Stories for June 2013

Stories for June 2013


Thursday, June 27

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Housing’s Roaring Rebound?

Pent-up demand creates seller’s market for Northern Virginia real estate.

In February, Patricia Stack, a broker with Weichert Realtors, held an open house for a single-family home for sale in Vienna just listed for $739,000. Within three hours, more than 70 people toured the home. “The home went under contract substantially above list price,” Stack said. “2013 has started with a bang in Northern Virginia real estate. In fact, it appears to be a market more like 2005-2006 than anything we've seen since,” Stack said.

Mount Vernon Bulletin

Colonial Republican Women Meeting. 6:30-9 p.m. at Virginia Hills Administration Center, 6520 Diana Lane. Refreshments will be served. E-mail or 703-624-3252.

Mount Vernon Military Notes

Army Capt. Jeffrey J. Gunlicks has returned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., after being deployed to Iraq serving in support of Operation New Dawn. Gunlicks, an officer in charge of the Taji Projects Office attached to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C., has served eight years in the military. The captain is a resident of Cannes Court, Alexandria.

Points of Sail

Sailing instructor Sam Fleuchaus worked the better part of the end of an hour reinforcing the idea of wind and maneuvering on the river.

Safe to Eat Potomac Offerings?

States advise which to avoid, which to limit, due to PCBs and methyl mercury.

Recreational and subsistence fishermen who catch fish on the Potomac River and its tributaries beware: Resident largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, yellow perch, eel, and migratory striped bass (rockfish) and white perch, and other fish contain unhealthy levels of PCBs, methyl mercury, and pesticides.

Editorial: Careful While Going Faster

If you have driven on the new 495 Express Lanes, you might wonder if the people who decided to raise the speed limit to 65 have driven on them.

Editorial: Calling All Pets

The Pet Gazette, a bi-annual themed edition, will publish July 24.

Mount Vernon School Notes

Mariya Ilyas graduated from Bowdoin College with a major in mathematics and a minor in government and legal studies.

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West Potomac Class of 2013 Celebrates All Night

More than 70 businesses and sponsors came together to celebrate the West Potomac High School Class of 2013 with donations to the all-night graduation party on June 18.

Mount Vernon Crime Report

Ladson Lane/Richmond Highway, June 13, 10:30 p.m. A 34-year-old man reported he parked his car when an unknown man opened the door and demanded money. The victim did not have any money.

Letter to the Editor: More Shirts, More Names

A Richmond mom first made the clothesline of white t-shirts six years ago — 32 of them in all; one for each of the victims of Virginia Tech. It's been six years, but we have not forgotten. The names written on each of those t-shirts are heartbreakingly familiar ... Mary, Reema, Daniel ….


Betty Jeanne Canfield Randall

Betty Jeanne Randall died on June 5, 2013 at home with family in Alexandria after a valiant, short battle with cancer. Born in Los Angeles (’41), she graduated from South Pasadena High School with honors and Mount St. Mary’s College with honors. Being driven, as she was, she finished college in 3 and a half years with a degree in English (’63).

Pastor Marks First Anniversary

Pastor Robert. L. Lewis, Jr. will be celebrating his first year at Messiah Lutheran Church in Alexandria with a summer sermon series entitled ,”What’s Faith, Why Faith?” based on the book in the Bible known as The Letter to the Galatians. The sermon series will be during the regular Sunday Worship at 10 a.m. Messiah Lutheran called Lewis in June of 2012 and he began his ministry the following month. He came to Messiah Lutheran after serving at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Bethesda, Md. as the pastor for youth and family for eight years.

Emerging Scholar

Leilani "Lillie" Soriano, a rising 5th grader, was accepted into the Emerging Scholars Program which began on June 24. ESP is a 14-month academic and leadership program that was established in late 2002.

Steiding Named Officer of Month

PFC Adrian Steiding is the Sully District Police Station’s Officer of the Month for May. He was honored during his evening roll call. Lt. Rich Morvillo, assistant station commander, presented an example of Steiding’s work illustrating why he was selected.

A Year of Donations

Stratford Woman's Club celebrated a successful year of donations to Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School, Fort Hunt Elementary School and Make-a-Wish Foundation. Stratford Woman's Club is a non-federated club and membership is open to women who are interested in community service and fund-raising for worthwhile organizations. Monthly meeting are held at 9:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month from September through May at Heritage Presbyterian Church on Fort Hunt Road. Contact President Judy Henderson at 703-780-1068 for more information.

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Study Shows $54 Million Retail Gap Along Richmond Highway Corridor

Supply is not meeting demand in Mount Vernon.

