Stories for July 2012

Stories for July 2012


Friday, July 27

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Tsunami Earns Division Championship

Despite a persistent rainfall and a near 30-degree drop in temperature Saturday morning July 21, Riverside Gardens’ Tsunami swim team defeated the host team from High Point Pool by a score of 269-151. With the win, Riverside Gardens became NVSL Division Six champions. The Tsunamis ended the season undefeated: 5-0.

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Letter: Behind the Message

Thoughts on civic involvement.

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Murraygate Boys & Girls Club, Mount Vernon

Summer Day Camp

Murraygate Boys & Girls Club Photos.

Letter: A River Farm Adventure

Thoughts on River Farm

Allen Address Business Owners

Chamber hosts small business roundtable.

U.S. Senate candidate George Allen met last week with small business owners and community leaders at the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce Small Business Roundtable.

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Community Mourns Loss of Joan Mitchell

Owner of Woodlawn Stables dies.

Joan Mitchell died one week ago after a long battle with breast cancer. Friends and family who gathered at her beloved stables described her as possessing “an unparalleled gift with animals,” “a mother figure and mentor,” and a “devoted custodian of Woodlawn Stables.”

Letter: Common Sense And Reason

Thoughts on the Second Amendment/ Right to bear arms.

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‘Better Be Ready’

Animal Control in action in Fairfax County.

When the call came from dispatch late in the Tuesday July 17 shift, Animal Control Officer Kim England turned her truck towards Centreville, to respond to a suspected “hot” or rabid skunk.

Thursday, July 26

Classified Advertising (July 25, 2012)

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

Mount Vernon School Notes 7/25/12

Mount Vernon School Notes

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After Years of Construction, a New Jones Point Park Emerges from Orange Cones

Southernmost point of the District of Columbia gets a makeover.

Now, after more than a decade hidden behind a veil of orange cones, Jones Point Park is ready to once again take its place among the premier city parks.

Wednesday, July 25

Column: A Life Worth Living, Still

It might be my age (as in getting older), or it might be the fact that I have cancer (you think?), but my brain and the related physical and mental tasks it coordinates are not exactly working at peak efficiency.

Tuesday, July 24

Derek Lee, South Lakes Baseball, 1983

South Lakes slugger was drafted five times before playing for Minnesota Twins.

Derek Lee is remembered at South Lakes high school, and by those that watched him play baseball, for his ability to do one thing — swing the bat.

Taline Tahmassian, Langley Soccer, 2001

Langley star recorded 96 goals and before winning NCAA title at Santa Clara.

How good Taline Tahmassian was on the soccer field can be measured by the pages of old newspapers. Tahmassian and the Saxons could be seen celebrating in photographs while snappy headlines chronicled their victories in a week-by-week scrapbook of archived clippings.

Nate Friends, McLean Soccer, Basketball, 1991

Friends dominated the basketball court and soccer field to help McLean to several regional tournament appearances.

Chantilly coach Jim Smith was a relative unknown when he took over the reeling McLean High School boys basketball team back in 1989.

Editorial: Separate and Unequal?

If we don't believe that poor students are less innately talented, then the disparities in Northern Virginia are truly unfair.

The numbers are eye-popping. Latino students are 22 percent of Fairfax County Public Schools students, but 2.7 percent of the incoming Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology freshman class, the class of 2016. Of the 480 students, seven are black. That's 1.4 percent, while black students are 10 percent of the county school system.

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Consumer Confidence on the Rise in Washington Region

Survey participants perceive regional economy better than broader national picture.

Consumer confidence is on the rise, according to results of a new survey by the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Friday, July 20

Mount Vernon Home Sales: June, 2012

In June 2012, 141 homes sold between $2,230,000-$73,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales in June, 2012

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Pedaling with Pals

Potomac Pedalers provides group rides for area cyclists.

Cyclists of all ages and ability levels can participate in group rides with the Potomac Pedalers.

Thursday, July 19

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Inaction May Cause Federal Officials to Create Health-Care Exchange for Virginia

January 2013 is the deadline for the commonwealth to create authority for exchange.

Virginia is suffering from deadline fever, although Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell is calling for a second opinion.

