Stories for January 2013

Stories for January 2013


Thursday, January 31

Letter: Taking Exception on Medicaid Expansion

Your recent editorial ["Expanding Medicaid Good For Virginia," The Connection, January 23-29, 2013] is noble in its desire to "extend health coverage to more than 400,000 residents who currently have no health insurance." If public policy making were just that easy. The editorial then goes on to indifferently say, "the Federal government picks up the tab.

Editorial: Extreme, But Brief, Volunteering

More than 150 volunteers needed to survey chronic homeless for three days in February.

The real solution to homelessness is housing. This week in Northern Virginia, a point-in-time survey will record all of the “literally homeless” individuals and families in the region. Last year, on Jan. 25, 2012, there were 1,534 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community; 697 of them were single individuals and 837 were people in families. A third of the total number of homeless were children. Nearly 60 percent of the adult members of the homeless families were employed.

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Lawmakers Consider Effort to Increase Salary for Next Gunston Hall Director

Next museum leader could pull down more than $88,000 a year.

George Mason was one of the wealthiest Founding Fathers, and now the Virginia General Assembly may be moving to increase the salary of the director of the house where he once lived. Gunston Hall has been in a state of flux since the previous director was finally removed from office after more than a year of calls for his resignation.

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Bipartisan Team Seeks Compensation for Victims of Forced Sterilization

Effort would give $50,000 to survivors; estimated cost would be $73 million.

Nobody knows how many people are survivors of Virginia’s forced sterilization program, which targeted people with mental illness, mental retardation or epilepsy.

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Coming for the Guns: Confiscating Firearms During Mental Health Evaluations

Alexandria delegate wants to expand police powers to confiscate guns of the detained.

Imagine the scenario: Sheriff’s deputies arrive at a home to issue a temporary detention order against an individual.

Wednesday, January 30

Classified Advertising Jan. 30, 2013

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Letter to the Editor: Reform County’s Appointment Process

In August 2010, Supervisor Hyland constituted a visioning task force to study the Mount Vernon District and create a comprehensive report concerning the next 25 years.

Language of The Drum

A melody echoing in two parts filled the air with vibrating rhythms as the students in the West African drumming workshop practiced a simple drumming exercise.

Column: Week of Sunshine, Online Textbooks and Car Title Lenders

Last week in the General Assembly was a busy one. I have introduced 15 bills, three constitutional amendments, one study resolution, seven budget amendments, and I am Chief Co-Patron on four bills.

A Lullaby to Birdland

MetroStage premieres “Ladies Swing the Blues.”

Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee. Their voices defined the history of jazz alongside the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. But it is the indomitable influence of Charlie “Bird” Parker that sets the stage for “Ladies Swing the Blues: A Jazz Fable,” now playing at MetroStage.

Indoor Winter Fun with Children

Ideas for entertainment when Jack Frost appears.

Winter weather often means limited open air playtime for some children. “It is very important for children to get as much outdoor activity as possible, but there are times when it is not safe for them to be outside for an extended length of time, or any time at all, because it is too cold. ” said Shannon Melideo, chair of the Education Department at Marymount University in Arlington. “There are many other things that children can do besides sledding and ice skating.”

Winter Fun with Food

Easy and tasty ideas for winter meals.

The stove is fired-up, a sauté pan is sizzling and the thud of a steel knife blade hitting a wooden chopping block fills the air along with the woodsy aroma of fresh thyme. The temperature outside is frigid, but the kitchen feels like an inferno as Chef Kristen Robinson drives a knife though a fennel bulb, kale leaves and a tough-skinned butternut squash with staccato succession.

Column: Redistricting Shenanigans Distract General Assembly

From constitutional amendments and uranium mining to electoral reform and redistricting, the General Assembly is dealing with a wide range of issues this year in our fast-paced 46-day session.

Friday, January 25

Classified Advertising Jan. 23, 2013

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Thursday, January 24

Editorial: Expanding Medicaid Good for Virginia

Real health coverage for an additional 400,000 people is in reach.

