Stories for May 2012

Stories for May 2012


Thursday, May 31

Open House for Retiring Teachers

Waynewood Elementary School is having an open house on Monday, June 11, 4-7 p.m., in the gym, for retiring teachers Mary Wilson and Eileen Deaver. Friends, parents, and students (former and current) are invited to help celebrate Wilson’s and Deaver’s years of service to Waynewood School and the community.

Accidental Townhouse Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a townhouse fire Sunday, May 27, at approximately 10 p.m. in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County. The townhouse is located at 4311 Gypsy Court.

York, Rees Named District Lord and Lady

Diana York and James Rees have been nominated as Lord and Lady for the Mount Vernon District.

Cell Tower Proposal Rejected

Heritage Presbyterian Church has rejected a proposal from Milestone Communications to erect a tree monopole cell tower on its property in the Waynewood/Fort Hunt neighborhood. Heritage’s Session, its governing body which is comprised of 12 elders, met on May 23 to finalize its deliberations and vote on the issue. The proposal was voted down by a 10-2 margin.

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Letter: Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay and Dyke Marsh

To the Editor: Anyone who spends a few minutes examining scientific texts, journals, papers or historical literature on the natural history of the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed can recognize that these once great ecosystems are mere remnants of what they once were. The Potomac watershed covers four states and D.C. It is over 400 miles long and is 11 miles wide where it flows into the bay. The Chesapeake Bay watershed (the area of land that drains into the Bay) is 64,000 square miles and has 11,600 miles of tidal shoreline, including tidal wetlands and islands. The watershed encompasses parts of six states: Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as Washington D.C. The problems in the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay are magnified by their scope which is a reason why they are "most endangered." Unfortunately there will always be those people, who are operating at a very superficial level, who demand that everything scientific be both dumbed-down and rigorously argued to them.

Letter: MVCCA’s Success

To the Editor: Last week, Martin Tillett attacked me for mentioning (without any elaboration) in my prior letter that the MVCCA supports the proposed off-leash dog area (OLDA) at Westgrove Park. Mr. Tillett noted my numerous prior letters that have been critical of the MVCCA. What Mr. Tillett didn't mention that I have consistently supported the principle of the MVCCA and have reserved my criticism for its recent leadership and the way it typically conducts business. My position in these regards is unchanged. In the case of the debate concerning the proposed OLDA, in fact, the MVCCA operated in a manner closer to appropriate than usual.

Letter: Reaffirming American Dream

To the Editor: I recently attended a Patrick Murray event in the Mount Vernon area. Murray is back a second time, running to represent the 8th congressional district in Virginia. With his new campaign comes more emphasis on responsible government spending and job creation.

Letter: Tax-Funded Political Recap?

To the Editor: I recently received a two-page typewritten letter with an attachment on official Virginia seal stationary from Delegate Surovell titled “Delegate Scott A. Surovell’s General Assembly Session Recap.” This letter was paid by taxpayers at a cost of $4,107.75.

Letter: Saluting Fallen Heroes

To the Editor: Memorial Day is about more than summer road trips and mattress sales.

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Strike Up the Band!

'Music Man' Dazzles at Arena Stage

Move over Robert Preston. There's a new band leader taking River City by storm in Meredith Willson's “The Music Man,” playing now at Arena Stage.

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Daily Patrols Take to the Water

Memorial Day weekend launches boating season.

The warm holiday weekend brought the opening of boating season on the Potomac watershed and Fairfax County’s inland lakes and waterways.

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Horse Stable Could Be Closed to Protect Cemetery and Historic Plantation

Widening debate on Richmond Highway creates dilemma for Federal Highway Administration.

The hill where Woodlawn Baptist Church graveyard is located offers a commanding view of an area in the midst of drastic change.

Wednesday, May 30

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Community Services Budget Under Scrutiny

$8 Million budget hole threatens programs, public review underway.

The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, which provides social services to thousands of the county’s most vulnerable residents and has come under fire for an $8 million budget shortfall, was given a temporary reprieve by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

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Greeting New ‘Fellow Americans’

Fairfax County hosts fourth annual naturalization ceremony.

"My fellow Americans," U.S. Rep Gerry Connolly (D-11) said with gravitas, pausing to let the meaning sink in. And when it did, 75 immigrants - from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan - who had just raised their right hand and taken the Oath of Allegiance to become American citizens, erupted with applause and tears, waving American flags and hugging family members. They were gathered at the Fairfax County Government Center Friday, May 25, for the county’s fourth annual naturalization ceremony.

Editorial: Surviving through Summer

Helping teens.

It is that time again, the time from proms to graduation, and all the celebrations that come with it. It's lovely to think, from a distance, that this is a happy and uncomplicated time for teens as the school year winds down, many look forward to college in the fall and a summer of internships or other interesting activities.

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Maniglia Launches Wolverines into Region Semifinals

West Potomac beats Chantilly in region softball quarterfinals.