Wednesday, July 18

Mount Vernon Bulletin Board 7/18/12

Bulletin Board Events

New Arrivals

Orchard Country Produce

Partisan Games on Healthcare Hurt Mt. Vernon-Lee Community


Everyone deserves the security of good healthcare and reliable insurance. Americans have chosen a mixed system of public and private health insurance. We have Medicare for the elderly, military health care for our active duty and veterans, and Medicaid, a federal-state program that insures many disabled, low-income, and elderly people, especially people needing long-term care.

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Marshall Named To Head UCM

“I like to be part of the greater good that is going on.”

Adventuresome, compassionate and fond of a challenge, Shirley Marshall has stepped forward to lead United Community Ministries as it struggles to find adequate funding during the recession and while the numbers of the poor continue to grow.

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Honoring Rising Hope

Mission leads the way for Methodist congregations.

Two recent awards and several other encouraging developments suggest that Rising Hope Mission Church is becoming a rejuvenating trendsetter for Virginia Methodist churches.

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Bare Shelves at UCM’s Food Pantry

Food and monetary donations needed.

The high winds and heavy rains of June’s derecho that assailed the area leaving thousands without electricity for seemingly endless days also impacted the United Community Ministries food pantry, though the building itself maintained power.

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Surviving Big Box Businesses

Chamber hosts small business seminar.

Marc Willson, a consultant with 40 years of small business owner and consulting experience, addressed how to compete with “big box” companies at Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce-hosted seminar on July 17.

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Letter: Rules of Civic Involvement

Thoughts regarding OLDA and civic involvement.

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Fund Supports School Library

More than 800 books purchased in memory of former principal.

Woodley Hills Elementary School held a private book dedication ceremony on June 11 in memory of the late Dr. Joan Freck, the school’s principal from 1985-1991. Prior to her death she had made it known to her family that, in lieu of flowers, she wished to have friends and family members make donations to her “beloved Woodley Hills.”

Column: Circumstances Be Damned

If only it were as easy to actually live it as it is to write it. As much as I believe what I write, it’s still difficult to ignore certain facts (“the underlying diagnosis,” as I often refer to my diagnosis) and the feelings associated with it.

New Arrivals at Orchard County Produce

Produce and baked goods from Orchard Country farm are available for sale in the parking lot of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

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Fairfax County, VDOT File Suit Against EPA

New EPA rules will impact homeowners, developers and could cost taxpayers nearly $500 million.

Fairfax County and the state of Virginia filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, July 12, challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new storm water regulations for the Accotink watershed, claiming the agency’s requirements are costly, onerous and vastly exceed its legal authority.

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President Comes to the Area

Obama rallies his supporters during the campaign stop at Centreville High.

Before President Barack Obama addressed the huge crowd inside Centreville High, Saturday afternoon, Jerry Foltz of Wellspring United Church of Christ gave the invocation.

Herrity, Hugo Respond to Obama’s Visit

Both Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) and Del. Tim Hugo (R-40) held a joint press conference Saturday afternoon, speaking to local Romney supporters prior to President Obama’s campaign rally at Centreville High. Said Herrity: "It was nice to see so many people from Little Rocky Run stop by and pick up Romney signs and stand with us."

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The Smoking Trail

New cigarette trafficking law aids enforcement.

Virginia has long been known as a tobacco-friendly state. Tobacco was one of the first major commercial products for New World European settlers, and the state remains one of the largest producers today. Virginia is also home to some of the cheapest cigarettes in the country.

Classified Advertising (July 18, 2012)

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

Tuesday, July 17

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In Search of a ‘Forever Home’

Humane Society of Fairfax working for animal and human welfare.

Look up on your Internet browser page. It’s a site where animal welfare groups can promote animals they have available for adoption. Type in a town or zip code. Let’s use Alexandria as an example. Check "Cat" for "Type of Animal." Hit "Search."

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Childhood Hobbies: Finding the Right Fit

Experts offer suggestions for choosing extracurricular activities for the fall.

While many are still basking in the lazy days of summer, Anna Faust is planning her 5-year-old son’s after-school activity schedule for the fall.

Editorial: Leaving Millions on the Table

Virginia should embrace opportunity for more health care coverage for poor residents.

Chances are that if you are reading this, you have employer-provided health insurance. While you might worry about the young adults in your family or the lower wage workers in your organization, you also know that if you are sick, you can go to the doctor.

