Stories for March 2013

Stories for March 2013


Saturday, March 30

Classified Advertising March 27, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Friday, March 29

Operation Patriotic STEM at Ft. Belvoir ES

Marymount University makes science fun.

As stomp rockets flew through the air, balloons expanded, and electricity set hair standing on end, children at Ft. Belvoir Elementary School didn’t know which hands-on science activity to try first. They were participating in Operation Patriotic STEM, an evening of science activities organized by Marymount University.

Bulletin Board

Email announcements to Deadline is Thursday at noon. Saturday/March 30 Collection. 1-5 p.m. at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 8531 Riverside Road. Donate new or lightly used baseball and softball equipment on behalf of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. Collected items will be given to disadvantaged players in the Baltimore area.

Hybla Valley Elementary Celebrates Vernal Equinox

On the first day of spring, the Hybla Valley Elementary School community celebrated with an international festival at the school. All seven continents were feted. A Mariachi band, an Irish dance group along with student and family cultural performances drew crowds into the gym, the World Stage.

Thursday, March 28

Editorial: More Obstacles to Transparency

General Assembly puts more information out of public reach, but other factors also limit access.

The first paragraph of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, passed by the General Assembly in 1968, states that all public records "shall be presumed open." It doesn’t add, “except when we don’t want to,” although that provision does seem to be available in many cases. Individual government entities have a variety of ways of making it hard for the public to access public information.

Column: 14.8 Percent

That is the percentage of diagnosed lung cancer patients who survive beyond five years, according to The National Cancer Institute’s SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2009, in a graph published in the Feb. 26, 2013 Washington Post’s weekly Health & Science section. As a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survivor beginning his fifth year post-diagnosis, charting my prospects in such a cold and impersonal manner is both chilling and arguable. “Chilling” in that facts speak for themselves and are hardly made up of whole cloth, to invoke one of the late Jack Kent Cooke’s more famous quotes. And “arguable” in that charts, statistics, etc., may very well measure the mean, but it sure doesn’t measure the man (this man, anyway). Meaning, from my perspective: sure, the chart is scary as hell, but I’m not sure I’m on it, if you know what I mean? (I know you know what I hope.)

Tease photo

Better Training, More Technology

The bipartisan commission released findings, recommendations regarding long lines on Election Day.

"The commission has identified a variety of improvements and efficiencies to ensure access and convenience for voters in future elections.” —Sharon Bulova


School Notes

Email announcements to Deadline is Thursday at noon. Photos are welcome. Mount Vernon High School sent 19 qualifying students to the Region Science Fair, held at Robinson Secondary School. The first place winners will head to the state competition.

Tease photo

What to Call the Corridor: Is it Route 1 or Richmond Highway?

Politics of language reveals deep divisions about a shady past and an uncertain future.

William Shakespeare’s Juliet once famously asked, “What’s in a name?” Her question was based on a feud between warring families. But here in Mount Vernon, two warring factions are divided about a different name — the major highway that runs from the Beltway to the Occoquan River.

Tease photo

Governor Approves Conditional Budget for Medicaid Expansion

Vote-swapping operation traded transportation votes for Medicaid money.

Half a million uninsured Virginians may be eligible for Medicaid under an agreement now being worked out in Richmond — a deal in which Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell agreed to include Medicaid expansion as part of the budget if Senate Democrats supported a transportation package.

Wednesday, March 27

Letter to the Editor: Add, Add? Why Not Cut?

Is it Groundhog Day again?

Letter to the Editor: Aerial Spraying Jeopardizes Birds

On behalf of the more than 4,000 members of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, we are writing to express our concerns about Fairfax County plans to spray for fall cankerworms in the Mount Vernon and Lee districts of the county.

Letter to the Editor: A Code of Silence

The Virginia Freedom of Information (FOIA) is a state law that gives you ready access and the right to obtain government information and public records in Virginia.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon CrossFit Opens on Richmond Highway

Mount Vernon CrossFit @ The D.A.M. Garage head coach and director of programming, Sean Dunston, was working up a sweat coaching the participants in the Saturday morning three-part work out in January.

