Stories for May 2013

Stories for May 2013


Thursday, May 30

Crime Brief

A 23-year-old woman reported that a man attempted to rob her and that she was sexually assaulted after getting a cup of coffee at 7704 Richmond Highway on Sunday, May 26.

Bulletin Board

Information on events going on in Mount Vernon.

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Volunteers Persevere In Tough Times

Rising Hope Homebound Ministry endures.

“With the downturn in the economy we don’t have the donations we used to have,” said Debra Bessert, the Rising Hope volunteer who directs the church’s Homebound Ministry which delivers food to shut-in seniors and convalescents.

Roads and Veterans

Puller reviews her legislative priorities.

Reflecting back on the past General Assembly session, state Sen. Linda “Toddy” Puller (D-36) said over the Memorial Day weekend that the “passage of transportation legislation was the most important funding bill in 27 years; not since former Gov. Gerald Baliles’ transportation legislation was enacted has there been a transportation bill more important. … We very much needed an infusion of cash for both maintenance and new construction and this legislative package will provide it.”

Letter to the Editor: Nothing Secret About Friends Group

I do not normally respond to Jay Spiegel’s rants, but in this case I feel I need to reply to his charge in your May 9-15 issue that the Friends of Westgrove Park is a secret organization and not credible.

Letter to the Editor: Watch Them Grow

In my letter of April 25, I reported on the video camera I installed next to the Osprey nest behind my home on Little Hunting Creek. At that time, I revealed that our Osprey mother had laid two eggs. On May 22 and 23, the eggs hatched and two Osprey chicks are rapidly growing as their father frequently brings fish to the nest.

Crime Report

Crime report for Mount Vernon.

Editorial: Don’t Be Among the Missing

Last time Virginia elected a governor, 1.7 million voters failed to vote after voting the previous year.

In 2008, 74.5 percent of Virginia’s registered voters turned out to vote in the presidential election. In 2009, the last time Virginians elected a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and members of the House of Delegates, just 40.4 percent of registered voters came out to vote.

Wednesday, May 29

Classified Advertising May 29, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

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Summer Fun in Fairfax

The Herndon Festival, Relay for Life and Springfield Days/Party in the Park are only a few of the events taking place in the summer of 2013.

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Mount Vernon Boys’ Soccer Beats TC in PK Shootout

Goalkeeper Belanger makes three saves during shootout.

The Mount Vernon boys' soccer team faces Woodson tonight in the Northern Region semifinals.

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Lessons in having faith and letting go

It’s shocking how quickly it has become normal — and even “just right” — to have 10 dogs living in my house.

Column: Airing on the Side of Caution

I don’t think I’m asking too much. I’m not asking for a pony or long life; just a typical life. Unfortunately “typical” might be more statistical than realistic – at least for someone with an incurable disease, which was how my oncologist originally described my lung cancer diagnosis.

Fun Ways To Keep Learning in Summer

As summer vacation begins in a few weeks, some parents are scrambling for activities to fill the days for their children. Often that means summer vacations and trips to the pool or the park. Education experts say even in the midst of summer fun, it is important to ensure that children don’t lose the skills they’ve learned during the academic year. However, they say relaxing and having fun are equally important, and suggest a myriad of stealthy tricks that parents can employ for laid-back learning all summer long.

Unconventional Camp Ideas

Suggestions for parents still searching for summer activities

Lauralie Kennedy has been knee-deep in frantic online searches. School ends next month and the Alexandria mother has yet to enroll her 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter in summer camp. “I just haven’t put together a plan yet,” she said. “I have a spread sheet with all of the things I’d like for them to do, but I haven’t done anything with it. I am hoping that there will be slots open somewhere.”

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100 New Citizens Sworn In

Congressman Connolly, Chairman Bulova, Delegate Keam participate in naturalization ceremony in Fairfax.

The new citizens, accompanied by many family members, filled the Government Center's auditorium for the naturalization ceremony held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Congressman Connolly, Chairman Bulova and Delegate Keam addressed the group, each describing in their words what it meant to be an American.

Brief: Amazon Web Services to Expand in Fairfax County

Company will add 500 IT-focused jobs.

Governor Bob McDonnell announced last week that Amazon Web Services, Inc., (AWS), an company, will expand in Fairfax County and add 500 new jobs to the county economy.

Brief:Amazon Web Services to Expand in Fairfax County

Company will add 500 IT-focused jobs.

Governor Bob McDonnell announced last week that Amazon Web Services, Inc., (AWS), an company, will expand in Fairfax County and add 500 new jobs to the county economy.