Letter: A ‘Key Reason’ Overlooked

I was disappointed in Mr. Horrock's commentary on the Silver Line [Silver Line Gets ‘Green Light’ The Connection, July 11-17, 2012].

Mount Vernon Bulletin Board 7/11/12

Bulletin Board Events

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Regulars at the White House

Local musicians perform for presidents and their guests.

About a dozen times a year, Chris McFarlane and Mark Questad, both of Mount Vernon, don their special full dress U.S. Marines uniform, pick up their musical instruments and head to an address in Washington that most will only visit once in a lifetime as a tourist: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Council Backs Full Restoration

Also supports retention of marina concession and mooring field.

The Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations approved a resolution supporting the National Park Service’s recommendation for full restoration of Dyke Marsh wetlands.

Public Comment Sought On Westgrove Park

Commission plans July 30 meeting.

A public information meeting will be held on the Westgrove Park Master Plan on July 30 to collect citizen comments to help shape the draft master plan

Route 1 Widening: Wait for Transit Study?

Flanagan proposes county review of transit options affecting Woodlawn Historical District.

Following the Federal Highway Administration’s June 5 public meeting on widening options for Route 1, another twist may further complicate approval for the best approach to widen Route 1 in the Woodlawn Historical District.

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Dragon Training at Walmart

Through the early heat of Saturday morning, July 7, Sig, the Viking dragon trainer, arrived at Walmart with a baby naddar dragon.

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Exploring Summer Theater

Photos from Mount Vernon Community Children's Theater

Obituary: Frank M. Somerville

Frank M. Somerville, 65, died July 6, 2012 in Little River, S.C.

MV School Notes: 7/11/12

School Notes

Wednesday, July 11

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Home Remodeling 101

Experts offer suggestions for a timely and efficient renovation.

Whether expanding a home or just remodeling an existing interior space, building projects can be daunting, especially if the goal is to be finished by a certain date. "If you wanted to get going on a project and your goal was to be done by Thanksgiving, the planning process and permit process is probably as long as the building process, but you don’t want to rush through those aspects of it and then wish you’d done something differently," said David Vogt of Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

Column: A Victim of My Own Circumstances

Outliving one’s prognosis leads to all sorts of twists and turns and treatment conundrums: the longer one lives, the fewer the treatment options.

Classified Advertising (July 11, 2012)

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

Tuesday, July 10

Editorial: Every Vote in Virginia Will Count

Top presidential donor zip codes in this area show Virginia is purple; Romney or Obama to be decided on Election Day.

If you wonder if presidential politics really matters in this area, consider that Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland hold some of the top zip codes for contributions to the two major party candidates.

Local Delegates at DAR Convention

Members of the Mount Vernon Chapter based in Alexandria were in attendance at the 121st Continental Congress, the annual convention of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

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‘Alive with History’

Take a journey back in time to learn about the history of the Torpedo Factory. Bring a mask from home or make one at a Do-It-Yourself Station and wear it to the reception for Masks in the Target Gallery. Join The Art League Gallery for the reception for Genius Loci and the All-Media Membership Exhibit.

19th Century Vitriol

To the Editor:

Proposals for Freedmen’s Cemetery

The public is invited to meet the artists and view proposals for the Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery sculpture on July 7 at the Durant Arts Center. The Alexandria Commission for the Arts and the Office of the Arts will host a reception from 5 - 6 p.m. at the Durant Arts Center, located at 1605 Cameron St.

Monday, July 9

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Guns from the South

July 1 marks lifting of 19-year restriction on hand gun purchases.

On July 1, the 19-year restriction on handgun purchases in Virginia became null and void. The measure was signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell Feb 28, and effectively allows an unlimited number of handgun purchases to individuals in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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9th Asian Festival Celebrating the Year of the Dragon

Festival will take place July 21-22 at GMU.

This year, the 9th Asian Food and Tennis Festival is celebrating the year of dragon. The Festival is a two-day, free admission event to promote greater understanding of the Asian countries and cultures. It will be held at the George Mason University on July 21, Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on July 22, Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is open to the public.

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The Coolest Places in Town

City recreation centers maintain power, air-conditioning, during heat wave and devastating storm

Many Alexandria residents remained without power over the weekend when a freak storm hit the region late Friday night, June 29.