Morgan Maniglia launched a two-run home run — her 10th of the season — well over the left-field fence, propelling West Potomac to a 3-1, 11-inning victory at Falls Church High School.

Classified Advertising

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Tuesday, May 29

Column: Off Topic, Almost

If only it were that simple. And as much I’d like to turn the cancer switch off, finding that switch has proven to be extremely challenging.

Thursday, May 24

Classified Advertising

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

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50 Years of Hits

The West Potomac High School Choral Groups will be presenting their annual spring show “Now & Then, 50 Years of Hits! 1962-2012” in Springbank Auditorium at West Potomac High School on May 31, June 1 and June 2. All shows will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Online tickets are available this year at The fully choreographed show features all students in the West Potomac choral program, along with special guests — students from the Carl Sandburg Middle School and the theater comedy sports improvisational team, with assistance from Philip Clarke, West Potomac drama director. Above, from left, are Catherine Canary, Haley Narins and Lyndsay Leisher.

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At Home At River Farm

Supporters of Mout Vernon At Home gathered Thursday, May 17 at George Washington’s River Farm.

Poetry: Memorial Day

in the shopping center at I Love Nails the window

Must Consider The Source

To the Editor: As a devoted fan of the Mount Vernon Gazette, I was disappointed at the May 17 editorial, “Most Endangered?”. That piece merely parroted unsubstantiated claims by American Rivers, Inc., that the Potomac River has somehow shot to the top of the list of the nation’s most endangered rivers, and urged readers to join that group’s fight to keep Congress from reining in the EPA.

Unfair Advantage?

To the Editor: On May 17, Mr. H. Jay Spiegel goes through his listing of people and organizations supporting the off leash dog park or OLDA at Westgrove Park. “Those in support of the OLDA proposal include the MVCCA.” I find it ironic that Mr. Spiegel has for the past several years devoted much time and attention writing editorials in this paper making claims that the MVCCA does not represent the broad consensus of the majority of the citizens of the district. Just this past March he wrote “the MVCCA does not represent the Mount Vernon community. It only represents the small percentage of residents whose neighborhood associations are MVCCA members. At that, insofar as community association representatives do not vote in accordance with the consensus of their respective communities, the MVCCA doesn't even represent them.

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Room for Many Views

To the Editor: My letter in the May 10 Gazette expressed my strong support for a plan, proposed by the National Park Service (NPS), to restore 30 acres of Dyke Marsh, including construction of a promontory wall to dissipate forces generated by tidal surges. I went a step further, advocating additional filling of a few more acres north of the wall to assure that the goal of dissipating those forces will be achieved. I also expressed my opposition to other NPS proposals that would include filling 130 or 180 acres of the Potomac River, respectively, because those proposals would destroy a year-round habitat for fish and result in the closure of Belle Haven Marina.

Sign Blight On Route 1

To the Editor: Someone should sue VDOT for not enforcing its own laws. Yes, there is a law on the books that forbids commercial or other advertising signs along Virginia roads (unless they get permission to do so). The fine is $100 for each sign. If one drives along the Route 1 Corridor from the intersection of I-495/Fort Hunt Road south until Walmart (near where the new Costco will go) there are at least 50 or more signs. Let's do the math: 50 times $100 = $5000. I know VDOT doesn't have the manpower to keep up, but they could hire a firm which would be paid out of the fines — make it a revenue-sharing deal. Win-win for everyone — our community, VDOT and the contractor. In the end, these illegal signs are a blight along this stretch of road that continuously strives to improve. You don't see these signs put up along road in Great Falls or McLean — why should Route 1 or anywhere?

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Don’t Text And Drive

To the Editor: We are Cadette Girls Scouts from Carl Sandburg Middle School and Walt Whitman Middle School and want to alert the community to an issue that is important to us: The dangers of cell phone use while driving. We will be driving in just a few short years and think it is important that the roads are as safe as possible. We urge drivers today to make a commitment to not text or use any handheld device while driving. We also hope that our law makers will support a law that bans drivers from talking, texting, or using handheld devices while driving. We have made this commitment ourselves for when we will be new drivers. We also have produced car bumper magnets to promote “Keep Both Eyes on the Road, Don’t Text and Drive.”

Effort for Off-leash Dog Park Advances

Planning Commission to vote on issue May 31.

The majority of residents who testified on May 17 before the Planning Commission supported the designation of Westgrove Park as the site of an Off Leash Dog Park (OLDA), according to county staff.

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Foundation Dedicates Fisher House at Fort Belvoir

Facility serves families of wounded warriors.

Fisher House, a temporary home for families of those wounded in Iraq, Afghanistan, and others was gifted to the U.S. Army in a dedication ceremony Tuesday morning, May 22, and attended by active and retired military, hospital staff, Pentagon leadership, and several military and civilian notables, including Medal of Honor recipient Retired Colonel Harry C. Barnum, Jr., U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff General Lloyd Austin, III, and Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital Commander Colonel Susan Annicelli.