Supply is not matching demand along Richmond Highway, according to a new study from the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation.

Wednesday, June 26

Column: No Shame in Crying

Nor is it a crying shame. But something has changed, dare I say affected my tear duct production. I can’t say with certainty – or even specify a particular moment in time for sure – when the tears began to flow more easily, but I’ll guess the change occurred sometime on or around February 27, 2009, the day I first met my oncologist; the day I was diagnosed with a terminal disease, stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), “prognosed” to live 13 months to two years. If that kind of shocking, terminal-type news doesn’t upset your apple cart – permanently, “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.” And so it has, as reflected in my frequent “salty discharge” (to quote Jerry Seinfeld).

Editorial: Ready for Your Pet’s Close-up?

The Pet Connection, a bi-annual themed edition, will publish July 24. We invite you to send us stories about your pets, photos of you and/or your family with your cats, dogs, hamsters, snakes, lizards, frogs, rabbits, or whatever other creatures share your home or yard with you.

Tuesday, June 25

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Paving ‘Virginia’s Road to the Future’

Transportation Authority solicits public input on first year of proposed projects.

City Hall in the City of Fairfax was the location of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) June 20 Open House and Public Hearing, seeking public opinion on proposed regional transportation projects. The Authority was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 2002 to provide a common voice for all Northern Virginia stakeholders on transportation and related issues. The Authority is made up of representatives from the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park, and one representative for the towns of Herndon, Leesburg, Purcellville, Dumfries and Vienna. The group also includes several members of the Virginia Assembly, governor appointees and non-voting representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

Monday, June 24

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Housing’s Roaring Rebound?

Pent-up demand creates seller’s market for Northern Virginia real estate.

In February, Patricia Stack, a broker with Weichert Realtors, held an open house for a single-family home for sale in Vienna just listed for $739,000. Within three hours, more than 70 people toured the home.

Thursday, June 20

Classified Advertising June 19, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Celebrating 180th Anniversary of Gum Springs’ Founding

At the annual Gum Springs Community Day, a resolution passed by the Board of Supervisors at the request of Supervisor Gerald Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) and a House Joint Resolution passed by the House of Delegates and the Senate, introduced at the request of state Del. Scott Surovell, were read at the community day celebration in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Park on Saturday, June 15.

Calendar-Alexandria and Mount Vernon

Ongoing Summer Classes. Art at the Center, 2804 Sherwood Hall Lane. Children ages 6-10 can participate. Register at or 703-201-1250. Student Design Competition. Come see Woodlawn transformed from a historic house museum into a comfortable and stylish home for 21st century living. Through Sunday, June 16. $20. Call 703-780-4000.

Bryant Fulfills Its Alternative Role

Graduation on Tuesday evening, June 13, was attended by parents and friends of the graduates, teachers and administrators. However, it was also attended by state and local government officials, business representatives, former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Domenech, and the new Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza.

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‘Man of La Mancha’ Opens Friday

The Aldersgate Church Community Theatre presents “Man of La Mancha,” opening Friday.

Scout Project Enhances UCM Building

Scout Project

Life Scout Matthew Hargrove conducted a work day on Saturday, June 1, to complete his Eagle Scout Service Project at the main office location of United Community Ministries at 7511 Fordson Road in Alexandria.

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Letter: Train To Help In Emergencies

To the Editor: The National Capital Region’s 3rd annual Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Convention, hosted by the Fairfax County CERT Team, will take place June 28-29 at the Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus.

MVYAA All Stars: 18U Softball Champions

The Mount Vernon Youth Athletic Association’s 18U All Star team won the 2013 Northern Virginia House 18U All Star Tournament Championship that was held June 15 and 16, at Wakefield Park. The Mount Vernon All Star team, sponsored by MVYAA, was composed of girls ages 11-15. The team won all of its games in the 2013 All Star Tournament including the championship game, beating the Southwestern Youth Association All Stars 4-3.

Editorial: Talking, Acting To Keep Them Safe

Reducing drug- and alcohol-related fatalities.

The pages and covers of most of this week’s Connection Newspapers including the Gazette show the joy and accomplishment associated with high school graduation. The day celebrates graduates who accomplished much just by finishing, graduates headed to college and more.

Editorial: Discussion Necessary to Ensure Safety

Reducing drug-and-alcohol-related fatalities.

The pages and covers of most of this week’s Connection Newspapers including the Gazette Packet show the joy and accomplishment associated with high school graduation. The day celebrates graduates who accomplished much just by finishing, graduates headed to college and more.