Thursday, May 23

Bulletin Board

Information on events going on in Mount Vernon.

Military Notes

News and notes on Mount Vernon natives in the military.

Bridging Students’ Digital Divide

WPHS hosts community outreach event.

This past Monday evening, May 19, Fairfax County Public Schools conducted the first of 10 community outreach sessions countywide intended to engage interested parents, community leaders and others in helping the school system to develop a vision and plan for the future of digital learning in the Fairfax county public school system.

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Ruth Harvey Retires

Hollin Hall gas station owner and co-founder.

Fifty-two years ago Leon and Ruth Harvey opened the Hollin Hall Gas Station for business. Now, after more than a half century “Ruth” or “Mrs. Harvey” as many know her, has retired and moved out of the only home in which she ever lived in the Fort Hunt community and into the Paul Spring Retirement Center just a few minutes from the station at the corner of Fort Hunt and Shenandoah Road.

Working To Help Ex-Offenders

Probation office reintegrates ex-offenders into the community.

On average, 2,100 adult offenders are on supervised probation in Fairfax County at any given time. The office that manages these offenders is headed up by Tracy Lavely, a veteran of the Department of Corrections who has worked in the field of adult probation and parole since 1989.

Editorial: Remembering on Memorial Day

The sacrifices of those who died in war.

1st Lt. Robert J. Hess, 26, of the Kings Park West neighborhood of Fairfax, was killed by enemy fire on April 23, 2013 in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan. Hess was known as “RJ” and graduated from Robinson Secondary School in 2005, where he played football, lacrosse and was the captain of the swim team. He was a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot who deployed to Afghanistan on April 11, 2013. His family remembers his sense of humor and his natural leadership ability.

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Tea Party Ticket

Republican convention selects conservative slate of candidates for November.

Perhaps the biggest sign that the Tea Party has taken control of the Republican Party of Virginia was the yellow Gadsden flag emblem that appeared on placards distributed by supporters of Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, who was one of seven candidates vying to be the nominee for lieutenant governor last weekend at a raucous convention in Richmond. Davis, who represented Fairfax County for a decade in the General Assembly, has a reputation as being a moderate.

Wednesday, May 22

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Sara's Head Shaving Birthday Party

Sara Raffel's little brother Ryan lost his battle with AML, a form of leukemia, on Aug. 11, 2012 — less than a year after diagnosis and just two days before his 6th birthday.

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Power of Pink

The Power of Pink members celebrated their 2nd annual Debutante Cotillion Ball on Saturday evening, May 11, at West Potomac High School. Four students — Kaya Hampton, Genesis Taylor, Shaliyah Hollins and Kisanet Asfaha — were honored at the ball. The Power of Pink is a mentoring program for high school students. The members participate in workshops, cultural and community service projects. The program also includes fundraising activities to help support college scholarships. This year’s sponsors included the Apple Store at Pentagon City and Mary Kay Cosmetics.

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Resurgent Majors Advance to Regional Quarterfinals

Mount Vernon repeats as National District champion.

The Mount Vernon boys' soccer team will host T.C. Williams in the regional quarterfinals.

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Ongoing Summer Classes. Art at the Center, 2804 Sherwood Hall Lane. Children ages 6-10 can participate. Register at or 703-201-1250. Art Exhibit. Through Sunday, May 26, Thursday, Friday and Sunday noon-4 p.m.; Saturday 1-4 p.m. at The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St. See works by Mary Margaret Pipkin. Free. Visit

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2nd Annual RC Mania at WPHS

Flying conditions were near perfect on Sunday, May 19, as RC Mania got underway in the back fields at West Potomac High School. Hosted by the West Potomac High School Engineering Club, the Technology Student Association and Technology and Engineering Department, the event drew upon dozens of model airplane, cars and trucks and boat enthusiasts.

Friday, May 17

Classified Advertising May 22, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Mount Vernon Home Sales: April, 2013

In April 2013, 139 homes sold between $2,856,400-$81,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: April, 2013

Thursday, May 16

Mount Vernon Softball Eyes District Championship

Majors beat Falls Church to earn regional berth.

The Mount Vernon softball team will host Washington-Lee in the National District semifinals.

Editorial: Vote in Spite of Election Fatigue

Primary voting, absentee voting, Republican convention.

Absentee voting, including “in-person” absentee voting, is already underway for the June 11 primary, a statewide Democratic party primary for lieutenant governor and attorney general, plus one delegate race in Northern Virginia. Voters in the Democratic primary will choose between Ralph S. Northam and Aneesh Chopra for lieutenant governor; and between Mark R. Herring and Justin E. Fairfax for attorney general.