Bailey To Speak at Lions Dinner

The Mount Evening Lions Club dinner meeting will be Tuesday, July 17, at Pema's restaurant.

Five Lessons from the Derecho of 2012


The storm of June 29, 2012 will go down as one of the more memorable moments of Mother Nature in the Lee-Mount Vernon Area. I pulled into my drive way around 9:30 p.m. while listening to WTOP. There was no mention of a pending storm. Within an hour, the trees in my yard were wildly swinging around.

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More Concerns on New Park Plans

Park officials attempt to prevent public comment.

At a public meeting June 27 presenting new alternative plans for Fort Hunt Park, residents sought to raise questions and comment but were initially denied permission by National Park Service representatives.

Formal Requests For Police Reports

Mount Vernon-area group seeks police incident reports on shooting deaths of four closed cases.

In the past several years four people have been shot and killed by Fairfax County police under what the Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability characterizes as “questionable circumstances.” Up until now no one, including the families of the deceased victims, has been able to obtain a police incident report despite the fact that the four cases are closed.

A Lesson in Capsizing

Afternoon students at the Belle Haven Marina summer sailing school practiced the fine art of capsizing and recovering Sunfish last Thursday afternoon, June 28, in the shallows at the marina.

Opinion: New Laws, Assault on Freedom?

Voting restrictions, abortion restrictions, DUI restrictions, fewer gun restrictions, more go into effect July 1.

A plethora of new laws will go into effect in the Commonwealth on July 1, including restrictive new procedures for voting, and the loosening of multiple gun regulations.

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Storms Leave 2 Dead, Power Out

At least two dead in Fairfax; 285,000 residents still without power after Friday night’s hurricane force winds.

Winds of more than 70 miles per hour swept through Fairfax County Friday night. Power went out as the storm blew into the area around 10:30 p.m. with hurricane force winds sounding like a freight train.

Wednesday, July 4

Coach Garza Leaves Mount Vernon for Robinson

Led Majors boys’ soccer for nine years.

Robert Garza takes over as head coach of the Robinson boys' soccer program after nine seasons with Mount Vernon.

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Mansion House Piranhas Compete Against Langley

The Mansion House Piranhas started their season with a Neon Pep Rally and whipped cream eating contest on Saturday, June 23, in Alexandria against the Langley Wildthings under the leadership of returning coach Mark Faherty and assistant coach Katie Brado.

Column: Writing On!

It was June ’09 when I published my first column in the Connection Newspapers about being diagnosed with cancer. It was actually a column detailing the diagnostic steps I had taken during the first few months of the year attempting to identify the pain I had initially felt under my right-side rib cage in late December.

Tuesday, July 3

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Finding a Home for the Golden Years

Experts offer advice on choosing a retirement community.

When Jim Upp’s wife Jeannie died in 2006, the Fairfax senior citizen found himself surrounded by a lifetime of memories in the spacious home where the couple had raised three children.

Editorial: New Laws, Assault on Freedom?

oting restrictions, abortion restrictions, DUI restrictions, fewer gun restrictions, more go into effect July.

A plethora of new laws will go into effect in the Commonwealth on July 1, including restrictive new procedures for voting, and the loosening of multiple gun regulations.

Family, Friends Recall Marine’s ‘Restless Spirit’

Niall Coti-Sears killed in Afghanistan.

Niall Coti-Sears enjoyed playing Chopin, composing music, skiing, discussing philosophy, playing soccer, hiking, horseback riding, reading about physics and making others laugh. His loved ones knew him for his energetic, adventurous and positive spirit.

Monday, July 2

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Storms Leave 2 Dead, Power Out

At least two dead in Fairfax; 285,000 residents still without power after Friday night’s hurricane force winds.

Winds of more than 70 miles per hour swept through Fairfax County Friday night. Power went out as the storm blew into the area around 10:30 p.m. with hurricane force winds sounding like a freight train. The sound made some residents think a tornado was upon them, and many took refuge in basements.

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Despite Failing Grade on Transparency, Law Enforcement Officials Resist Opening Access

Advocates for public access remain frustrated by persistent lack of transparency.

Back in March, Virginia received a failing grade from the State Integrity Investigation as the result of a systematic lack of transparency.