Letter: Importance Of the Truth

To the Editor:

I read with interest Caroline Hemenway's opinion letter on June 6, "Respecting Parents' Roles," which raised concerns with current disciplinary policies in Fairfax County public schools. Ms. Hemenway describes a scenario where principals routinely pull students into administrator offices and interrogate them for hours for alleged offenses.

Letter: Ballot Access Secured

To the Editor:

It’s been quite a week, working to secure ballot access in House District 44. I am happy to pass along the report, received earlier today (Friday, June 14), that I have successfully qualified for the November ballot. This means, House District 44 will indeed have a good, godly, moral choice on Election Day 2013.

Poetry: 'I know'

I know what it feels like to move again and again, I know what it’s like to see the brown cardboard boxes never end. I know what it’s like to have to adapt to a new environment, and I know what it’s like to see loved ones dream of retirement. I know what it’s like to have to make new friends, just so you can leave them before the year even ends.

Mount Vernon Bulletin

Friday/June 21 Golf Tournament. 2 p.m. at Ft. Belvoir Golf Course. Register for the Fairfax County NAACP Inaugural Golf Tournament. $100/golfer. Rental clubs available. Includes dinner. Visit for more.

Mount Vernon Sports Briefs

Rising U-16 Girls Teams Seek Players

The Lee Mount Vernon Sports Club Patriots seek players at all positions for two rising U-16 Girls teams. They play a possession style game.

Wednesday, June 19

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Express Lanes Construction Could Impact Travel on I-95

As the construction on the 95 Express Lanes project increases over the summer, motorists traveling to Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks in North Carolina as well as other points south should be aware that the HOV lanes will be closed overnight on weekdays and occasional weekends throughout the summer, and there will be intermittent lane closures overnight for steel erection and other work, making travel on the general purpose lanes challenging. In addition to the 95 Express Lanes project, there is also a shoulder improvement project underway on I-95 in Prince William County and a BRAC-related ramp work from the HOV lanes to the Fort Belvoir North Area that may impact travel.

South County Middle Celebrates First Anniversary

The new school praised as “cornerstone of the community.”

After just one year, the South County Middle School Mustangs are already charging ahead toward a bright future: On Sept. 4, 2012, the school opened, boasting long, shiny hallways and advanced technological equipment. It recently commemorated its one-year anniversary with a ceremony involving the staff, members of the student body, members of the superintendent’s office, and members of the Board of Supervisors. Staff members donned matching polos with the school’s logo on it, and speakers wore shirts that had the school’s name and “The Only Solution” printed on the back.

Summer Camps from Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is offering a variety of camps this summer for tots to teens — and some for parents and grandparents to participate — at all skill levels and at locations across the county. Details about all Montgomery Parks camps are available online at where visitors can search offerings by age, location, camp type and weeks.

Thursday, June 13

Classified Advertising June 12, 2013

Read the lastest ads here!

Column: Full Circle

I hope it’s not a wrap though. I’d like to continue rolling along just like I rolled into college in late August, 1972, matriculating to the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. Oddly/coincidentally enough, there have been and continue to be some recent occurrences in my life that hearken back to yesteryear, the olden days of the early 1970s, when I freshmen-oriented myself to a major university for the first time.

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Designing a Colorful World

Local interior design experts offer suggestions for choosing paint colors for one’s home.

Choosing paint for one’s home can be a daunting task. Colors often look different on paint chips and fan decks than they do on interior walls. What are some of the secrets to making the right choices? Local interior designers offer suggestions.

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Mount Vernon Boys' Soccer Wins State Championship

Majors beat Cosby in penalty-kick shootout in state final.

Mount Vernon boys' soccer wins 11 of final 12 games.

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Rock the Pink at Occoquan

The two day event featured over one hundred teams, with hundreds of players participating in the fundraiser. The goal was to raise $50,000 for breast cancer research.

Mount Vernon Military Notes

Marine Corps Pfc. Kaleb M. Madison, son of Kathleen McQueen of Lawton, Okla., and Joseph Madison, of Alexandria, recently completed 12 weeks of basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, designed to challenge new Marine recruits both physically and mentally.

Alexandria Business Notes

John McManus, senior vice president, Community Banking for Virginia Commerce Bank, was named Committee Chairman of the Year for 2012 from the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.

Alexandria Calendar of Events

Ongoing Summer Classes. Art at the Center, 2804 Sherwood Hall Lane. Children ages 6-10 can participate. Register at or 703-201-1250. Theater Performance. MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal St., presents “Ghost-Writer.” Performances are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. through Sunday, June 16. Tickets are $45-$55; $25/student. Visit or 703-548-9044 for tickets.

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Authority Renames Park’s Visitors Center for Hoffman

In recogniton of Norma Hoffman’s commitment to environmental protection.

