Stories for April 2014

Stories for April 2014


Wednesday, April 30

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Fairfax County School Board Examining Later Start Times

High schools could start as late as 9:15.

Two years after the Fairfax County School Board adopted a resolution in favor of later start times, exhausted teenagers are one step closer to getting a full night’s sleep. The Children’s National Medical Center recently presented the school board with options for later start times, of which the school board selected four for public discussion. The new start times could be implemented as early as the 2015-2016 school year.

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Protecting Youths Against Substance Abuse

Panel shares stories and advice.

Fairfax County's Unified Prevention Coalition sponsored a forum on the effects of substance abuse on the county's middle and high school children. The resource fair and panel discussion was led by parents, young adults and professionals from the coalition's PROTECT (Parents Reaching Out To Educate Communities Together) task force. "It's been so long, I'll still be emotional about it," said Greg Lannes about his daughter's heroin overdose in 2008. Alicia Lannes had been 19 when she died and had always been a model student with straight A's. He pointed to the lone framed photo of her on the table and asked the audience, "Does that look like a heroin addict? How did she get to that point?"

Protecting Driver’s License Information Becomes Law

Del. David Bulova’s legislation (House Bill 1072) to protect personal information on driver’s licenses was enacted into law during the reconvened session of the General Assembly on April 23. The new law, which will be effective on July 1, limits the ability of a business to electronically scan the bar code on a driver’s license and then store and use that data. State Sen. David Marsden (D-37) carried the companion legislation (Senate Bill 40), which has also been enacted into law.

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County Budget Markup Passes

Three supervisors still oppose the budget.

Fairfax County is another step closer to having an approved budget for the next fiscal year. The Board of Supervisors approved the 2015 budget markup at its April 22 meeting at the county Government Center. Supervisors Linda Smyth (D-Providence), Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) and John Cook (R-Braddock) opposed the markup.

Fairfax County Honors ‘Superheroes’

22nd Annual Fairfax County Service Awards presented.

Maybe they don’t wear capes and flashy uniforms, but local volunteers are superheroes. That was the theme for the 22nd Annual Fairfax County Service Awards, where more than 100 volunteers were recognized for their work with breakfast Friday, April 25, at The Waterford in Springfield. More specifically, this year’s theme was "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Impact," which was reflected in the comic book-inspired table decor and introductions by master of ceremonies Jeff Goldberg, Virginia Bureau Chief for ABC7 and News Channel 8.

Father and Son "Twogether"

As a born, bread and buttered Bostonian (Newton Centre, a suburb, to be specific), one of my enduring and genetic passions has been to live and die (figuratively speaking; this is not a cancer column) for The Boston Red Sox. My father sold concessions at Fenway Park (the stadium home of the Bosox since 1912), during the Depression when he was a little boy (not yet an adolescent even). He was nicknamed "Beezo," (his given name was Benet, although he was always called Barry) so he could gain full acceptance to a local knothole gang. Named after the wooden planks which surrounded the old Braves Field in Boston (a National League team called Boston its home as well back in the day), the kids ("gangs") would stand and peer through the knotholes in the wooden planks which otherwise blocked their view. It was a privilege and an honor for my father to be so connected to the game this way. He grew up loving baseball, and as a parent, he passed his love of the game on to me – and my brother.

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Editorial: Trending in the Right Direction

Commitment to ending homelessness shows progress, but more affordable housing is needed.

On one night in late January, local jurisdictions in our area fanned out to count the number of people who were literally homeless. Fairfax County released its numbers last week; Arlington and Alexandria will do so in the near future. In Fairfax County, the commitment in 2010 to end homelessness in 10 years has resulted in significant progress, even in the wake of the great recession. The number of people literally homeless decreased by a third from 2008 to 2014, from 1,835 to 1,225 counted this year. Many non-profit organizations have partnered to prevent homelessness one family or individual at a time for those on the brink and to house chronically homeless individuals. There is so much still to be done.

Letter: More Taxing And Spending

To the Editor

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For Congressional Candidates, No Common Ground on Common Core

Democrats in Virginia's 8th Congressional District divided on national education standards.