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‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Fills Pantries for the Poor

Letter carriers are heroes at UCM and Rising Hope.

“It’s extra work and time for the letter carriers, but they enjoy doing it, they really do. It’s amazing how a little bag here and a little bag there add up to something big,” said letter carrier Brian McCormick, volunteer coordinator for last Saturday’s “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive in the Alexandria and Mount Vernon area.

Church Robbed Of Cash

Aldersgate UMC at Fort Hunt and Collingwood Road was broken into and robbed of cash Friday night, May 18, according to an email sent out Saturday by Becky Connell, church business administrator.

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Huntley Opens with a Flourish

Alexandria mayor built the home in 1825.

A new gem in Fairfax County’s growing collection of restored Colonial and 19th Century homes, Historic Huntley opened Saturday, May 19 with a flourish of welcoming speeches by county notables: Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Lee District Supervisor Jeffrey McKay, Edward Batten Sr. who is Lee District Representative of the Fairfax Park Authority, and Tim Aiken who relayed congratulatory remarks from U.S. Rep. Jim Moran.

‘Smiles for Life’ Supports UCM

Alexandria dentists Dr. James Geren and Dr. Zeyad Mady are participating in the Smiles for Life program, which will allow their patients to whiten their smile and help needy children at the same time. Running until the end of June, the dentists will offer professional teeth whitening services to the community at a reduced rate and donate 100 percent of the proceeds to support children in need. Half of these donations will go to United Community Ministries (UCM) to support the Bryant Early Learning Center, while the other half will go to national children’s charities.

Police Investigate Shooting

Mount Vernon District police officers, initially called for a noise complaint at the intersection of San Leandro Place and Mendocino Place at 11;30 p.m., Wednesday, May 16, found a 47-year-old man sitting in a vehicle suffering from gunshot wounds to the upper body. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Mount Vernon Crime Report May 23

Activities reported by the Mt. Vernon police department through May 18.

Calendar for May 24

E-mail announcements to the Gazette, Photos and artwork are encouraged. Deadline is Thursday at noon for the following week's paper. Call Steve Hibbard at 703-778-9412 with questions.

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Unleashed Creativity

Local artists test new material at Artomatic 2012

On Friday, May 18, an immense display of synchronized drumbeats and vibrant rhythms performed by Batala Washington hailed the grand opening of Artomatic 2012.

Wednesday, May 23

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'Xanadu' Is Zany Spoof of the 1980s

Signature's production should not be missed.

Don't bother telling “Xanadu” that's it's based on one of the worst movies of all time. It's already in on the joke, reinventing itself as an outlandishly zany spoof of the 1980 movie about a muse descended on skates from Mount Olympus to inspire the creation of a roller disco in Venice, Calif.

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MV Boys’ Soccer Captures National District Title

Majors beat Yorktown for first district championship since 2005.

Simond Kargbo’s goal in the 60th minute broke a 1-all tie, Amardo Oakley converted a penalty kick for insurance and the Mount Vernon boys' soccer team captured its first district title since 2005 with a 3-1 victory against Yorktown on May 18 at MVHS.

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Governor Signs Voter ID Bills

McDonnell directs state to send every voter a new voter card before Election Day.

Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) signed watered-down versions of Virginia’s Republican-backed voter identification bills on Friday, adding the Commonwealth to the growing list of states adopting stricter voting standards.

Tuesday, May 22

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Editorial: Remembering on Memorial Day

Time to honor, also time to ensure proper care of veterans.

In February, Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner, 49, of Fairfax, was the highest ranking military officer to die in the war on terror.

Column: Living Longer, Sort of Prospering

Though my column has appeared in the newspaper as usual the last few weeks, I haven’t felt much like writing. Typically, I’m weeks ahead with my column inventory, having regularly found the time and inclination to put pen to paper and provide the prose you regular readers have come to expect.

Thursday, May 17

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LTA Cast Bids Adieu to “Witness for the Prosecution”

More than a few tears were shed as The Little Theatre of Alexandria continued its long tradition of hosting a closing night wrap party following the final performance of “Witness for the Prosecution.”

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Alert on Housing Discrimination

Officials step up efforts to reach immigrant communities about “fair housing” rights.

Housing discrimination cases have been on the rise in Fairfax County in the past few years. And the Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs (OHREP), the agency that enforces fair housing laws in the county, is shining a spotlight on the problem through seminars for housing providers, Realtors, community groups and other interested parties.

At the Sherwood Regional Library May 19-30

Saturday/May 19 Practice Your English. 11 a.m. Sherwood Regional Library, 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane, Alexandria. Conversation group for adults learning English. 703-765-3645.