The Fairfax County Park Authority has decided to name the Huntley Meadows Park Visitor’s Center after Norma Hoffman fro her long-time commitment to the park.

Todds Named Lord, Lady

Becky Todd, late husband Jeff honored by county.

Becky and Jeff Todd have been active in the Mount Vernon community for more than 30 years. Through their work with Todd Restaurants, the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce and many other groups, the couple has made a major impact on the community.

WPHS Wins Two Cappies Awards

Acting garners recogntion

Area schools brought home a variety of awards from the 14th annual Cappies Gala, Sunday night, June 9, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. West Potomac high School won two Cappies

Celebrating Progress

A 200-person event, organized by the community organzation VOICE, brought together Route 1/Mount Vernon/Lee area youth, parents, and faith leaders to celebrate progress to improve youth recreation facilities and programming in the area on Monday evening, June 10, at West Potomac High School.

Mount Vernon Bulletin

Saturday/June 15 Workshop: DIY Plant Markers. 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road. Look at creative ideas for plant labels from frugal to decorative and then use your creativity to make some to take home. $35/person. Register at or call 703-642-5173.

Letter: Ensure Funds For Education

Letter to the Editor:

Congress is currently debating our country’s budget right now, but education does not seem to be a top priority.

Letter: Police Lack Oversight

To the Editor:

I am writing once again to express my dismay that Fairfax County still does not have an independent Police Oversight Review Board despite numerous past recommendations for the creation of such an organization.

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Considering the Alternatives Along the Richmond Highway Corridor

Long-awaited transit study to determine the future of land-use along Route 1.

After years of waiting, the Richmond Highway corridor may finally be receiving the attention of state leaders.

Wednesday, June 12

On the Campaign Trail

Turnout for Tuesday's primary was abysmally low, with only 140,000 participating in the voting.

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Establishment Wins Democratic Primary

State senators beat out first-time candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Two first-time candidates had a hard time beating back the establishment this week, as two state senators won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor and attorney general Tuesday night.

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Fairfax Celebrated

The Celebrate Fairfax Festival on June 8 gave a wide variety of fun exhibits and activities for everyone, human and non-human alike.

Crafting a Wheel-chair Friendly Master Bath

Acessibility designer inspired by personal experiences.

“We are seeing more seniors choosing to stay in their homes than ever before,” says aging-in-place specialist Russ Glickman.

Senior Center Enriches Mount Vernon Life

Fairfax County is rich with senior living centers, according to Julie Ellis, Director of the Mount Vernon Center. The Mount Vernon Center, Hollin Hall Senior Center for Creative Retirement, just celebrated its 30th anniversary in January.

Sunday, June 9

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Mount Vernon Boys' Soccer Advances to State Championship Game

Majors beat Midlothian in AAA state semifinals.

Cedric Ekoue and Rahim Costa-Dorsey each scored a goal in during Mount Vernon's state semifinal win over Midlothian.

Thursday, June 6

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Gunston Hall Celebrates 51 New Citizens

“Hoan nghênh, Ahlan'wa sahla, Bienvenido …and welcome” said First Regent of Gunston Hall Wylie Raab in her closing remarks on May 25 at Gunston Hall.

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Events Calendar

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Events Calendar

Bulletin Board

Thursday/June 6 Do More in 24. 4-6 p.m. at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 8531 Riverside Road. Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services is hosting a free event to raise awareness and funds for homeless families. Will include chalk drawing, door prizes, music and more. Donations of books encouraged. 703-768-9404.

Military Notes

Navy Ensign Megan E. McGarry, daughter of retired Air Force Col. Brian J. and Elizabeth N. McGarry of Alexandria, was recently commissioned upon graduation from Reserve Officer Training Corps Program with Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit, University of Notre Dame. She is a 2011 graduate of Notre Dame with a BBA degree.

School Notes

Army Cadet John T. Rice has received the George C. Marshall Award from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. The Vanderbilt University student is the son of Julia Rice of Alexandria, and William Thomas Rice of Annapolis. He graduated in 2009 from West Potomac High School.

And the Winners Are …

Cappies Gala on Sunday, June 9, at Kennedy Center.

The 14th Annual Cappies Gala will take place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, in the 2,400-seat Concert Hall at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

SFDC Names New Marketing Manager

Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation has named Lindsey A. Doane as its new marketing and communications manager.

Cappie Review: The Wiz’ at MVHS

Take a look through your emerald colored glasses and see a parade of mischievous munchkins, some soulful singing, and a truly heart-filled production of “The Wiz” by Mount Vernon High School.