Should American schools share national standards? That's a question that divides the 10 Democrats seeking to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8), who is retiring after 24 years in the House of Representatives. During a recent candidates forum, the Democrats were asked if they support the Common Core State Standards Initiative, two candidates said they disagreed and eight candidates said they agreed.

Letter: Appreciate Local Experts

To the Editor

Letter: Renaming Richmond Highway?

To the Editor

Letter: Benefits of Medicaid Expansion

To the Editor

MVUC Greenhouse Offers Heirloom Tomatoes and Rare Annuals

The heirloom seedlings, grown in the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church greenhouse, are ready for planting in residents’ gardens.

Thursday, April 24

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Teaching Financial Skills

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine and former Gov. Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, visited Hollin Meadows Elementary School on Friday, April 11 to teach a financial literacy lesson to the school’s fourth graders. The event was sponsored by American Bankers Association and was part of its 18th annual Teach Children To Save Day.

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Fort Hunt Softball Celebrates Opening Day

Fort Hunt Softball held its Opening Day Celebration on Sunday, April 6, at the Walt Whitman softball complex. Approximately 500 people including players, family members and volunteers from the softball community attended. The party started off with a picnic, games and dancing.

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Samaritan’s Feet Comes to Rising Hope

300 pairs of shoes go to youth in need.

The halls at Rising Hope United Methodist Church were thronged Monday, April 14, as parents brought their children for an Easter footwashing in Christ’s memory and to receive new shoes at no cost.

Letter: Expansion Needs More Data

To the Editor: No one should ever be denied health care. But, we need to be careful that millions don't get worse or receive no care because of politics to hastily expand the Medicaid rolls. Politicians, like Delegate Surovell and Chairman Bulova of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, tend to use data that suits their beliefs and don't necessarily report any data that may counter them.

Residents Nominated for Service Awards

With the theme “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Impact,” Volunteer Fairfax, along with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, will honor real-life superheroes at the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards. The gala celebration will be held Friday, April 25 at The Waterford in Springfield.

Letter: Heed Posted Speed Limit

To the Editor: I'm writing in response to Phil Boughton's letter to the editor in the April 17 edition of the Mount Vernon Gazette. I live in one of the neighborhoods along Sherwood Hall Lane and cross it on foot almost daily from one of the Fairfax Connector bus stops.

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Meadowood Stables Remain Open During Renovation

Rep. Jim Moran, Supervisor Gerry Hyland support decision.

The barn at the Meadowood Special Recreation Area will remain open during renovation, the Bureau of Land Management announced on April 10.

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Fall Cankerworm Spraying Debated

Some residents believe spraying of fall cankerworm is unnecessary.

Later this month, the Fairfax County Forest Pest Management Branch is scheduled to spray 2,200 acres of the Mason, Lee and Mount Vernon districts with insecticide in order to rid these areas of fall cankerworms, commonly known as inchworms.

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Alone on the Road: 7 out of 10 Northern Virginia Workers Use Single-Occupancy Vehicles

Study raises concerns about amount of time drivers spend commuting alone.

Despite the decades-long war against the single-occupancy vehicle, seven out of 10 workers in Northern Virginia drive to work alone every workday.

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Who is Trailing Don Beyer in Hotly Contested Democratic Primary?

Candidates elbow each other out of the way to secure second place.

Campaign finance documents show that former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer crushed the nine other candidates in the hotly contested Democratic primary.

Wednesday, April 23

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What to Expect

Real estate experts offer a forecast for spring.

Real estate agent Joan Caton Cromwell says she lost a home bidding war last week in Falls Church even though her client was a strong contestant.

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Spring Songbirds Arriving Now

Local bird groups and bird walks help beginning birders see colorful birds.

The birds are coming. The annual migration of often brightly colored songbirds from their winter homes in Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, and the southern U.S. is underway now. Millions and millions of avian migrants fly northward every night and the come down to rest or nest every morning. Some of the birds are enroute to nesting areas far to the north; some nest right here or nearby.

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Region Sees Lowest Number of TB Cases in Decades

Outreach efforts get people in for tuberculosis treatment before it spreads.

When Dr. Barbara Andrino came to the Fairfax County Health Department in 2011, there were 137 cases of tuberculosis in Northern Virginia.