Virginia has an opportunity to expand Medicaid in a way that could extend health coverage to more than 400,000 residents who currently have no health insurance while the Federal government picks up the tab; Virginia would pay 10 percent of the additional cost after 2020.

News Briefs

As Democratic delegates fight to keep firearms further from school property, Republican Bob Marshall (D-13) is pushing legislation to bring more guns in. Marshall is the chief patron of HB 1557, which would require every school board in the state to designate one volunteer to carry a concealed weapon on school property. Training for selected volunteers would be provided by either the Virginia Center for School Safety or the NRA, of which he is a member.

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Four Northern Virginia Senators Targeted

Redistricting effort puts Fairfax County seats in the spotlight.

Four Northern Virginia state Senators are targets of a Republican-led effort to draw new districts — Sen. George Barker (D-39), Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37), Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36) and Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34). Democrats say the redistricting effort is a cynical attempt to take advantage of the absence of Sen. Henry Marsh (D-16), a prominent civil rights veteran, who was in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration on Monday. But state Sen. John Watkins (R-10) of Powhatan defended the effort as a way to create a sixth majority black Senate district in Southside. It passed the Senate on a 20-to-19 vote.

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Making Schools Safer

Two Northern Virginia Democrats take part in panel to consider school security.

Do Virginia schools need more guns? That question is at the heart of a debate that’s now reaching a fever pitch in the commonwealth, especially after a man with a Bushmaster assault rifle blasted his way into a Connecticut elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell responded to the tragedy by creating a School Safety Task Force, which is considering a proposal for every school in Virginia to have an armed school resource officer.

Column: The Best of Intentions, I’m Sure

Regularly, throughout my now nearly four years of living as a stage IV non-small cell lung cancer “diagnosee”/survivor, I have had conversations where the person with whom I’ve been speaking–in response to a query of mine, said about a particular set of their circumstances: “Oh, it’s nothing, really. I mean, it’s not cancer, so it’s not as bad as what you’re (meaning me) going through.” Said with the utmost sincerity and sensitivity to me of course, and with my feelings/reaction most definitely in mind; for a long time, I simply acknowledged their empathy/sympathy and continued on with our conversation as if no emotional pot–of mine, had been stirred.

Wednesday, January 23

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Mount Vernon Girls’ Basketball Team Trying To Stay Focused

Majors rarely challenged by National District opponents.

The Mount Vernon girls' basketball team has won seven district games by at least 30 points.

Last Weekend To See ‘Little Mermaid, Jr.’

Aldersgate Church Community Theatre’s production of Disney’s “Little Mermaid, Jr.” is in its final weekend of performances.

Obituary: John Bruce Hammond

After a six-year battle with a rare form of cancer, John Hammond died peacefully while surrounded by family on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013.

Obituary: Dr. Bernard Greifer

On Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, Bernard Greifer, 91, of Rockville, Md., previously of Alexandria, died.

Obituary: Gerald V. Godfrey

Gerald V. Godfrey, born March 26, 1938, died on Jan. 20, 2013 at his home in Alexandria.

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Residents Attend 57th Presidential Inauguration

Many brave crowds to witness history.

Local residents were among the hundreds of thousands who left their homes on a cold winter holiday, Jan. 21, to brave packed Metro trains and slow-moving security check points for a chance to celebrate and witness President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.

Column: Gun Safety Among Early Legislative Actions

Though barely two weeks old, the General Assembly Session is already moving at breakneck speed, with multitudes of bills being considered and with ongoing discussions of how to move Virginia forward on key issues including transportation and gun safety.

Many Local Implications in Zoning Rewrite

Four-year project moves from Planning Board to County Council.

Earlier this month when Callum Murray, the county’s chief planner for Potomac, spoke to the West Montgomery County Citizens Association, he told the group that the rewrite of the zoning code was about to move from planning to County Council.

Letter to the Editor: Neighborhoods Vs. Cell Towers

The January 2013 edition of the MVCCA Record includes a resolution of its Environment & Recreation committee on page 13 concerning cell towers.