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Celebrating ‘Everyday’ Heroes

Molina Healthcare honors local residents for making a difference in the community.

In the 1980s, Vienna resident John Horejsi and a “ragtag” group of social justice pioneers learned that Virginia was charging sales tax on food stamps. They discovered the sales tax boosted the state’s coffers by $9.5 million every year, money that they believed belonged to poor families for food or other necessary items.

Classified Advertising May 15, 2013

Read the lastest ads here!

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Mount Vernon Estate Wins $100,000

George Washington's home snags second place in Partners in Preservation contest.

After all the votes were counted, George Washington did not win — at least not this time.

Wednesday, May 15

Letter to the Editor: True Danger Is Speed

I sympathize with Rocky and Julie Curtis’s account of their “frightful” experience rounding the southbound curve in Ft. Hunt Road just past the Martha Washington Library, but doubt that prohibiting turns into the newly-opened Westgrove Park (a local park meant to serve the residents within 1-2 miles) will solve the real problems confronting travelers along Ft. Hunt Road.

Letter to the Editor: Add Tax, Lower Other

Last week's Gazette reported on Supervisor Hyland's latest attempt to convince his Board of Supervisors’ colleagues to support his quest for a meals tax referendum.

Open to All

Storck hears concerns from parents and teachers.

In a wide-ranging weekend monthly office hours session in a Sherwood Hall Library conference room, Dan Storck, Mount Vernon School Board member, listened to a variety of concerns of parents and school employees.

Letter to the Editor: Lions Appreciate Community’s Support

The Mount Vernon Evening Lions thank the Belleview Safeway customers for their generous donations to our White Cane Drive held in April.

Open Up Police Chief Search

Coalition wants citizens to help in chief’s recruitment.

During the final meeting of the Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability before summer recess, Executive Director Nicholas Beltrante discussed a letter he sent to Sharon Bulova, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors, asking that the new police chief be someone who supports the creation of a citizen police oversight board, and is flexible in the use of the Freedom of Information Act instead of invoking an automatic blanket exemption available to police on all investigations.

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Comfort of Home Campaign’

Keller Williams Realty, Alexandria - Kingstowne and more than 80,000 Keller Williams associates worldwide participated in the fifth annual RED Day on May 9.

Bulletin Board

Saturday/May 18 EMS Week Event. 10 a.m.-2 pm. at Mount Vernon Rec Center, 2017 Belle View Blvd. Browse displays, get one-on-one interactions, take a blood pressure screening, and more. Free. 703-768-3224.

School Notes

The Washington DC Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters recognized four West Potomac High School juniors for their accomplishments in the fine arts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Eliza Lore received an Award for Excellence in the Arts for Drama. Eduardo Perez-Reyes, drama; Patrick Rhoads, music; and Emma Schmidt, art, each received Certificates of Merit. 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.

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Calendar May 15

Information on entertainment events going on in Alexandria and Mount Vernon.

Friday, May 10

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Alexandria & Mount Vernon Real Estate: Top Sales in March 2013

In March 2013, 189 Alexandria homes sold between $3,200,000-$111,000 and 108 homes sold between $1,325,000-$56,820 in the Mount Vernon area.

Alexandria & Mount Vernon Top Sales in March 2013

Thursday, May 9

Editorial: Some Limits, More Disclosure

Virginia does not benefit from elected officials being awash in cash donations and gifts.

Virginia got a failing grade for vulnerability to corruption. Corruption in the commonwealth is probably not any more rampant than voter fraud, as we said last year. But in terms of practices that could undermine trust, Virginia has vast room for improvement.

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Personality Conflict on the Richmond Highway Corridor

Do residents want to be suburban, exurban or urban?

This summer, residents in Mount Vernon will welcome a new Costco to the Richmond Highway corridor — a big-box retailer with a huge parking lot that will exemplify the kind of suburban and exurban development that has dominated far-flung reaches of the metropolitan region.

Wednesday, May 8

Classified Advertising May 8, 2013

Read the lastest ads here!

Absentee Voting Starts Now for Democratic Primaries

Primaries held for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

The State Board of Elections reported Monday, May 6, that absentee voting began for the June 11, 2013 primary and all localities met the required 45-day deadline for mailing absentee ballots to voters.

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Helping Those Who ‘Can’t Catch a Break’

Community support for Northern Virginia Family Services grows during tough economic times.