Notes from the Producer

MetroStage Presents ‘Underneath the Lintel’

Storytelling at its best — storytelling in a small intimate space where the audience is actively engaged — this seems to be a common theme at MetroStage.

Gala To Benefit Scholarship Fund

The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria will hold its 28th Annual Spring Gala dinner dance and silent auction on Saturday, April 26.

Send in Mother's Day Photos

Mother’s Day is May 11 and every year at this time, the Gazette Packet calls for submissions to its Mother’s Day photo gallery.

Enjoying the 4th Annual Mardi Growl

Colorful boas and festival masks greeted the guests arriving at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on April 2 for the 4th annual Mardi Growl benefiting the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

Good Shepherd Housing Celebrates 40 Years

Anniversary gala brings in $272,000.

Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services celebrated 40 years of delivering continuous community service and promoting self-sufficiency to those in need in Fairfax County with a fundraising gala at the Westin Hotel in Alexandria on Saturday, April 12.

Murphy Presented with Massey Award

Paul Murphy was awarded the 2014 Massey Award for consistent and committed volunteer service to the Fort Hunt Little League program at Fort Hunt Little League’s Opening Day Ceremony on April 5.

MVHS Student Leads State Chapter

Mohammed Ali, Mount Vernon High School junior, was named president of Future Business Leaders of America’s Virginia chapter.

Concert Raises $8,000

The Metropolitan School of the Arts raised $8,000 at its second Annual Benefit Concert to go toward construction of their Black Box Theatre project in Alexandria.

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Spring Garden Market at River Farm

The American Horticulture Society hosted their annual spring garden market and a flower show earlier this month at its River Farm headquarters.

A Musing: Easily Confused Words

Some of the most common words we all use daily sound so much alike that they are easily confused, and therefore, are misinterpreted by the listener(s).

TR’s Pot of Gold

The City of Alexandria’s Therapeutic Recreation Program found a pot of gold in its celebration with participants of the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center’s Out of School Time program.

Tuesday, April 22

Where Am I?

"I’m sitting in the rocking chair, good buddy," (a "Smokey and The Bandit" reference, if you’re not of a certain vintage), between two 18-wheelers where the police radar can’t find me – further referencing the C.B. radio days. Updating to the "Kenny-with-cancer" days, I’m a month or so past my last very encouraging CT Scan, the one I wrote about when my oncologist offered me a congratulatory handshake, a gesture he had not made in the five-plus years since we’ve been tangling with this damn disease; and I’m approximately seven weeks away from my next CT scan, "intervaled" every three months at present. Seven weeks is far enough away where I’m not even thinking about it, or the possibility of its discouraging results that I’ll know about on or about June 9th. I am cruising, emotionally, and savoring the excellent results from the last scan and not yet worrying, wondering, hoping, praying (too much) about my next scan. This means, at the moment – or moments, I should say, I am enjoying a relatively stress-free and blissful ignorance to what may – or hopefully may not, be happening in my lungs. I am, to quote a Three Stooges line: "as safe as in my mother’s arms."

Entrants Sought for Anti-Alcohol Awards

A Vienna-based, alcohol-education group wants to honor local, high school groups for their efforts in fighting underage drinking. To recognize high-school students for "doing the right thing," the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will present its 2014 GEICO Student Awards at a May 16 ceremony in Washington, D.C., and is accepting applications for the honors through Monday, April 28, at Entry is free.

Editorial: Past Time for Later Start Times

Teenagers are sleep deprived, and sleep deprivation takes a significant toll on safety, health and learning. We’ve known this for decades. But for decades, literally, Fairfax County Public Schools (and Montgomery County, Md.) have let a combination of reactionary blabber ("buck up and get moving;" "just tell them to go to bed earlier") and organizational resistance prevent implementing a solution to this very real problem. Getting up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. to hop on a school bus at 5:45 a.m. or even as late at 6:30 a.m. to get to school by 7:20 a.m. is not healthy for teenagers. It is nearly impossible for teenagers to go to sleep before 11 p.m. or midnight. Fairfax County high school students average six hours of sleep a night on weeknights. Research shows they need nine hours of sleep. Research has also quantified the costs of sleep deprivation.