Tease photo

Amerau, Harris Engaged

Captain Harold F. Amerau, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.) and Colonel Carla M. Stucki-Amerau, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) of Alexandria are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Lieutenant Junior Grade Brittany Nicole Amerau, U.S. Navy, to Lieutenant Junior Grade Christopher Paul Harris, U.S. Navy, son of Timothy and Pamela Harris of Richmond.

Fairs and Festivals 2013-2014

Information on fairs and festivals taking place in 2013-2014.

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Calendar March 27

Information on events going on in the Alexandria and Mount Vernon areas.

Tease photo

Obituary: Charlotte S. Drummond

Charlotte Susan Sauer Drummond died on March 8, 2013 in The Villages, Fla. She was 68.

Mount Vernon Hosts Life after High School Expo

More than a dozen businesses, colleges, public safety, trade union and military representatives participated in “Life after High School Expo” at Mount Vernon High School on Tuesday, March 19. The representatives set up tables outside of the high school cafeteria during all the lunch periods and were available to answer questions about career opportunities, education and training.

Ceremony at Mount Vernon Estate Honors New Citizens

They came from Belarus, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Bolivia, Tunisia, Brazil and Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Cambodia, Latvia, Cameroon, China, Mexico, Columbia, Canada, South Korea, Iraq, El Salvador, Pakistan, India, Sierra Leone, Honduras, Eritrea, Peru, Ghana, the Philippines, and Ethiopia.

Monday, March 25

Letter: Letters to the Editor- All in All, A Failure

The recently passed Virginia transportation funding bill HB 2313 is not favorable to northern Virginia. It eliminates cents per gallon tax at the pump that is estimated to generate $4.5 billion during the 5 years ending 2018 and imposes new taxes that generate an estimated $5.9 billion during the same period.

Letter: About ‘Building On History’

To the Editor: Contrary to the impression made by the article [“Building on History,” The Gazette, March 14] on the house being built along Ft. Hunt Road, the bulk of the property involved is an abandoned Clarence Gosnell parcel that was deemed unbuildable during the development of Riverside Gardens by Gosnell’s company in the mid-60s. It was an outlot because the trolley right of way divided it from the rest of the neighborhood.

‘Going for the Green’

The Fort Hunt Elementary School PTA held a silent auction and evening of fun for the school community on Friday, March 15, The hallway and gym were filled with tables laden with class baskets and auction items. In the gym a deejay played music for the students and their friends and parents. Next door a magician demonstrated his skills.

Tease photo

At English Tea, Rising Hope Fetes Volunteers

“The ladies of Rising Hope really rose to the occasion.”

Just for fun, about 40 Rising Hope volunteers were treated on Friday, March 15, to a semi-formal English tea party complete with white tablecloths, china cups and saucers from England, and an array of dainties to nibble. “The ladies of Rising Hope really rose to the occasion.They all turned up in dresses and hats,” said Kay Barnes, Rising Hope’s resident Englishwoman who is director of missions.

Friday, March 22

Classified Advertising March 20, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Mount Vernon Home Sales: February, 2013

Mount Vernon Home Sales: February, 2013

Thursday, March 21

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Calendar March 21

Entertainment calendar for the Alexandria and Mount Vernon areas.

Editorial: Say Yes to Health Coverage

Governor, state panel must accept coverage for 400,000 Virginians without health insurance.

More than 140,000 residents of Fairfax County have no health insurance. That’s more than 13 percent of the slightly more than 1 million people who live in the wealthiest county in the nation. Arlington and Alexandria have similar percentages of uninsured.

Column: Just Wondering

Having never attended medical school (and not really having had the grades or commitment to do so), and having only completed 10th grade biology and freshman year astronomy, and rarely even driven by a medical school growing up, my understanding and/or instincts regarding how a medical professional plans and/or prepares for his day is as foreign to me as sugar-free chocolate (if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging; in truth however, considering the anti-cancer, alkaline diet I’m following, I do need to swing a little less frequently).

Tease photo

The Sound of Music

Enhancing your child’s music education during Music in Our Schools Month and beyond.

From the powerful sounds of a high school band to the soothing melodies sung in a kindergarten music classroom, local music educators are using the month of March to raise awareness of the benefits of learning music.