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Hearing from Living History

Tuskegee Airman William T. Fauntroy, Jr., age 86, gave a talk recently to Boy Scout Troop 1509 at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Fort Hunt. After World War II, Fauntroy went on to become the first African American civil engineer hired by the National Capital Transportation Agency — the predecessor to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority.

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Mount Vernon Yacht Club Launches Season

Mount Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland knows where he will likely spend the first Sunday in May each year, and plans to drop by the Mount Vernon Yacht Club at the end of Tarpon Lane to meet and greet members and guests at the launch of the annual boating season gala.

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Church Celebrates 50 Years

Heritage Presbyterian Church celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 22. Pastor Emeritus Larry Glassco led the worship service which included a children's skit and a special music program. Several charter members, former pastors and representatives from the National Capital Presbytery and PC(USA) General Assembly were in attendance. Del. Scott Surovell presented the Rev. William C. Teng with a framed copy of a Resolution approved by the Virginia House of Delegates recognizing Heritage's faithful service to its members and the Mount Vernon community. The celebration culminated in a Jubilee banquet luncheon.

Letter: Verify Claim Of Organization

To the Editor: Finally, the big day is here. Tonight (May 17) beginning at 8:15 p.m., the Planning Commission is conducting a public hearing to determine whether the proposed interim use off-leash dog area (OLDA) at Westgrove Park complies with the comprehensive plan. Interested persons may testify in person at the County's Board of Supervisors' Boardroom or at a satellite location at the South County Center on Richmond Highway.

Letter: Help Make A Difference

To the Editor: On behalf of the Board of Directors of Alice’s Kids, a new charitable organization that provides direct assistance to needy children in Mount Vernon, I would like to thank the Riverside Estates community for participating in our “Fun Run” on Saturday, May 5. I especially wanted to thank 11-year-old Beth Pyles who was the inspiration for this event.

Letter: Protect Stables

To the Editor: The following open letter is addressed to Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland.

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Remembering Gilbert S. McCutcheon

Family, friends and neighbors of Gil McCutcheon gathered on the hilltop of Lamond Community Park on Saturday, May 12 for a ceremony to rename the park for the late Gilbert S. McCutcheon. McCutcheon was a key player in negotiations and acquisition of the 18-acre site off Fort Hunt Road. He also ensured that the home on the property would be preserved.

Column: Movie Star Tax Credits, a Gay Judge and Session Ends

Well, it’s over. The 2012 General Assembly ended on May 15 at 2 a.m. after a 13-hour House of Delegates’ session involving 117 of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s amendments and the election of 40 judges. It was a fitting end to a very contentious session.

‘Smiles for Life’ Supports UCM

Alexandria dentists Dr. James Geren and Dr. Zeyad Mady are participating in the Smiles for Life program, which will allow their patients to whiten their smile and help needy children at the same time. Running until the end of June, the dentists will offer professional teeth whitening services to the community at a reduced rate and donate 100 percent of the proceeds to support children in need. Half of these donations will go to United Community Ministries (UCM) to support the Bryant Early Learning Center, while the other half will go to national children’s charities.

Boating Safety Patrols Begin Soon

On Saturday, May 26, firefighters from Fire and Rescue Station 20, Gunston, will begin safety patrol duties in Fireboat 420 on the Potomac River and Mason Neck Area. The patrols will continue through the month of September.

‘New Trends in Green Development’

The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC) will present “New Trends in Green Development,” a community event aimed at discussing the environmental aspects of revitalization with the citizens of Mount Vernon and Lee Districts. This event will feature presentations from public and private sector experts in several fields representing a diverse set of perspectives. The summit will focus on how good development can enhance the natural environment.

Mount Vernon Crime Report May 16

Activities reported by the Mt. Vernon police department through May 11.

Future Teacher Honored

Jessica Raugitinane, a graduate of T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, has been honored by the Alma Exley Scholarship Program, which promotes greater diversity in the teaching profession.

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Bolling: Republican Party Is for Women

Jean Ann Bolling, wife of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, was the keynote speaker at the Commonwealth Republican Women’s Club (CRWC) annual membership meeting May 3 at the Lloyd House on North Washington Street in Old Town, Alexandria. The reception recognizes those who work successfully for the Republican Party both locally and state-wide.

Calendar for May 16

E-mail announcements to the Gazette, Photos and artwork are encouraged. Deadline is Thursday at noon for the following week's paper. Call Steve Hibbard at 703-778-9412 with questions.

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Campagna Center Hosts Belles and Bowties

Belles and Bowties at Collingwood on the River

The Belles and Bowties Derby Party occurred on May 5.

Classified Advertising

Read the latest Employment, classified and Home and Garden!

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First-time Candidate Versus Longtime Congressman

Former Navy pilot hopes to defeat Moran with charges of conflict of interest.

Former Navy pilot Bruce Shuttleworth’s campaign to oust U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) in the Democratic primary is fashioned as an indictment, a campaign in which the issues are framed as an attack on the incumbent.