“Most of us here lead privileged lives. You can and should make a difference in Northern Virginia.” —Earle Williams

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Women Mean Business

In the two months since the much-hyped and dreaded sequester took effect, the daily economic forecast has been almost as painful as the slow grinding of bureaucratic wheels. But here’s some good economic news, especially for aspiring female entrepreneurs: the numbers are in your favor.

Tuesday, May 7

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Governor McDonnell Endorses Springfield Site for FBI Headquarters

In letter to FBI director, McDonnell says Fairfax County site will advance “national security mission.”

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has publicly endorsed the Springfield warehouse site for the new FBI building headquarters. In an April 30 letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller and Dan Tangherlini, the acting administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, McDonnell said the federally owned warehouse is the best choice for a number of reasons.

Friday, May 3

Classified Advertising May 1, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Thursday, May 2

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Should Some Businesses Be Taxed at a Higher Rates Than Others?

Lee District Supervisor clashes with his own advisory group over BPOL taxes.

Why should consultants be taxed at a higher rate than contractors? Is it fair to hit up businesses that do research and development for twice as much as retail merchants?

Wednesday, May 1

Memorial Service for Caldwell

A memorial service for Dr. Teressa Caldwell, a teacher, administrator, and mentor who died late last year was held at West Potomac High School on April 10. A former principal of West Potomac, Caldwell’s career as an educator spanned several decades. She also served as principal at McLean High School. She later taught school law for the University of Virginia to prospective administrators and led a master’s cohort for Virginia Tech.

Crime Report

The following incidents was reported by the Mount Vernon District Station.

Neil David Kelly

Neil Kelly, 31, a lifelong resident of the Fort Hunt area of Alexandria, died on April 22, 2013 at Mount Vernon Hospital.

Letters to the Editor

6,750 Bags Of Thanks

The 2013 Combined Parent Council (CPC), many parents, Mount Vernon High School faculty members, and MVHS student volunteers sold over 6,750 bags of mulch on Saturday April 20, raising over $15,000 towards the 2013 MVHS All Night Graduation Party.

Student Designers’ Works on Display at Woodlawn

In the home designed by the architect of the U.S. Capitol building, William Thornton, Woodlawn is the site of The All American House, a collaboration between MADE: in America and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Plymouth Haven Baptist’s Colonial Fair

The line extended into the parking lot as children and their parents waited for a turn to ride a pony at the Plymouth Haven Baptist Church Colonial Fair on Saturday, April 27. Matthew Baldwin, the Yo Yoda gave instruction to a group of children on yo-yo techniques as Don Francisco organized a marching band to participate in the colonial parade.

Plymouth Haven Baptist’s Colonial Fair

The line extended into the parking lot as children and their parents waited for a turn to ride a pony at the Plymouth Haven Baptist Church Colonial Fair on Saturday, April 27. Matthew Baldwin, the Yo Yoda gave instruction to a group of children on yo-yo techniques as Don Francisco organized a marching band to participate in the colonial parade.

Bulletin Board

Through Friday/May 3 Princess for a Night Collection. Donate formal dresses, shoes, handbags, jewelry, unused make-up (for example, sample cosmetics) and “nice” shopping bags. Drop items off at T.C. Williams main office, 3330 King St. between 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The project especially needs dresses for full-figured young ladies (sizes 18+). Please do not donate velvet or wintry dresses, soiled items, outdated items, casual dresses or items for mature women, as they cannot be used. E-mail for questions or to volunteer.

$2.5 Million To Help Dyke Marsh

Airports Authority offers funds to National Park Service.

Federal Aviation Administration safety standards require the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to extend the runway at National Airport. However, the effect will adversely impact the Potomac River watershed, so the MWAA is offering $2.5 million to the U.S. National Park Service to improve the Potomac river watershed in the Dyke Marsh area south of the airport. The timing, if the NPS accepts the proposal, will enable the park service to complete phase one of the Dyke Marsh restoration plan: to restore a breakwater in the southern end of the marsh.

Barking Up The Right Tree

Community supports dogs’ continued use of Westgrove Park.

Approximately 100 citizens attended the Park Authority’s public hearing Tuesday night, April 30, to discuss the proposed master plan for the Westgrove Park, off of Fort Hunt Road and adjacent to Belle View Elementary School.

Working Together in Richmond Highway Clean-up

Volunteers met on a cold Saturday morning on April 20 at the Candlewood Suites on Richmond Highway to begin the annual “Spring Clean” of Richmond Highway that collected more than 70 bags of trash.

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Calendar May 1

Entertainment events in Alexandria and Mount Vernon.