Letter to the Editor: Donate Used Musical Instruments

Hi, my name is Katherine Rausch. I am an Ambassador Girl Scout and am currently working on my Girl Scout Gold Award project.

UCM’s 19th Annual SOUPer Saturday

More than 100 handcrafted bowls were on sale at the Torpedo Factory for the 19th annual United Community Ministries SOUPer on Saturday, Jan. 19.

Students Compete at West Potomac Science Fair

The West Potomac High School Science Fair was held in the cafeteria on Saturday, Jan.19. Students enrolled in honors classes of biology, chemistry, geo-systems, and physics classes entered nearly 100 projects for judging at the fair.

Column: Progress on U.S. 1 Funding, Redistricting Surprise

Legislation has started to move through the legislation as the hard work of legislating began during the second week of session. First, we made some progress securing state funding for the next study required to widen U.S. 1.

Column: Legislators Need Feedback

This is an exciting week in Richmond with many important issues facing the General Assembly. There is one of particular note that I know everyone around the Commonwealth is talking about right now — the reconfirmation of Helen Dragas.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: December, 2012

In December 2012, 102 homes sold between $1,717,500-$70,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: December, 2012

Tuesday, January 22

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Fairfax Families4Kids

Fostering bonds with children.

Nationwide, more than 463,000 children live in foster care. In many states, including Virginia, the number of foster youth has tripled in the last 25 years. As of Sept. 30, 2011, nearly 5,000 youth were in foster care in Virginia, according to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. Physical abuse is the most common reason children enter foster, but it’s not the only reason. Often there’s emotional abuse, sexual abuse and the parent or caretaker’s inability to provide a safe environment due to substance abuse.

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A Family Made Whole

After a tragic loss, Reston couple creates a family through adoption.

The Granvilles look like a made-for-TV family. On a bright October afternoon, Chris, a computer engineer, is teasing his teenage son, Kenny, about what kind of pet to adopt, while Tiffany sits on a sofa, cradling Elijah, Kenny’s baby brother, who has just woken up from an afternoon nap. “Fish? No way,” Kenny, 15, says. “They just go ‘round and ‘round in a bowl.” Kenny is lobbying hard for a dog or—at the very least—a guinea pig or hamster.

Dancing Life into Books

Upcoming performances from Jane Franklin Dance incorporate movement and storytelling.

Jane Franklin likes to keep busy and to keep her company moving. During the next few weeks, the Arlington-based dance company is performing a number of pieces, each of which depend in movement and music to tell stories.

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Area Residents Attend 57th Inauguration

Many brave crowds to witness history.

Local residents were among the hundreds of thousands who left their homes on a cold winter holiday, Jan. 21, to brave packed Metro trains and slow-moving security check points for a chance to celebrate and witness President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.

Monday, January 21

A 10-Year Mission: End Homelessness

Our Fairfax-Falls Church community is one of the most affluent in the country. Our schools are second to none. We are the home for many Fortune 500 businesses. Even with the challenging economy, our unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.

Sunday, January 20

Classified Advertising January 16, 2013

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Friday, January 18

Queen of Household Hints to Share Five Essentials Every Home Should Have

Heloise to headline 2013 Home and Remodeling Show at the Dulles Expo Center.

The high priestess of household hints will share her domestic wisdom this weekend at the 2013 Home and Remodeling Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va. A nationally syndicated columnist, Heloise is one of the presenters scheduled to headline the weekend’s show.

Thursday, January 17

Editorial: Transportation Money

Eliminating the gas tax makes no sense.

Virginia, and especially Northern Virginia, is woefully short on funds for transportation. One reason is that its gas tax, a logical way to fund transportation infrastructure, is one of the lowest in the nation, and has remained flat since the ’80s, since it is not indexed for inflation. So the buying power of the gas tax has been dwindling.

Wednesday, January 16

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Intergenerational Meal-Gathering

Noticed something sprouting at the Hollin Hall Senior Center?

Military Notes January 16

Military Notes for January

A New Home in Five Easy Pieces

Trend grows for modular homes.