Tease photo

Will Route 1 Corridor See Improvements as a Result of Transportation Agreement?

Playing the money game on Richmond Highway.

People in Mount Vernon have been talking about widening Route 1 for decades.

Wednesday, March 20

Mount Vernon Bulletin Board March 20

Information for upcoming events in Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon School Notes March 20

School notes for Mount Vernon natives.

Tease photo

Volunteers Build Wheelchair Ramp

Firefighters partner with Rebuilding Together.

Firefighters from the Mount Vernon Fire Station #9 worked with the group Rebuilding Together on March 13, building a wheelchair ramp for a local resident on Bluebird Lane unable to leave her home.

Tease photo

Renovated Safeway Re-Opens in Belle View

Midst the celebration on March 14 of the re-opening of its remodeled store in Belle View, Safeway Inc. recognized United Community Ministries for its impact on the community with a $1,000 donation.

Tease photo

Opportunity Neighborhood: Mt. Vernon

More than 45 families attended the second organizing event for Opportunity Neighborhood: Mt. Vernon on the evening of Feb. 28 at Riverside Elementary School.

Tease photo

Troop 1906 Gains Its First Eagle Scout

Emmanuel Karem Edward Lewis, the youngest son of David W. Lewis and Merriam Uplay-Lewis, is the first Eagle Scout for Boy Scout Troop 1906, co-chartered by Bethlehem Baptist Church and in conjunction with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, XI Alpha Lambda Chapter.

Thursday, March 14

Classified Advertising March 13, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Recycle, Reuse, Remodel

Remodeling often affords an opportunity to re-purpose existing materials by donating to those less fortunate. Ask your remodeler if there is a plan or policy for saving materials for re-use rather than sending it to a land fill. Every project is different. And some materials are more easily removed and saved than others. Here are a couple of organizations that accepted used materials.

World’s Fanciest Rummage Sale Coming April 7

Rumor has it that the “world’s fanciest” rummage sale will feature some of the crystal light fixtures and other items recently replaced in the remodeling of the Ritz-Carlton Tysons.

‘How to Fall in Love’

Hopkins & Porter, Inc. will be offering "How to Fall in Love with Your Home Again,” a free design and remodeling seminar on Thursday, March 21, 6-8 p.m. This seminar will include a complimentary supper with opportunity to discuss one's own project with professional staff.

Tease photo

Virginia Garden Week to Feature NoVa Gardens

80th Historic Garden Week, April 20-27, 2013

Historic Garden Week 2013 will feature approximately 200 private homes and gardens open on 32 separate tours throughout the state of Virginia over eight consecutive days. It is the largest ongoing volunteer effort in Virginia and represents the coordinated efforts of 3,400 club members. One hundred percent of tour proceeds are used to enhance Virginia’s landscape. For 80 years, the grounds of the commonwealth’s most cherished historic landmarks have been restored or preserved with help from proceeds from Historic Garden Week including Mount Vernon, Monticello and the grounds of the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

Wednesday, March 13

Tease photo

West Potomac Girls’ Lax Falls to Yorktown in Opener

Wolverines coach Cochran has heightened expectations.

The West Potomac girls' lacrosse team reached the region quarterfinals in 2012.

Column: Writing What Four

As far as anniversaries go–and I hope this one “goes” a lot further; acknowledging, dare I say celebrating my four-year survival anniversary from “terminal” stage IV (inoperable, metastasized) non-small cell lung cancer, a diagnosis I initially received on Feb. 27, 2009, along with a “13-month to two-year prognosis” from my oncologist, is certainly column-worthy.

Editorial: Hybrid Hijinks

Discouraging innovation in high-tech Virginia.

Consider this as a possible scenario (although perhaps we should have saved this for April 1): Fewer people are smoking, and many of those who do are smoking less. Virginia’s cigarette tax, the lowest of any state at 30 cents a pack, is a declining revenue source. Higher cigarette taxes are proven to reduce smoking. Under current logic in the commonwealth, there would be two courses of action to raise revenue: a) cut the cigarette tax, and b) charge non-smokers a fee to make up the difference and to compensate for the fact that they don’t pay cigarette taxes.

