Stories for October 2013

Stories for October 2013


Thursday, October 31

Letter: Strongly Opposed to Cutting Food Aid

Last week, Elizabeth Berry wrote a letter expressing concern over a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would cut food aid for nearly 3.8 million people, and asked that I oppose this legislation. I strongly oppose it. The cuts recommended by the House would eliminate free school meals for 280,000 children and aggravate an already difficult situation for many families in Virginia struggling to put food on the table. We must protect nutrition assistance programs because it’s our responsibility to ensure the neediest among us have access to food when times are hardest.

Editorial: Vote Nov. 5 or Before

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

For voters in Virginia, it is hard to overstate how important it is to go out and vote next week. All Virginia voters will see statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, plus one delegate race. In addition, there are a few local races in Alexandria and Arlington, a bond question in Fairfax County and a referendum question about the housing authority in Arlington.

Column: Excuse Me, Pardon Me, Excuse Me…

If it wasn’t a coincidence, it was the next thing to being one. What it was, was the hiccups; occurring after chemotherapy infusion number one and again after chemotherapy number two. The first episode lasted only a few days and annoyed my wife, Dina, way more than it annoyed me. The first hiccuping episode was fairly constant; however it was not exhausting – and I wasn’t having any trouble sleeping because of them. Nor was I making any disturbing sounds or having any difficulty breathing – when caught in mid-hiccup, and/or eating because of the herky-jerky movements/spasms of my diaphragm. In general, it was a fairly benign effect. In the big picture, it didn’t seem particularly important that it was the hiccups I was having, so I never called my oncologist. It was the hiccups after all. It might as well have been a skinned knee. Jeez. And sure enough, within a couple of days, I was “hiccuped out.”

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Sheriff’s Race Heats Up

Kincaid, Wolfe trade barbs over guns, vandalism.

Like many of her neighbors, Vienna resident Jane Li said she didn’t know Fairfax County had a sheriff’s department until a few weeks ago.

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Democrats Lead in Polls as Voters Head to the Polls for Election Day

Hotly contested race for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Democrats have the wind at their backs heading into Election Day next week, as Republican gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli struggles to overcome a deficit in the polls.

Wednesday, October 30

Hollywood comes to Alexandria

Bringing a little taste of Hollywood to Old Town, the seventh annual Alexandria Film Festival kicks off Nov. 7.

It might be Patti North's favorite time of year, but it's certainly one of the most stressful. As chair of the Alexandria Film Festival, North has spent moths preparing for this year's event, pulling together movies ranging from a few minutes to an hour or more in length from around the world and helping to line up Q&A sessions with as many filmmakers as possible during the festivals' four-day run.

Letter: Governance Takes Work

In the Gazette’s Oct. 24 issue, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly stated some meaningful truths. Congressman Connolly described the recent scene on Capitol Hill as “shameful and dangerous, but sadly, not unprecedented.”

Commentary: Dollars and Sense—Stewardship of FCPS

As many have become aware, the Fairfax County School Board’s budget discussions for the 2015 fiscal year have begun early. It is unfortunate that it has taken a combination of a $140 million deficit and demonstrable efforts by FCPS’ new Superintendent Karen Garza to bring full attention of the stakeholders, including the School Board, to education policy and funding.

Thursday, October 24

Classified Advertising October 23, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Editorial: Halloween Party Safety Net

Make plans for a safe celebration; SoberRide safety net for those over 21.

Halloween is now a major holiday for adults, especially young adults, and also one of the major holidays each year that involve partying with alcohol and the risks of drinking and driving.

Wednesday, October 23

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Sheltering Animals & Families Together

Initiative promotes domestic violence shelters that accept pets.

Did you know that approximately 2.3 million people, primarily women, are victims of partner violence? Did you know that over 62 percent of the American households have, at least, one pet? Approximately 48 percent of abused women do not leave an abusive situation because they will not leave their pets behind. Pets are likely to be victimized by the household abuser. The abuser’s animal cruelty is used to force compliance from the victims. “What I do to the dog is what I can do to you” is the message the abuser sends, according to Allie Phillips, founder of Sheltering Animals & Families Together [SAF-T]. “As a prosecutor in Michigan, I saw women who stayed with their abusers to protect their pets,” said Phillips. “If they leave, the abuser will turn his anger on the pet. The pet usually is the primary target used to control the victim. “I created the safety program to help get these women out of their abusive homes.”