The Plymouth Haven neighborhood is welcoming another new modular home, the third in the last five years. Last week, Plymouth Haven native, Jim Harvey, and his wife Colleen, watched a crane operator lift the modules of their new home into place. Jim Harvey had mixed feelings as the new house replaced the one he grew up in with six brothers.

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‘To Reach the Beach’

The West Potomac Dance Team took over the floor at the boy’s varsity basketball game against Lee during halftime last Friday evening, Jan. 11.

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Economic Development Topic of Chamber Meeting

The future of economic growth in Fairfax County will be found in the new field of personalized medicine, along with the current growth sectors of IT, and financial services according to Dr. Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority speaking to the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce.

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Obituary: Willard F. Townsend

Lt. Col. Willard F. Townsend (USAF-Ret.), age 79, of Pike Road, Ala. died on July 31, 2012.

Obituary: Muriel S. Rector

Muriel S. Rector, 90, formerly of Alexandria, died on Dec. 19, 2012, in Kilmarnock, Va.

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Obituary: Edward Arthur Daggit

Lt. Col. Edward Arthur Daggit Ph.D., USA Ret., age 80, of Harrisonburg, Va., died on Friday Jan. 11, 2013.

Obituary: Hilary Carr

Hilary Carr, 62, of Alexandria, died on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013.

Obituary: Helen D. Anderson

Helen D. Anderson died Jan. 9, 2013.

Tuesday, January 15

The New Year, Same as the Old Year?

Having survived almost four full years from the date of my original diagnosis/prognosis doing what I’ve done, all I should feel is: that anything is possible. I’m living proof.

Importance of Recess

Pediatric researchers say unstructured play can help a child’s cognitive, physical, emotional and social development.

Can climbing on monkey bars help a child’s cognitive development? Can a game of tag boost preschooler’s social skills? The nation’s top pediatricians say “yes” and some local educators agree.

Friday, January 11

Mount Vernon Home Sales: November, 2012

In November 2012, 99 homes sold between $1,300,000-$69,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: November, 2012

Classified Advertising Jan 9, 2012

Read the latest ads here!

Thursday, January 10

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Wolverines Show Balance in Win Against Spartans

West Potomac has six players score at least nine points.

Devin Morrow scores 11 points and grabs nine rebounds for West Potomac.

Editorial: More Fodder for Comedy?

2013 session of the Virginia General Assembly will tackle serious issues.

The 2013 30-day session of the Virginia General Assembly begins on Wednesday, Jan. 9. We can only hope that the various legislative proposals do not provide as much fodder for comedy as last session. The Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia will offer live streaming video of the 2013 Legislative Sessions, and it is well worth tuning in once or twice.

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Toxic Politics: Northern Virginia Delegation Split on Uranium Mining

Issue pits economic development against environmental concerns.

Northern Virginia may be hundreds of miles away from the Southside community where a family business is seeking to overturn a longstanding ban on uranium mining in Virginia.

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Mental Health First Aid Seen as a Way to Identify Problems Early

Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45) leads effort to expand training for workers on the front lines.

In her role as a caseworker for Adult Protective Services, Wilma Roberts has seen it all.

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Northern Virginia Democrat Takes Aim at the Gun Show Loophole

Arlington delegates wants to require background checks for all private firearms sales.

Legislators will be dueling over guns this year at the Capitol, with gun-rights advocates set to oppose efforts to close Virginia’s gun-show loophole.

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Stable Unstable: Future of Woodlawn Stables in Doubt

Feds decision on Southern Bypass creates a sense of uncertainty.

From the top of the hillside graveyard at Woodlawn Baptist Church, Pastor Travis Hilton looks out over the cars rushing by on the highway below.

In Session

With the fresh tragedy of Newtown, Conn., haunting the Virginia General Assembly, the issue of gun control is certain to be one of the most emotional topics on the docket.

Wednesday, January 9

Mount Vernon Boys’ Basketball Destroys Edison

Majors open 2013 with a 34-point win against the Eagles.