Friday, April 18

Classified Advertising April 23, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

Commentary: Dean Supports Beyer

I’ve always stood for the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. When I started my presidential campaign in 2003, I was against the Iraq War, and had worked hard as Governor of Vermont to create marriage equality and universal health care in my home state. Those positions weren’t totally popular at the time. But I believe candidates should pay attention not only to their prospective constituents, but also to their internal compass.

Thursday, April 17

Classified Advertising April 16, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

Mount Vernon Home Sales: March, 2014

In March 2014, 114 homes sold between $18,600,000-$110,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: March, 2014

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Tax Burden Targets Low-Income Workers in Northern Virginia

Average tax burden for low-income workers is highest in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax.

Families that are struggling to make ends meet in Northern Virginia are the target of local governments in Northern Virginia, which has the highest tax burden in the region for low-income workers. Wealthy people face the highest tax burden in Prince George's County and Montgomery County. But here in Virginia, poor people face the biggest tax burden in Arlington, according to a new study by the Office of Revenue Analysis in the District of Columbia. Alexandria ranked second, and Fairfax County ranked third.

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Beyer Rakes in Campaign Cash in Democratic Primary

Fundraising numbers reveal former lieutenant governor has significant edge.

Campaign finance documents released this week show Don Beyer well ahead of his competitors in the race for cash, giving the former lieutenant governor a significant edge over the nine other Democrats in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8).

Wednesday, April 16

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Advocates Urge Supervisors to ‘Invest in Fairfax’

Coalition of schools, government employees, parks, libraries and human services gather at budget hearings.

“Invest in Us, Invest in Fairfax.” That was the rallying cry last week at the Fairfax County Government Center as advocates for schools, libraries, parks, government employees and other human services gathered in support of more funding in these areas.

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Attorney General Speaks to Seniors about Fraud Prevention

Seniors learn tips for avoiding scams.

Senior citizens have increasingly been the victims of recent fraud and scams. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring taught seniors how they can avoid these crimes at Greenspring’s Fraud Prevention Expo on April 11 in Springfield. Herring advised seniors to be suspicious of any cold calls or direct mail solicitations, as these are often fraudulent. The attorney general’s office has a consumer protection division, which can help seniors or anyone who has a concern or dispute with a business or service.

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Fairfax County Police Advocate for Pay Raise

Department is struggling to recruit and maintain officers.

Nearly 350 Fairfax County Police officers appeared at a public hearing on the Fairfax County budget on April 10, advocating for an increase in pay. The police filled the auditorium, leaving standing room only. Several police testified before the Board of Supervisors, advocating for pay raises and parity with other public safety departments, such as the firefighters, who are seeing an increase in pay this year.

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Achievement Gap Addressed at Budget Hearings

Admissions to Thomas Jefferson, cuts to Summer School, later start times discussed.

Of the 487 students admitted to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, only 10 are black. Eight of these students are Hispanic. This is even though 177 black students and 214 Hispanic students applied for admission to the school. “Unless you actually believe that black and Latino children have some type of intellectual deficiency that prevents them from competing for admission to TJ, you have to believe there is a failure in the Fairfax County Public School system in terms of preparing these students to adequately compete for admission to TJ,” said Tina Hone, former school board member and founder of the Coalition of the Silence (COTS), at the FY 2015 budget public hearing on April 8.

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Families, Community Advocate For Special Education Graduates

Supporters gathered at Fairfax County budget hearing on April 10.

Diana Martin, a Fairfax Station resident, was already losing sleep thinking about how she was going to balance the post-grad needs of her daughter Kenzie with her husband’s chemo and medical care. Now, she is even more concerned as funding for the programs that help special education graduates from Fairfax County Public Schools is included on a list of possible further reductions that County Executive Ed Long presented to the Board of Supervisors on March 18.

Editorial: Celebrate Earth Day

Get outside with your family, participate in group activities, or just walk in your favorite park.

Earth Day is April 22, observed April 19-27 and beyond. Fairfax County offers many useful and educational ways to enjoy the day. Don’t miss the chance to get outside, observe the developing spring weather, flora and fauna. Here are some of the opportunities:

Challenging A Child’s Mind

Experts say reading is critical to cognitive and emotional development.