Tuesday, October 22

Creating a Spooky Halloween Dinner

Local culinary experts offer ideas for turning an ordinary meal into a ghoulish adventure.

Halloween dinner in Christine Wisnewski’s Vienna home is often a balancing act between healthy and sugary. On the sweetest holiday of the year, for example, the mother and culinary instructor at Culinaria Cooking School, also in Vienna, prepares a wholesome dinner for her eager trick-or-treaters, managing candy-induced sugar highs and inevitable post-confection lows.

Friday, October 18

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What’s in a Name?

Virginia legislators work with Korean American groups to push for “East Sea” in textbooks.

Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) may be light years apart on most issues, but on one issue they’ve reached a consensus.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: September, 2013

In September 2013, 90 homes sold between $3,000,000-$77,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: September, 2013

Thursday, October 17

Editorial: Don’t Let Negatives Keep You From Voting

Choices are stark; think about what principles should guide governance in Virginia for the next four years.

Every Virginia voter will have the option to cast a ballot for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and their member of the Virginia House of Delegates. While much of the coverage and advertising at the top of the ticket has been negative in the extreme, it will still matter who is governor. Don’t turn up your nose, hold your nose if necessary, and go vote. You can vote on Nov. 5; most likely you can vote before that.

Classified Advertising October 16, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Wednesday, October 16

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Pierson-El Leads West Potomac Past West Springfield

Wolverines quarterback throws 3 TDs, runs for 3.

West Potomac improved to 2-4.

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Battleground Northern Virginia

What role will the region play in the election?

For many years, Northern Virginia has been written off by both parties as a Democratic stronghold — a place where Republicans simply try to cut their losses while they focus on the rest of the commonwealth. But this election cycle may be different. All three of the gubernatorial candidates are from Fairfax County. And recent statewide candidates have not been able to win without picking off selected jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. "As you look at Northern Virginia that's further from Washington, you see a more Republican area — Prince William, western Fairfax, Fauquier," said Stephen Farnsworth, professor at University of Mary Washington. "That's where the real action is in Northern Virginia politics." As Election Day draws closer and television becomes a virtual battlefield for attention, a real battle is brewing on the ground here in Northern Virginia. Candidates and their advisors are looking at the path to victory back in 2009 for Republican Bob McDonnell, who won Prince William County, Fairfax County and Fauquier County. Although this race is likely to be closer than 2009, the importance of Northern Virginia is looming larger than ever.

Friday, October 11

Gailliot Appointed Chamber Chairman

Michael Gailliot, a realtor with Century 21 New Millennium, has been appointed as the new chairman of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce. Gailliot will complete the term of Barbara Doyle who is re-locating to the Boston area.

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Pumpkin Patch Returns

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 8009 Fort Hunt Road once again celebrates the fall with a Pumpkin Patch program hoping to sell 3,000 pumpkins purchased from a Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico.

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Local Group Brings Classic Car-Lovers Together

Alexandria Cars & Coffee meets at the Hollin Hall Shopping Center first Sunday of each month.

Looking for a place to show off your classic car? Want to relive the good ol’ days of the past, or just want to hang out with other classic car owners to talk shop, and show off your ride? Well, there is a place to do that.

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Rising Hope Gala Raises $45,000

Churches gather to support one of their own.

“Godtastic!” declared Rennie Chen when he learned Rising Hope Mission’s 2013 Gala Oct. 5 at The Waterford in Springfield netted a $45,000 profit.

Editorial: Get a Flu Shot, Register to Vote

Getting a flu shot has never been easier.

Thursday, October 10

Classified Advertising October 9, 2013

Read the lastest ads here!

A Bike Trip Through History

The Center Hiking Club hosts this season’s final historic marker bicycle tour.

Now that last weekend's heat wave is over and things are back to feeling fall-like, it's time for the last historic marker bicycle tour of the season, led by Bernie Bern of the Center Hiking Club.

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Circle of Stars

USO honors top corporate donors.

The USO of Metropolitan Washington honored its top corporate sponsors Oct. 4 at the 10th Annual Stars and Stripes Night gala, naming 37 corporate donors to its 2013 Circle of the Stars.

Wednesday, October 9

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Library Opens at Mount Vernon Estate

$106.4 million building dedicated.