Mount Vernon jumps on Edison with 17-2 first-quarter run.

Mount Vernon Beats Edison in Battle of National District Girls' Basketball Powers

Majors claim sole possession of first place in the district.

Mount Vernon senior point guard Taylor Dunham had a big third quarter for the Majors.

Mount Vernon School Notes Jan. 9

School notes for Mount Vernon natives.

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Obituary: Allan Scott Wiley

Allan Scott Wiley, 54, of Alexandria, died on Dec. 21, 2012, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Letter to the Editor: Why Celebrate George Washington's Birthday?

A great nation — a great democracy — needs heroes to set us an example — a paradigm for conduct, a coalescence of our own definition.

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All in the Family

With solid planning and skillful remodeling, seniors convert personal residence into a multi-generational household.

Challenging times demand creative thinking — so you don't have to look far to find homeowners executing remodeling projects with far-reaching objectives.

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Muslims Inaugurate New Mosque

The Rev. Dr. Dennis Perry is honored for Aldersgate’s Christian hospitality.

Declaring peace and spiritual brotherhood between Muslims and Christians, a host of Muslim-American religious dignitaries inaugurated the new Mount Vernon-area mosque at a ceremony attended by many Christians Saturday afternoon, Jan. 5.

Column: Budget Cuts, Road Shortfalls and Uranium

Last week, I wrote about a few of the bills and budget amendments I’m going to be carrying this session. This week, I am going to write about some of the broader issues in play this session.

“If It Ain’t Broke…”

Today is a day I feel like writing – not merely one when I am looking forward to having written, but rather one when I am interested and motivated by the process.

Friday, January 4

Classified Advertising January 2, 2013

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Thursday, January 3

Happy New Year, Keep in Touch

Reflecting and reinforcing the sense of community.

As local, weekly newspapers, the Connection’s mission is to bring the news you need about your community, to give you the information you need to enjoy the best things in and near your community, to advocate for community good, to call attention to unmet needs, to provide a forum for dialogue on local concerns, and to celebrate and record milestones and events in community and people’s lives. To succeed at any of that, we need your help.

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Advice for Seniors on Fitness in the New Year

Suggestions for making and keeping exercise resolutions.

Mary Garner’s New Year’s resolution is to increase the intensity of her workout routine. The 69-year-old retiree plans to seek the advice of a fitness trainer to create a plan to achieve her goal.

The Quest for Youth and Beauty

Spending billions of dollars to improve one’s appearance.

Hiba Hakki reclines on an exam table as a physician picks up a syringe with his latex-gloved hand and points it at her face. He inserts the needle into the flesh around her eyes. She cringes slightly. This is a Botox injection, just one of the cosmetic procedures Hakki undergoes for the sake of beauty.

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Should Virginia’s Governor Be Able to Run for Reelection?

Longstanding ban on second consecutive term to be reconsidered this year.

Virginia is the only state that limits its governor to a single, four-year term, a vestige of the distrust Americans had for executive power during the American Revolution. Now, more than two centuries later, the commonwealth may finally be ready to ditch the longstanding term limit and allow Virginia’s governor to run for reelection.

Wednesday, January 2

Local Teen Wins National Pageant

Carl Sandburg Middle School student competed for title of Miss American Teenager Jr. Queen and won.

Lauren Watson, a Carl Sandburg Middle School eighth grader, captain on the School Dance Team, and pre-professional dancer with the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center was chosen to represent Virginia as Miss Virginia American Teenager Jr. Queen at the National Pageant held Thanksgiving Weekend.

Letter to the Editor: Unidentified Appointments

During meetings of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS), appointments are made to Boards, Authorities and Commissions. The BOS agenda available on the Fairfax County website lists all of the positions for which the BOS intends to fill vacancies or, perhaps, to reappoint incumbents.

Kramer & Sons Earns Angie’s List Super Service Award

Kramer and Sons at 8805 Cooper Road has earned the service industry-coveted 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor awarded annually to approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on Angie’s List, a provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.