Arlington mother Holly Karapetkova reserves time for reading in the schedules of her two young children. It has become such an important part of their daily routine that it is a treasured family activity. It is also vital to her children’s development says Karapetkova.

Dying of Curiosity

As I was completing last week’s column ("I Thought I Was a Goner") and thanking my oncology nurse, Ron, in the process, for the excellent care he has provided me for nearly five years now; a week after I wrote a column thanking my Certified Holistic Health Coach, Rebecca Nenner, for the health and fitness-type knowledge she has given me over those same five years; it dawned on me that perhaps my subconscious mind knew something that my conscious mind didn’t: that I should move closer to the undertaker like Radar’s Uncle Ernest did two days before he died, in the M*A*S*H episode titled "Novacaine Mutiny" from season four.

Obituary: David Allan Buffmire

David Allan Buffmire, 59, of Kents Store, Va. died April 6, 2014 at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville of complications from pneumonia and cancer.

Letter: Many Changes In Compromise

The April 10 article ["Commission Approves EnviroSolutions Application," Mount Vernon Gazette] on the Planning Commission’s vote to recommend approval of the EnviroSolutions proposal to continue construction debris landfill operations and create a green energy park offers a confusing inconsistency.

Mother's Day Photos

Mother’s Day is May 11, 2014, and every year at this time, we call for submissions to our Mother’s Day photo gallery.

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Paladar Latin Kitchen and Bar Coming to Tysons

The bold and fresh flavors of Latin America will be coming to Tysons when Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar opens its second location in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on May 9. Paladar, a Cuban term for small, soulful and comforting restaurants that people run out of their homes, will be located at Leesburg Pike and Old Gallows Road in Tysons. The restaurant will feature an American interpretation of the vibrant flavors of Central and South America and the Latin Caribbean, with a special nod to the cuisine of Cuba. The Rum Bar will offer a selection of over 50 rums.

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State Budget May Not Pass for Several Months

Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce hosts General Assembly update.

For those waiting for the state budget to pass, don’t hold your breath. According to four elected officials at a Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce General Assembly update April 10, the Medicaid expansion bill will leave Democrats and Republicans quibbling over the budget past the beginning of summer.


All my memories of former Councilwoman Beverly Beidler seem to involve motion. I remember how joyfully she moved and how happy she was dancing the Virginia Reel during Marion's Music Hall, a fundraiser to help get Marion Van Landingham elected.

Spring2ACTion Raises $1,031,282

Fundraiser Benefits Nonprofits

Alexandria's annual online giving day, Spring2ACTion, generated a record-breaking $1,031,282 for 121 Alexandria nonprofits in 24 hours on April 9.

Letter: Many Changes

To the Editor

Letter: Restriping Sherwood Hall Lane

To the Editor

Thursday, April 10

Classified Advertising April 9, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

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Commission Approves Landfill Extension

Application will be reviewed by Board of Supervisors.

An application to extend the operation of the EnviroSolutions owned landfill in Lorton has been approved by the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Commissioners voted 6-4 on April 3 to approve the application to continue the landfill’s operation. The application includes a green energy park proposal in exchange for the landfill remaining open until 2040.

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Economic Outlook Summit Hosted in Southeast Fairfax

Federal government jobs down, lower-wage jobs up

At this year’s Economic Outlook Summit, hosted by the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce and Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, experts on the local economy and housing discussed the economic forecast for the Route One area and beyond.

Wednesday, April 9

MetroStage Presents ‘The Thousandth Night’

MetroStage is presenting the one-man-show, “The Thousandth Night” now through May 18. The play stars Marcus Kyd as a quick-thinking comic actor in a traveling company of players who are stuck in Paris during the occupation of France. He is facing his deportation for “propagating subversive material,” so in his last effort to save his life, he performs his show for the last people (the audience) who may have his fate in their hands. “Guy tells the gendarmes a series of stories, to be sure, but his own story is the backbone of the entire play,” said Kyd who plays 36 different characters using various hats and scarves from his trunk.

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Junior ROTC Supports UCM

Each month this school year, the Army Junior ROTC students at West Potomac High School volunteered their time on a Friday afternoon at the UCM Food Pantry to organize and bag the USDA commodities for UCM’s clients.