Wednesday, May 16

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Don't Miss 'Lonely Planet' at MetroStage

Poignant AIDS play never mentions the word.

Like the American city where Steven Dietz's “Lonely Planet” takes place, the disease paralyzing the gay community with fear remains unnamed in the powerful and moving production of the award-winning work now playing at MetroStage in Alexandria.

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Mount Vernon Sports Briefs: MVHS Baseball Closes Regular Season with No-Hitter

Mount Vernon senior right-hander David Lehner threw an eight-inning no-hit shutout against Edison on May 7 — Mount Vernon’s first no-hitter since 2003.

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Opening Doors for People in Need

FACETS celebrates volunteers, donors at annual benefit breakfast.

Surrounded by nearly 350 business executives, politicians and community leaders in the chandeliered ballroom of the Waterford, Frank Somers - dressed in jeans, sneakers and a denim work shirt - looked a little out of place.

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The Fun Run Draws All Ages

Just up the street from 1400 Trap Road, neighbors and tiny tots were up and about at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 5. Some were walking; others were running.

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Princess for a Night at West Potomac

The line was already out the door when the girl’s locker room opened on Saturday, May 12 for first pick on the new and slightly used prom dresses and accessories.

Tuesday, May 15

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Game On

George Mason University students develop video games aimed at curtailing gang recruitment in Virginia.

Law enforcement officials now have two unlikely weapons in the fight against gang activity in Virginia: video games and college students.

Editorial: Most Endangered?

Potomac River has made great strides, has miles to go to save the Bay.

Unless your home is served by well water, you are almost certainly among the five million people in the Washington Metropolitan area who get their drinking water from the Potomac River.

Column: “Psycho-not-so-matic” Anymore

Whatever I thought was only happening in my head – or not, or was really happening physically – or not, is the muddled description of the thoughts and emotions that this cancer survivor/cancer patient-still-receiving-treatment feels every time I make a 24/7 self assessment (which is often).

Friday, May 11

2012 Del Ray House and Garden Tour

The 2012 Del Ray House and Garden Tour is pleased to announce the 12 homes that will be featured on the May 19 tour:

Calendar for May 9

E-mail announcements to the Gazette, Photos and artwork are encouraged. Deadline is Thursday at noon for the following week's paper. Call Steve Hibbard at 703-778-9412 with questions.

Virginia Irene Sullivan Bruch Dies

Virginia Irene Sullivan Bruch (“Ginny”) was born May 26, 1921 in Hickman, Ky. A teacher and published poet, genealogist, and civic leader in Alexandria, she began a career in the Civil Service in 1948, retiring in 1980 from the Pentagon Army Library, where she was a section chief.

Dorothy P. Miller Dies

Dorothy P. Miller (Jane) died of complications following surgery in Woodland Hills, Calif., on April 27, 2012. Dorothy was the daughter of the late John P. and Dorothy Shepherd of London, England. She is survived by her son Michael Miller and his wife Jane of Springfield, Va., her daughter Mary Jane Seebach and her husband Steven of Newbury Park, Calif., a cousin Anne Farnario and her husband Jack of St. Clairsville, Ohio and a sister-in-law Alice Jennings of Bellevue, Washington. She is also survived by three grandsons, Philip Miller of Rockville, Md., Ian and Spencer Seebach of Newbury Park.

Planning a Town Center at Land Bay G

Site could embrace restaurants, hotels, movies.

In 2007, MidAtlantic Realty Partners, a veteran Washington area real estate developer, bought 17 acres of land from the Pulte Group for $70 million. MRP’s plan was to develop Potomac Yard’s Land Bay G, the third largest parcel in the city’s concept of Potomac Yard and what Alexandria planners saw as a “Town Center” — a place with restaurants, stores, movies, offices and hotels could serve the giant residential neighborhood being developed next door by the Pulte Group.

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Land Bay F Compares in Scope to Crystal City

Increased density would help pay for new Metro station.

Third in a three-part series about Potomac Yard development.

2012 Athletes of the Year

Tim Hightower to keynote Sportsman's Club awards dinner May 15.

Washington Redskins running back Tim Hightower will be on hand as 25 of the city's best high school athletes are honored for their academic and athletic excellence at the 56th annual Alexandria Sportsman's Club Awards dinner May 15 at the Westin Carlyle Hotel.

Classified Advertising

Read the Latest in Employment, Home and Garden and classified!

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Notes from the Producer: "Lonely Planet"

You often hear theatre patrons (and producers!) say that a production is everything theatre should be. It is entertaining, yet has an emotional core so that you leave feeling like you have experienced something that has entertained yet enriched. It has taken you out of your immediate life experience and allowed you for an hour or two to view a collection of characters with a story to tell — a story separate from your own but with a universality that leaves you with insight and a sensitivity to life’s greatest challenges. MetroStage strives to offer this experience in all its many genres to its patrons each and every time.