Cappies Review:‘Young Frankenstein the Musical’ at WPHS

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, go to West Potomac High School’s production of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein the Musical.”

Business Notes

The American Horticultural Society has received a 2013 Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs Inc. American Horticultural Society Executive Director Tom Underwood accepted the award at the National Garden Clubs’ annual convention.

Commentary: Welcoming New Citizens

Saturday, May 25, was a beautiful, albeit windy day on Mason Neck, and I had the honor of participating in a very moving ceremony conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and hosted by Gunston Hall, home of George Mason.

Opinion: Reflecting on Recent Legislation

Surovell cites roads money and Medicaid expansion.

Reflecting back on this past General Assembly’s actions Del. Scott Surovell (D-44) believes the most important legislative accomplishments in the last session of the General Assembly were: * Passing a transportation money bill.

Yard Sale Season

Dozens of families participated in a multi-family yard sale on Saturday, May 4, in Mount Vernon. From Waynewood to Collingwood Road, signs blossomed on light poles directing shoppers to the next sale.

Letters: Act of Goodwill

When I was driving to work this morning (Thursday, May 30) around 8:15 a.m., three young adults had stopped traffic in both directions on the George Washington Parkway just north of the Shell Station and south of Old Town. Sitting in this back-up

Letter:Candidacy Offered

Del. Scott Surovell (D-44) is expected to be re-elected in November, and rumor has it, the Republicans do not intend to oppose.

Letter: Who Speaks For Majority?

To the Editor: Mary Jo Detweiler's letter [“Nothing Secret about Friends Group”] in last week's Gazette characterized my letters as "rants." Since my letters typically provide documented facts, they are hardly "rants."

Encouraging Volunteers

The Mount Vernon Democrats held an event on May 15 at Pane e Vino Ristorante in Lorton to get their volunteers focused on this year's elections

Tour on Phone

Hollin Meadows Elementary School was recently awarded the Judges Award for creating an application for smart phones of a tour of the school garden

At Ribbon-Cutting

Military Child Education Coalition board member Patricia Shinseki distributes MCEC coins to Mount Vernon High School students.

A Thousand Dresses

Princess for a Night got underway at West Potomac High School last month with gifts and donations of at least a thousand gowns, dresses, shoes, clutch bags and cosmetics for the prom season.

Wednesday, June 5

Focused on Veterans

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-8-ILL), with American Legion Post 24 Commander Bill Aramony, hosted a discussion with nearly 80 veterans, business leaders and support organizations last month at the Post on Kaine's first bill, the Troop Talent Act, and the next steps for the bipartisan legislation.

Cox Narrows Digital Divide

New program offers low cost internet service to disadvantaged families.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by about 100 people on Monday, June 3, at the Murraygate Village Community Center located near the Hybla Valley Shopping Center off of Richmond Highway, Cox Cable executives from Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, and their national offices, announced the launch of Connect2Compete Virginia, a national non-profit program to provide broadband internet access in their homes to families with children (K-12) who participate in the national free school lunch program by offering discounted high speed internet service.

Extolling Strength of Character

Middle school students at Saint Rita School learned firsthand on May 30, how belief in God and strength of character can carry one through the most difficult situations.

RTA Receives $1 Million Grant

Rebuilding Together Alexandria, a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that preserves affordable housing and revitalizes communities, received $1 million from the City of Alexandria’s Office of Housing.

RTA and AARP Join in Pilot Program

Rebuilding Together Alexandria is joining forces with AARP on a new pilot to help more homeowners age-in-place.

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Signature revives classic Sondheim

For Bobby, the word marriage is actually a sentence — a jail sentence. A perpetual bachelor, he is turning 35 and surrounded by five married couples who all have an opinion about his lifestyle in the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company,” now playing at Signature Theatre.

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‘Age in Place’ to Satisfy Evolving Needs

A common “aging in place” transition involves adding an accessible master suite to the first floor.

Many couples are seizing the opportunity to transform their beloved home into a space that fits their specific short- and long-term needs.

Tuesday, June 4

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And the Winners Are …

Cappies Gala on Sunday, June 9, at Kennedy Center.

The 14th Annual Cappies Gala will take place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, in the 2,400-seat Concert Hall at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Commentary: Respecting Parents’ Roles

Parental notice is key to school discipline reform.

Most Fairfax County parents assume that they will be called before their child is questioned for something that could ruin their academic career, just as they are when their kid is sick or injured. That is not the case.

Monday, June 3

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Brief: Reston Hospital Center Awards County Students Scholarships

Reston Hospital Center awarded scholarships to 11 Fairfax County High School seniors in recognition of their academic excellence and excitement for pursuing a career in healthcare.