Tease photo

Toruing UCM’s Cynthia Hull Food Pantry

The Fairfax County Food Providers Network met on Feb. 25 at United Community Ministries in Alexandria to tour UCM’s newly upgraded client-choice Cynthia Hull Food Pantry.

Letter to the Editor: Broken Compromise

During the final week of the General Assembly Session this year, the Virginia State Senate Democrats worked with Gov. Robert McDonnell to reach a compromise to pass a transportation plan — a plan that is funded in part by funds not yet appropriated from Congress — funds unlikely to ever materialize for Virginia.

Column: 2013 General Assembly’s Mixed Record

Now that the 2013 session of the General Assembly’s work has been completed, except for the April 3 veto session, I will continue my report on several measures.

Wymond Associates Honored

Wymond Associates, a technology consulting firm, has been chosen as one of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 100 Blue Ribbon Award winners, representing the best in American small business.

Scholarship Applications Available

Scholarship applications for the 2013 Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce Education Partnership Scholarships are now available.

Launching Breakthrough Book Club

Explore different aspects of the “Small Business Breakthrough” book at the monthly Breakthrough Book Club, the third Tuesday of every month, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., in a joint program of the Small Business Development Center and the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce.

Obituary: Ruth E. Greifer

Ruth E. Greifer died Feb. 22, 2013 at her home in Rockville, Md.

Obituary: Hazel Elizabeth Greenwald

Hazel Elizabeth Greenwald, born Aug., 5, 1912 at 417 S. Lee Street, Alexandria, died on Feb. 15, 2013, at Budd Terrace Nursing Home, Atlanta, Ga.

Obituary: Bernard M. Fagelson

Bernard M. Fagelson, 100, died on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 of Alexandria.

Obituary: Doris Clark

Doris M. Clark, 85, of Woodbridge, died at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center on March 2, 2013.

Signs of Spring at River Farm

Closed all winter, due to work on utilities, the gardens at River Farm are beginning to come alive with small spring blooms. The hellebores are now kept company by hundreds of miniature daffodil narcissus and bunches of snowdrops.

Gaining a NICHE

Designation spotlights Inova Mount Vernon Hospital’s elder care.

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital recently earned the designation of being a NICHE hospital. NICHE, which stands for Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders, is the only national designation indicating a hospital's commitment to elder care excellence. Inova Mount Vernon Hospital is one of the first hospitals to receive the NICHE designation in Fairfax County.

Raffle, Auction To Support Fort Hunt ES

Fort Hunt Elementary School's Going for the Green Silent Auction and Raffle is this Friday, March 15. Food service begins at 6 p.m.; bidding opens at 6:30 p.m.

Annual Black History Celebration

The Gum Springs Community Center presented the 2013 Annual Black History Celebration on Saturday, March 2 with the theme of “Celebrating Black History from Africa to America and the World Over (The Past, Present and Future).” Close to 300 people attended.

Pack 1509 Hosts Pinewood Derby

“Gentlemen! Start your engines!” was the cry heard on a brisk Saturday morning in February when some of Alexandria's youngest car racers gathered round the race track. The Cub Scouts of Pack 1509, along with their parents and siblings filled Fellowship Hall of Plymouth Haven Baptist Church for their annual Pinewood Derby race. With cars of all makes and models, the Scouts and their families transformed Fellowship Hall into a Daytona Racetrack North with a four-lane race track, a pit area to work on and tune up the cars, a refreshment stand and viewing space for all to watch the cars zip their way across the finish line.

Building on History

New home arises on part of Mount Vernon Trolley line.

There’s a house being built on a lot adjacent to Fort Hunt Road that has a bit of history to it. Of course, most lots in the Mount Vernon area have similar pedigrees. But this oddly-shaped parcel has an interesting story.

Friday, March 8

Classified Advertising March 6, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Thursday, March 7

Mount Vernon School Notes March 6

School notes for Mount Vernon natives.

Poem: We’ll be Dancing up in Heaven

As I hurried through the airport, with a ticket to L.A. And a tooth brush in my pocket, should my luggage go astray Glancing up, I checked “Departures,” hoping for a slight delay While a soldier in a wheelchair made his way through TSA

Tease photo

Mental Health Counseling Professors Honored

Cultural sensitivity at the heart of their work.

