLean Chocolate Festival.

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‘Patterns’ Exhibition Opens Online In New Show by Great Falls Artists

Fifty paintings, ceramics, sculptures, photographs, lithographs and other art pieces notable for their striking patterns will be on display through the end of January in an exhibition featuring works by 22 artists who live or work in Great Falls.

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Grand Re-Opening of Reston Sport&Health Club

Over 1,000 people enjoyed the Grand Opening Celebration of Reston Sport&Health Club, Monday, Jan. 9.

Letter: Oversight Responsibility?

Letter to the Editor regarding the unethical conduct of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, for clandestinely re-purposing taxpayer-supported public school property located on Brickyard Road in Potomac without due public process.

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M.L.K Concert Rocks

Reston Community Orchestra gathers together and celebrates.

Saturday, Jan. 14 the Reston Community Orchestra, known for its interpretation of Baroque, Classical and Romantic music, had the audience jumping with its presentation of Spirituals and crowd pleasing Duke Ellington numbers.

Letter: Unsubstantiated Allegations

Letter to the Editor

In the past two months, John Lovaas ("Independent Progressive") published two columns alleging that the Fairfax County Police have killed several civilians without justification.

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Reston Community Players Garner WATCH Nominations

Three productions receive 15 nods for RCP.

The Reston Community Players garnered 15 nominations as the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors announced the nominees for the 2012 WATCH Awards Jan. 15 at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria.

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Honey Ogens Bakes with Feeling

A hobby turns into a career.

Honey Ogens launched the Honey Bee Baking Company last year from her Glenolden Drive home. She began baking many years ago because it made her feel relaxed and happy. When her children, Matt and Elissa came home from school, she always had home-baked goods ready for them.

Column: Over a Cup of Coffee

My pre-session public hearings are always informative. The hearings help me gauge public opinion on a variety of issues. And constituents provide excellent suggestions on state government.

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Elden Street Players Garner 22 WATCH Award Nominations

"Ain't Misbehavin'" leads with 11 nods.

The Elden Street Players garnered 22 nominations as the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors announced the nominees for the 2012 WATCH Awards Jan. 15 at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria.

A Spirited Musical

Elden Street Players present ‘Rooms, A Rock Romance.’

Youthful dreams and ambitions while searching for love makes for "a perfect little winter romantic musical; really an affectionate love letter to an audience," said award-winning veteran director Todd Huse of "Rooms, A Rock Romance." The next Elden Street Players offering is sweet and edgy as it tells "the tale of a relationship of two polar opposites" through music and lyrics.

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Potomac’s Matt Belford, Champion Skier — Now Teaches

He also heli-guides In Alaska.

Twenty-three years ago, The Potomac Almanac published the story of 14 year-old local skier Matt Belford. Fast-forward to 2012 where Belford splits his time between Jackson Hole Mountain Resort as an instructor and Rendezvous Mountain Lodge where he serves as a heli-ski guide, coaching adventure-seekers through the steep and deep powder of the Valdez mountain range. Launches Vienna Partnership

Website connects moms looking for activities with local groups and businesses.

It really wasn’t much of a leap for Vienna systems engineer and mom Elisa Kepner to apply her capacity planning expertise to creating a website that connects local mothers and businesses to one another.

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Tech Update for Baby Boomers

Town program runs workshops introducing technology to the "sandwich" generation.

Technology permeates the very core of our existence, from computers and phones that think they’re computers to social media.

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Reaching the Unreachable

Inspirational "Man of La Mancha" arrives at Alden Theatre.

An enduring work of musical theater, the Tony Award-winning "Man of La Mancha" is coming to the Alden Theatre, courtesy of the McLean Community Players. Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote," it is the musicalized quest of a knight daring to confront wickedness, trying to make the world better.

Shopping Bags’ History

McLean resident's bag collection presents history ‘worth preserving and telling.’

To most people, the shopping bag is the most mundane of objects, used and then quickly forgotten about once the contents are removed.

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Panel Addresses College Drinking

Unified Prevention Coalition hosts event at McLean High School.

The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County and the McLean High School PTSA presented "Perils of the College Drinking Culture" Wednesday, Jan. 11. The program featured a panel of speakers who discussed the health and legal consequences of underage and binge drinking, as well as a short film.

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Troop 673 Promotes Two Eagle Scouts

BSA Troop 673 of Great Falls held its first Eagle Court of Honor on Saturday, Jan. 7 at Great Falls United Methodist Church promoting the Troop’s two young members - Conner Max Pierce and Peter Michael Arcoria - as the most recent Eagle Scouts.

Great Falls History Revisited

Ken Garrett and Julia Runnels, who discussed local history dating as far back as the early 1700s at our January Society program, made the point very clearly: We live in a community that is teaming with historical significance. The Great Falls Historical Society has been performing the mission of identifying, documenting, and obtaining many historical designations to secure our history for future generations since its founding by Milburn Sanders in 1977.

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Undercutting King’s Dominion Law

Governor supports Northern Virginia’s plight to start schools before Labor Day.

Ever since Republicans gained a narrow one-vote majority in the state Senate, many in Northern Virginia have been fearing a loss of influence in Richmond.