The $106.4 million Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington opened in Mount Vernon last Friday, Sept. 27, with much fanfare. Fred W. Smith, chairman of The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the largest donor, gave $70 million, including a $38 million lead gift, which was the largest single donation in Mount Vernon’s history. It was seed money to create the museum, foundation and education center. Funds were also collected by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which came from 7,000 individuals, foundations and corporations from across America — not from any federal, state or local governments. “This is a place where scholars and leaders can visit from all over the world,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell, who referred to George Washington as only having a sixth-grade education — a man of “quiet faith, humility, and civility.” And one of the best whiskey makers in America.

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Decorating for Fall

Local designers offer suggestions for bringing the harvest into your home.

The colors of autumn are all around as pumpkins and squash fill produce stands and leaves change from green to orange, red and yellow before falling from their branches. Local designers and tastemakers are unveiling home accents that bring the warm hues of the season into the home. Whether using pillows, throws or flowers, adding the colors and textures of fall requires less effort than one might expect. “Emerald green, orange and turquoise are three of the biggest color trends we’re seeing,” said Marcus Browning of European Country Living in Old Town Alexandria. “Throws and pillows are a given, but you can also tie in traditional and modern accessories with rugs, stained glass lamps with modern or intricate designs.” Small trays provide a canvas for highlighting color and adding functionality to a room, says Marika Meyer of Marika Meyer Interiors in Bethesda, Md. “Color and pattern are in right now,” she said. “I just purchased the C. Wonder ( navy and white chevron tray for my home. It adds a punch of color and freshness to a room. Preppy is back in a big way, too, offering lots of patterns.”

Negative Campaign

Candidates appear at minority business forum, attacking each other.

Local and statewide candidates for office appeared at an unprecedented forum in Northern Virginia last weekend, a collaboration of minority business groups of blacks, Hispanics and Asians. But as candidates arrived at the Annandale campus of the Northern Virginia Community College for a Sunday afternoon forum, voters realized that the tone of the campaign would remain unrelentingly negative. "All three of the Republican candidates are Tea Party right wing extremists," said Del. Ken Plum (D-36), who is running unopposed. "Look at their records and their stands on the issues." Plum attacked Cuccinelli's lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act as well as his investigation into a University of Virginia professor studying climate change. The longtime delegate also said the Republican attorney general candidate Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-25) has a similar record, including a bill that would have required women to report abortions to police. Together with the candidate for lieutenant governor, Plum said, the ticket is Tea Party from top to bottom.

Friday, October 4

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Tribute to Mount Vernon-area Police and Firefighters

Officers, EMTs, and firefighters were honored in the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce 2013 Tribute at the Belle Haven Country Club on Sept. 27, 2013.

Commentary: Reacting to Shutdown

With the first shutdown of the federal government in 16 years in effect, Virginians are bracing for a rough week. As Congressman Jim Moran pointed out, “it would worsen the VA disabilities claims backlog … halt new business loans through the SBA, stop food assistance, including school lunches for 13 million children .…”

St. James’ Episcopal Church Held 2013 Arts and Crafts Fair

St. James’ Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon held its 6th annual Arts and Crafts Fair on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, with 72 vendors offering hand-crafted items like musical instruments, jewelry, and paintings.

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Creating ‘Vibrant Streets’

SFDC hosts Route 1 development forum.

The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, a non-profit corporation financed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, jump-started its fall season by inviting a panel of three business leaders who conducted what amounted to a workshop on how to turn underutilized commercial and mixed use property in the Richmond Highway corridor into viable self-sustaining community and government supported projects.

Classified Advertising Oct. 2, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

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Something To Bark About

Park Authority approves Master Plan for Westgrove Park.

The Park Authority approved the Master Plan for Westgrove Park on a permanent basis Sept. 25, ending several years of community debate between environmental advocates who wanted Westgrove Park to remain as a natural resources Park, and dog owners who wanted an Off Leash Dog Park (OLDA) added to the Park.

Thursday, October 3

Guest Editorial: Virginia’s Easy Access to Guns

A parent asks why background checks aren’t better.

How do you respond to a 7 year old when she comes home from school and says “we did our bad man drill today Mommy, but don’t worry it was just for practice, no one really came into our school to shoot us”?

Senior Volunteers Stay Active

Fifty percent of Mount Vernon RECenter’s volunteers are senior citizens.

The Mount Vernon RECenter is known for its ice skating rink, massive indoor swimming pool and fitness center with spa and sauna. It has 46 volunteers who help greet guests, clean up the fitness room, landscape the grounds and assist people with adapted swimming and ice-skating. Exactly half of them are retired senior citizens over 50 who want to stay active while giving back to the community.

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Choosing a Home for the Golden Years

Many options for retirement communities in the region.