Fred Bemak and his wife Rita Chi-Ying Chung, who are both professors at George Mason University in Fairfax, recall being in Haiti shortly after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010. They were there to provide mental health counseling to those traumatized by the natural disaster.

Column: E-male

My oncologist is a man. He has e-mail. He works for an HMO that encourages/advertises its connectivity and responsiveness – electronically, to its members. If I want to get medical answers in a reasonable amount of time – save for an emergency, typing, “mousing” and clicking is the recommended methodology. No more phone calls, preferably. Though pressing keys on a keyboard rather than pressing buttons on a phone might have felt counter-intuitive at first as a means of receiving prompt replies, it has proven over these past few years to be a fairly reliable and predictable information loop. Not in minutes necessarily, but more often than not during the same day – and almost always by the very next day. In fact, I’ve received e-mails from my oncologist as late as 9:18 p.m. (time-stamped) after a sometime-during-the-day e-mail had been sent.

Tease photo

Chamber of Commerce Installs New Leadership

New The Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce leadership for 2013 was sworn into office at the annual “Installation Extravaganza” Wednesday, Feb. 27 at Mount Vernon Country Club...

Tease photo

Baker To Lead Bryant Early Learning Center

Torria Baker has been selected as the new director of United Community Ministries’ Bryant Early Learning Center. Baker joined the Center in May 2012 as assistant director and has been serving as acting director since October 2012.

Tease photo

MVCCT Presents Disney's 'My Son Pinocchio'

Mount Vernon Community Children's Theatre will perform Disney's "My Son Pinocchio" from March 8 through March 17 at Bryant Alternative High School on Popkins Lane in Alexandria, while Carl Sandburg Middle School undergoes renovations.

Column: State Budget Advances on Medicaid

Last week, I wrote about the transportation legislation that passed the General Assembly. The other major policy change this session was the expansion of Medicaid. This was especially critical for the 44th District.

Firefighters Check Smoke Alarms

On Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, firefighters will canvas homes in selected neighborhoods throughout Fairfax County, checking for working smoke alarms, and provide family fire escape plans for residents.

Tease photo

Putting a Face on Homelessness

462 homeless interviewed during Registry Week, an intense effort to document Fairfax County’s chronic homeless.

"We have to step up to this question. … Are we going to walk away from this tonight and say, 'That's just the way people live?’ Well, it's not the way people should live." —Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill)

Poem: blizzard (for Ted Kooser)

Dedicated to Ted Kooser, a former Poet Laureate who wrote about a famous midwestern blizzard in the late 19th century.

Obituary: Joyce Marie Scott

Mrs. Joyce Marie Scott, 80, died on Feb. 26, 2013.

Tease photo

The Snowquester Hits the Area

Snowstorm’s impact downgraded, but slushy roads still a problem.

The National Weather Service Wednesday downgraded its Snowquester forecast from 8-10 inches to about 4-6 inches in the region. At 3:18 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, the NWS predicted total snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches in Fairfax County before the storm fizzles out later that night, and north winds with gusts up to 45 mph in some areas, making driving hazardous.

Wednesday, March 6

Mount Vernon Bulletin Board March 6

Information for events taking place in the Mount Vernon area.

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Calendar March 6

Entertainment calendar for the Alexandria and Mount Vernon areas.

Students Compete in Odyssey of the Mind

Students from around the region participated in the Odyssey of the Mind NOVA Prime Division competition held at West Potomac High School on Saturday, March 2.

Panther Cheer Club Are National Champions

The Panther Cheer Club of Alexandria competed last month at the American Masters Championship in Baltimore, Md., hosted by Varsity Brands. The athletes, all of whom are middle school students at Carl Sandburg Middle School, wowed the crowd and judges, taking home a team national championship trophy, as well as championship jackets for each athlete.

MWAA Honors Carl Sandburg Middle School Artists

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority recognized the semifinalists and winners of its annual “Carl Sandburg Middle School Student Energy Conservation Poster Artwork Contest.” The gala to honor the finalists and to announce the winners was hosted by MWAA at the historic Terminal A building at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Jan. 31.