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Mount Vernon Me and My Mom Photos

Elizabeth Rees with children Sophia (now 8), Dylan (now 5) and Maya (now 2). This picture was taken on Pentecost last year. I'm a priest, and this picture is taken after church. I was exhausted and relaxing on the couch, and all the kids came over to snuggle with me.

Poetry by Patrick Rhoads

"Control our Debt" to the tune of "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Poetry by Peter Lattu


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Future Educators Win Awards at Conference

Mount Vernon High School students Shai West and Khortney Hamlin won first place awards in individual events at the Virginia Future Educators Association (FEA) Conference, held recently in Virginia Beach. Mount Vernon’s FEA chapter won more awards than any other school in the competition.

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Friends of Trees Award

Mount Vernon High School teacher Matthew Thompson, who teaches chemistry and IB environmental systems, received a Friends of Trees Award from the Fairfax County Tree Commission for his efforts coordinating an effort to plant 465 native trees on the MVHS campus on April 20. Thompson’s efforts brought together students, teachers, administrators, sports teams, club members, community members, local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and members of the Environmental Protection Agency. Further, he worked with the local non-profit group, Fairfax ReLeaf, which provided many trees towards the effort. To cover additional expenses, Thompson was able to solicit over $1,800 in donations from local businesses to help fund the project.

Frithjof Olsen Dies

Frithjof Olsen, a retired architect, died on March 25, 2012, three weeks before his 103rd birthday. He was born in 1909 in Fevik, Norway, the seventh of nine children, to Ingeborg and Ole Christian Olsen.

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West Potomac Academy Students Produce Fashion Show

In the Springbank auditorium on Friday, May 4, West Potomac High School students were practicing their steps on the runway, lights and sound were checked, back in wardrobe, dressers were waiting for the models and changes, make-up was being applied in the band room as the preparations for the spring fashion show were near complete. This year’s show, Runway Ready “Catwalk to Concept,” featured student designs: Pink Paradise, Street Intentions, My Bougie Baby, Vintage Appeal and Masked Elegance. Guest designers included Nam Nguyen and the Ugglee Collection.

Letter: Ways To Restore Dyke Marsh

To the Editor: This week, the National Park Service (NPS) held a public meeting to discuss four optional courses of action concerning the erosion of Dyke Marsh. The Marsh is a tidal marsh where the brackish waters of the Potomac River ebb and flow with the tide, covering land at high tide and exposing land at low tide. While Dyke Marsh is a relatively large example of a tidal marsh, numerous other examples abound in the Potomac River and its tributaries. The main distinction is that Dyke Marsh is located within a national park, the George Washington National Historic Parkway Park. This introduces the prospect of using federal funding to restore it.

Letter: Thank You To Community

To the Editor: The Mount Vernon Evening Lions Club thanks the Mount Vernon community for its generous donations at our White Cane Day which was held at the Belle View Safeway on Saturday, April 28. All money will be used for sight projects. Please drop off any used eyeglasses or hearing aides at the recycle boxes located in local libraries. For questions, contact Andrea Corsillo at 703-960-4973.

Letter: How To Measure Excellence

For the past several years around the May timeframe, the Mount Vernon Gazette has published a nice picture of the Waynewood Elementary School principal, who — along with a teacher — is receiving an Academic Excellence Award from Dan Storck (see last week's edition of the Gazette). While I think it's great that Waynewood receives this award year after year after year, I wonder what type of message that sends to the other hard-working school administrators and teachers in the area who cannot compete with Waynewood's "success" on many levels.

Letter: Keep Larger Perspective

To the Editor: A mega issue is playing out under the guise of a mini issue in northern Mount Vernon district.

When a Child Goes Missing

Annually in Virginia over 1,000 children are reported as missing.

What started as a missing child report on April 27 has since been resolved by the Mount Vernon police. On Friday, May 4, the police determined that the 12-year-old girl is in the custody of a family member. The investigation is ongoing but no charges have been placed at this time.

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Help ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ This Saturday

Postal carriers to collect donated food.

Among the letter carriers across the nation collecting food donations this Saturday, May 12, for the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is Mount Vernon’s postal carrier David Yip who delivers mail along Fort Hunt Road.

Auction To Benefit Club Programs, Projects

Join Belvoir Officers' Spouses' Club on “Military Spouse Appreciation Day” with a “Caring for our Community Dinner and Auction.” Items on the auction block, called by a professional auctioneer, include a football signed by the NFL's Mannings - Eli, Peyton and Archie, along with its certificate of authenticity, a pearl necklace, a stay at the Hollywood Casino, Pink Bicycle Tea Room, Wine Tasting tours and picnic parties at several local wineries, a man's Officina del Tempo Watch, roundtrip New York City bus tickets and theater tickets to several shows, Dandy Cruise Ship four-course dinner cruise for two, Stonewall Resort’s two-night stay for two, Hunting Hawk Golf Club greens fees, Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre, Olde Towne Pet Resort three-night stay and spa bath for a canine or feline family member, a season pass to the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, and other items. The evening will also feature entertainment by guitarist Stan Hamrick of the Potomac Jazz Project.