Jim Harkin, 81, and his wife, Phyllis, 80, have little free time these days. Jim spends his days protecting and photographing wildlife on the 60-acre campus at The Fairfax, a Sunrise Senior Living Community, in Fort Belvoir. He helped build, refurbish and maintain more than 20 birdhouses on the grounds, including homes for tree swallows and purple martins.

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Active Seniors Compete for Glory

fter 11 days of more than 50 events held Sept. 7-19, the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics finished with a golf event at Forest Greens Golf Course in Triangle, Va. Other events ranged from cycling, swimming and pickle ball to Mexican train dominos and Scrabble.

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Diverse Needs, Desires Drive Mobility Solutions

Seniors increasingly seek innovative plans that embrace both the present and the future.

Russ Glickman was a traditional full-service remodeler until the late 1990s when he abruptly added a host of accessibility certifications to a long list of building industry credentials. The service extension was less about opportunity than a personal call to apply what he’d learned from personal experience in helping his son, Michael, who was born with cerebral palsy.

Column: “Mor-Tality” or Less

Meaning, in my head anyway, the future and what there is left of it. More specifically, I mean life expectancy. When you’re given a “13-month to two-year” prognosis—at age 54 and a half, by a cancer doctor, your cancer doctor—the timeline between where you are and where you thought you’d be when becomes as clear as mud.

Residential Studios Put on Hold

Supervisors establish committee, plan additional public outreach.

At the recommendation of Chairman Sharon Bulova (D-At-Large) and Supervisor Michael Frey (R-Sully), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday deferred its Nov. 20 public hearing on a proposed residential studios (RSUs) amendment to conduct additional community outreach.

Now What?

Fairfax County braces for “domino effect” of federal government shutdown.

“We live in a ‘company town’ and the company is the federal government, so most of us have family and friends who are federal employees or contractors impacted by this shutdown,” Long said in a memo emailed to county employees Tuesday. Long said his biggest concern was the “domino effect” the shutdown will have on the local economy, and “the short-term uncertainty that will impact business decisions.”

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Social Justice Matters

SALT forum gives candidates a chance to tell voters where they stand on social justice issues.

But one group also thinks voters should know where candidates stand on social justice issues when they go to the polls Nov. 5. “Our elected officials have a great deal of influence on the common good, so it’s reasonable that we find out where candidates stand on these issues,” said John Horejsi, founder of SALT (Social Action Linking Together), a non-partisan, faith-based advocacy group started in 1983.

Leadership Fairfax Honors Community Leaders Who Make a Difference

Leadership Fairfax (LFI) has chosen the 2013 Northern Virginia Leadership Awards (NVLA) recipients via a panel of community and business leaders evaluating nominations submitted by Leadership Fairfax alumni and the general public. The award recipients will be honored at the Northern Virginia Leadership Awards luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 7, at Westwood Country Club in Vienna.

Minority Chambers of Commerce to Host Candidates’ Forum

The recently formed alliance of Northern Virginia Minority Chambers of Commerce will give members of the fast growing minority business community the opportunity to meet with the commonwealth’s gubernatorial and statewide candidates at the first-ever joint Candidates’ Forum, Sunday, Oct. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus.

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On the Job and Hot on the Trail

Finding people is fun for new, police bloodhound pups.

“We’ll get them out here and acclimate them to the noises — gunfire, [vehicle] brakes and birds,” said Masood. They’ll also be exposed to airplanes, wind, rain, heat, car horns honking, plus obstacles such as fences. And they’ll learn how it feels on their paws to walk in the woods, through brush, on cement, carpet, tile floors, etc. That way, said Clarke, “When they get out on the street, when they’re almost a year old, they’ll be ready.”

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National Park Service Shutters Mount Vernon Trail Amid Budget Crisis

Parts of trail are barricaded;; parking lots closed/ Park Service Police issue parking tickets.

Woody Guthrie observed "This Land is Your Land." But that apparently does not apply to federal land during a government shutdown.

Wednesday, October 2

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West Springfield Field Hockey Beats West Potomac in Overtime

Spartans extend winning streak to five games.

Spartans lost four straight prior to five-game winning streak.

The Taste of Fall

Local chefs and nutritionists offer healthy recipes for tasty fall dishes using seasonal ingredients.

When the temperature starts to drop and leaves begin to turn red and orange, you can often find chef Susan Limb meandering through local farmers markets, sorting through rough-textured, knotty sweet potatoes; tough, waxy butternut squash; and dusty, rose-colored apples.