Wednesday, January 18

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Column: Left To My Own Devices

And a lot of good it’s doing me. I may be able to do what I want, but I don’t really have a clue as to what it is I want to do – or can do.

Monday, January 16

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Democrats Launch Primary Campaign

Candidates are eager to win back two seats lost in the last election cycle.

Six candidates officially launched their campaigns this week at a meeting of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, and several more are expected in the coming weeks.

Thursday, January 12

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Allen Declares War on Unions

Former governor goes on the offensive against organized labor.

Hoping to capitalize on anti-union sentiment in Virginia this year, Republican George Allen is giving labor issues a starring role in his bid to recapture the Senate seat he lost to Jim Webb in 2006.

Wednesday, January 11

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Column: Write From The Heart

Obviously I find comfort in writing. Obviously I have some need to put down on paper that which is in my head. In fact, evidence suggests that cancer patients who write about their feelings have some kind of improved quality of life and/or longer life expectancy.

Friday, January 6

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Flint Hill School Transitioning to MacBook Air

Flint Hill School, whose advanced integration of technology into the teaching and learning process is earning national recognition, has announced that it is upgrading its existing 1:1 laptop program in Grades 5-12 from the current MacBook to the new, state-of-the-art 11" MacBook Air.

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Salvation Army Singers Serenade Great Falls Shoppers

Shoppers at Great Falls Safeway were in for a treat on Dec. 20, as they were serenaded by Salvation Army volunteers.

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Helping Neighbors, Respectfully

Area residents donate 23,746 hours to help Food for Others fight hunger.

"Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization, and we view volunteers as our partners in the fight against hunger." — Roxanne Rice, executive director of Food for Others

Six High School Seniors Receive Award

On Nov. 16, the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna presented six High School Seniors with the Carol Waite Brennan award for scholastic excellence.

Week in Vienna

Events, awards and community information for Vienna and Oakton.

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Column: “Scanxiety”

The meaning being: the anxiety one feels waiting for, and awaiting the results of, a diagnostic scan.

Thursday, January 5

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Madison High Goes for the Gold

The James Madison High School Varsity Dance team took home the gold at the 2011 George Mason University Dance Team Invitational this past weekend.

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Vienna Police Note Common Crimes

Town Police Focus on Prevention

"The most common problem we had in 2011 is theft from unlocked vehicles." -- Public Information Officer Bill Murray

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Bombers’ Way to Give Back

Volunteering at Food for Others on Wednesday, Dec 14, the Vienna Bombers 13U Travel Baseball Team sorted a variety of foods into bags to be distribution-ready for clients.

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Helping Children in Kenya

Oakton private school raises $3,500 for school in Nairobi.

"We are very blessed to have such a responsive community. It’s just $3,500 to us, but it means the world to them." -- Marjorie Veiga, Dominion Christian School’s committee chair for mission projects

Opinion: Competitive Bidding Reduces Costs

Introducing Fair and Open Competition in Government Contracting Act.

HB 33 prohibits Virginia and recipients of state funding from requiring or prohibiting contractors to enter into union agreements, such as a project labor agreement (PLA), as a condition of winning any state-assisted construction contracts.

Week in McLean

Week in McLean: Town Hall Meetings, Honors & Events

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Honoring Mrs. Liappis

The Churchill Road Elementary School staff honored Margaret Liappis at a reception on Friday, Dec. 9. Liappis retired last year after 31 years of service in Churchill’s cafeteria.

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Master Minds Win Regional Tournament, Place Fourth in State

The "Master Minds" First Lego Robotics Team from Cooper Middle and Spring Hill Elementary Schools in McLean won the Division 2 First Lego League "Food Factor" Regional Tournament held Nov. 20 at George Mason University.

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Sending Gifts to the ‘Buddy School’

As part of their holiday celebrations, Churchill Road students participated in a variety of community service projects.

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Lewinsville Road Bridge Being Demolished

Starting on or about Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes Project will begin removing the old Lewinsville Road Bridge.

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MCC, Water Rates to Mark 2012

Possible community center expansion, change in water providers on the horizon in 2012.

"We don’t want to make any decision about the future without first doing our due diligence." -- MCC Board President Kevin Dent

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Celebrating 100th Birthday

On New Year, McLean resident turns 100.

While we’re all celebrating the beginning of 2012, Margaret "Bunny" Ursin will be celebrating her 100th birthday. Bunny still leads a very active life, promoting the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise, and continually striving to help others.

Great Falls Resident Steven P. Mullins appointed to George Mason University Board of Visitors

Great Falls resident Steven P. Mullins, Chief Financial Officer and President of SPM Consulting, was appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to a four year term on the George Mason University Board of Visitors.

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Gilbert Exhibits at the Great Falls Tavern, D.C. and Bethesda

Great Falls artist Robert Gilbert is starting 2012 with three parallel exhibits, one of which is an exhibit with 13 paintings at the Great Falls Tavern, 9835 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls through March 1.

Wednesday, January 4

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Santa Comes to St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

On Dec. 20, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church held their annual children’s Christmas party. Children were able to create Christmas crafts, have their pictures taken with the one and only Saint Nick, and enjoy a delicious hot dog dinner.

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Great Falls Looks Ahead to 2012

Great Falls Looks Ahead to 2012

Last year saw progress on several issues around Great Falls, issues that will affect residents for generations to come.