Park Improvements at Mount Eagle Park

Residents and local officials will gather on Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. to celebrate the completion of improvements at Mount Eagle Park. The 12-acre park recently received a new playground, pavilion and sand volleyball court. A brief ceremony to be held at the pavilion will mark the occasion. Mount Eagle Park is located at 5919 North Kings Highway, Alexandria.

Driver Arrested In Hit and Run

Detectives have seized the suspect vehicle believed to be involved in what has been determined to be a fatal case of road rage. The driver of that vehicle is a 32-year-old resident on John Paul Drive in Alexandria, who has been arrested and charged with felony hit and run. The suspect vehicle is a black, 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer and was located in southwest Washington, D.C.

Mount Vernon Crime Report May 8

Activities reported by the Mt. Vernon police department through May 4.

Thursday, May 10

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Presidential Visit to Washington-Lee

President Barack Obama made his first visit to Washington-Lee High School on Friday, May 4.

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Northern Virginia Bill Signing Puts Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence in Spotlight

A rare moment of bipartisanship between Republican governor and Democratic legislators.

Strangulation will be punished more aggressively to combat violence against women. Campus police will work with other police agencies to crack down on domestic violence of unmarried couples. And the telephone number for a human trafficking hotline will be placed in the restrooms at strip clubs across Virginia.

Wednesday, May 9

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Mount Vernon Boys’ Soccer Approaching No. 1 Seed

Majors receive wake-up call from loss to Chantilly.

The Mount Vernon boys' soccer team has responded well to its first loss of the season.

Tuesday, May 8

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The Best Seats Outside the House

Local designers offer tips for creating a spectacular patio or deck.

Warm weather means more time spent lounging by the pool or grilling on the patio. A winter-worn outdoor space can make popular warm weather pastimes less than appealing. Creating a space that provides both comfort and style can be a daunting undertaking. Local designers are offering suggestions for creating a luxurious retreat fit for relaxing or outdoor entertaining.

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Housing Discrimination Alert

Officials step up education, outreach efforts to reach immigrant communities about "fair housing" rights.

Housing discrimination cases have been on the rise in Fairfax County in the past few years. And the Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs (OHREP), the agency that enforces fair housing laws in the county, is shining a spotlight on the problem through seminars for housing providers, realtors, community groups and other interested parties. "Sadly, housing discrimination is alive and well and we’ve seen an uptick in complaints during the past six years," said Kenneth Saunders, executive director of OHREP.

Editorial: Transparency, Technology and Tolls

With E-Z Pass transponder on the windshield, you should know what you're about to pay; whatever it is, it's going up.

Despite the high number of drivers in Northern Virginia who already have an E-Z Pass transponder, when the HOT-Lanes open on the Beltway, there will be pressure for many more drivers to subscribe.

Column: “I’m Fine”

Mostly. All things considered, and as a stage IV (terminal) lung cancer patient, it’s impossible – for me, to not consider all things.

Friday, May 4

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Renaming Field Honors Lt. Col. Gary F. Smith

Friends and family gathered Saturday, April 28 at Field #5 at Grist Mill Park for the renaming of the field in honor of Lt. Colonel Gary F. Smith (ret.).

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Responding to Natural Disasters

West Potomac High School students from Frances Coffey’s Advanced Placement Human Geography class were treated to a visit from Cathi Hoefler and Steven Keating from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency recently. Hoefler and Keating discussed the importance of using data to better predict and respond to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 earthquake off the coast of Japan and tsunami. Students asked questions about how relief efforts are influenced by geography. The speakers also discussed how understanding cultural values and norms is important in military efforts worldwide.

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Academic Excellence Award for Waynewood

On Monday, April 30, Acting Assistant Superintendent Deborah Tyler and Mount Vernon School Board Representative Dan Storck presented Waynewood Elementary School and Principal James Meier with the Academic Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row. Retiring teacher Eileen Deaver accepted for the staff.

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Pennies For Patients

The Stratford Landing Elementary School K-Kids Club (sponsored by Mount Vernon Kiwanis) collected a total of $4,144.37 last month for a project called Pennies For Patients. This is about $1,400 more than last year’s collection. The collection is a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society community service project where students and their friends donate their spare change to fund blood cancer research and patient aid programs. Above, the K-Kids present a symbolic check to the representative from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Joann Hatch (shown on right).

Thursday, May 3

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Carl Sandburg Competes in Science Olympiad

The Carl Sandburg Science Olympiad Team ranked 12th out of 29 schools at the Virginia State Science Olympiad Tournament on Saturday, April 14, at Westfield High School in Chantilly.

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Eat, Tour and Buy Local

Three activities open to the public have been planned at St. Luke’s Church, 8009 Fort Hunt Road, for Saturday, May 5.

Letter: Liberty’s Disgrace

To the Editor: As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed same-sex marriage into law, though it will be instructive to note that he was under absolutely no obligation to do so.

Letter: Exchange Student’s Appreciation

To the Editor: Hi, my name is Elena Dreim¸ller and I am an exchange student from Germany.

Letter: Help Save Woodlawn Stables

If the currently favored plan to “improve” Route 1 wins approval, it will destroy Woodlawn Stables. That breaks my heart.

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From Theatre Workshop to Stage

Fifty-one fifth graders from Mt. Vernon Wood, Woodley Hills and Woodlawn Elementary Schools have spent the past 12 weeks in a theatre workshop hosted by the Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre. The students created original plays based on themes from their life at school. The plays have been in rehearsal since February. On Tuesday evening, May 1, the students brought their work to the stage at Woodlawn Elementary.

Mount Vernon Crime Report for May 3

Activities reported by the Mt. Vernon police department through April 27.

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Building from East Glebe Road to Monroe Avenue Bridge

After delays, construction on 164-acre part to finish by 2020.

Second in a three-part series about Potomac Yard development.

Local Safety Net Clinics Seek a Few Good Doctors

Specialty care physicians and other medical professionals needed to serve low income, uninsured patients.

When Marie Markey of Alexandria retired from U.S. Air Force as a physical therapist, she rolled up her sleeves and went to work helping those in need. Markey works as a volunteer twice each week at the Arlington Free Clinic, offering physical therapy to the clinic’s low income and uninsured patients.

Letter: Where Is County’s Accountability?

The Virginia Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability (CCPA) is a pro-police grassroots citizen activist organization that is dedicated to making our community a better and safer place for all of its citizens.

Column: Route 1 Transit Study Moves Forward

In 2011, I introduced and got passed a bill to initiate and fund the Route 1 Transit Study in both Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Park Authority Honors McCutcheon

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County Park Authority Board invite the public to join in renaming ceremonies at Lamond Park, which will now be known as Gilbert S. McCutcheon Park, a tribute to the late Park Authority Board member and Farmers Market master.

Blessing of Fleet Scheduled for May 6

The first Sunday in May at 2 p.m. will start off the same as it has for the past 56 years at the Mount Vernon Yacht Club and the surrounding community.

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Volunteers Honored for Efforts

Four locals receive Community Champions Awards for Health Care and Social Services to the Community.

Four Northern Virginia volunteers were honored for their charitable efforts recently. Edward Shahin of McLean, Marie Markey of Alexandria and Mattie Palmore and Kari Warren of Mt. Vernon received the Molina Healthcare Community Champions Award during a ceremony at the at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax.

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Got Food?

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive set for May 12.

The nation's largest single-day food drive will take place on Saturday, May 12, when postal workers in Alexandria will join others across the country in the 20th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

Column: Honoring EMS Partners in Healthcare

They are the first responders and the first link in the chain of survival when an emergency strikes.

Del Ray Montessori Adds Elementary Level

Starting in Fall of 2012, The Del Ray Montessori School will offer classes for children from 2 1/2 to 9 years old.

Prescription Drugs by the Pound

The Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office collected 227 pounds of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at the fourth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Schools Name Lead Psychologist

John C. Baker has been named lead psychologist for the Alexandria City Public Schools.

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Face of America Ride Honors Disabled Veterans

They came from across the country, gathering before dawn in the shadow of the Pentagon to begin a two-day journey to honor the sacrifices of America's wounded warriors and gain a better understanding of people with disabilities.

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Is Richmond Highway Improving?

New survey says attitudes are improving, but critics say change is too slow.

Is Richmond Highway improving? A new survey of 900 consumers shows that the vast majority of respondents thinks so, and by a two-to-one margin. Others say progress along the Route 1 corridor lags far behind other parts of Northern Virginia.

Wednesday, May 2

Classified Advertising

Read the Latest Employment and Classified ads!

Hauptle Leads Wolverines to Victory on Senior Night

West Potomac girls’ lacrosse defeats South County in overtime.

Emily Hauptle’s final regular season game as a member of the West Potomac girls’ lacrosse team began with an invite to the prom. It ended with the senior scoring a pair of overtime goals to beat South County.

Editorial: Reminders to Press Ahead for Housing

Spring discussion on hypothermia shelters could help preparations for winter.

In February, 2007, 59-year-old Robert Bruce Miller was found dead outdoors in Chantilly. Miller was homeless, known to businesses and residents in the area. He died of hypothermia, exposure to the cold.

Tuesday, May 1

Column: News That’s Fit To Print

As our Publisher and fellow cancer survivor, Mary Kimm, e-mailed back to me last week: “Who knew ‘stable’ could be so exciting?”