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Youth Hockey Team Earns Bronze

The Northern Virginia Hockey Club’s U16 AA team, based out of the Mt. Vernon Rec Center, captured the Bronze medal at the 2014 USA Hockey National Championships which were held April 2-6 in Ashburn, making history for the local club. This U16 team, coached by Bill Butler and Doug Scott, is the first NVHC team to ever qualify for and compete in the USA Hockey National Championships.

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The Circus Comes to St. Aidan’s Day School

The kindergarten class of St. Aidan’s Day School held its annual circus for the 10th year on Friday, April 4. There were tightrope walkers, strongmen, elephant. lions, tigers, a lion tamer and clowns.

Brief: Democrats Host Forum for 8th District

The first opportunity for voters to question the 10 candidates on the ballot in the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary will be at a forum Saturday, April 12 sponsored by the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee. The primary is June 10. George Burke, the Virginia Democratic Party's 11th Congressional District chair, will moderate the forum The forum is free and open to the public, from 4-6 p.m., April 12, at the Mount Vernon High School Little Theater, 8515 Old Mount Vernon Road.

Brief: SYA Soccer Launches U8 Academy Program

SYA Soccer is launching a new U8 Academy Program starting in the Fall of 2014. This 10-month comprehensive training program will focus on individual player development of technical and tactical skills. The Academy players will take part in twice weekly training sessions, crossover U8 games with fellow CCL clubs and winter indoor training and league games.

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International Night at Hybla Valley

Hybla Valley Elementary held an International Night on Thursday, April 3. Student-made decorations were used by the physical education, art and music teachers to transform the hallways into several Halls of Nations. Even the ceiling was lined with kites inspired by international cultures.

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Have Harmonica, Will Mentor

94-year-old Jack Hopkins hosts weekly gathering.

There are harmonicas that fit into pant pockets and there are harmonicas two feet long. There are harmonicas for guitar accompaniment and harmonicas designed for orchestras. Alexandria resident Jack Hopkins, co-founder of the 23-year-old Capitol Harmonica Club, has at least 16 different types and has been playing since he was six years old. The instrument has taken him to a variety of places and brought him a number of opportunities.

Teens Are Most in Need of Foster Care Homes

Virginia's largest age group in need of homes is between 16 to 18-years-old.

At 54 years old, Julie wanted to be an adoptive parent for over a decade. But it wasn't until last year that she finally brought a child home. Single, she had recently left her federal government position and felt like she was ready. In May, she welcomed her 17-year-old foster son into her McLean home. "For me I was never a parent before," said Julie. "So I had to run fast and catch up."

Letter to the Editor: Improvement Is Needed

To the Editor: The on-going debate on the re-striping of Sherwood Hall Lane is characterized by a signal lack of data on all sides; its permanent re-striping should hold off until we’ve got some hard data to make an informed decision. I assert that those, on either side of the bike lane divide, who advocate a final solution right now are nervous that the data wouldn’t support their preferred position.

Brief: Storck To Host Office Hours

Dan Storck, Mount Vernon District School Board member for Fairfax County Public Schools, will host Community Office Hours at the Lorton Library in the Conference Room on Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m.

Connection Papers Win Awards

Reporting, photography, design and editorial cartoons commended at annual Virginia Press Association meeting.

"Great work exposing serious challenges and obstacles in the way of the public's access to public information. The articles are well written and well researched, providing concrete and compelling examples of the flaws in the systems." That was what the judge said when awarding first place for In-depth or investigative reporting to Michael Lee Pope in the Arlington Connection. The Virginia Press Association announced its press awards for 2013 at the annual meeting on Saturday, April 5, in Richmond.

"I Thought You Were a Goner"

So has said my longtime oncology nurse, Ron, who has tended to me since June, 2009. Originally, I had been assigned to a different oncology nurse, Holly, with whom I developed an immediate rapport. She cared for me from the beginning, early March 2009, when I began my every-three-week chemotherapy infusion through June, when she transferred from the Infusion Center to a different unit (oncology does take a toll). Initially, after Holly’s departure, Jane, another nurse in the unit, took me on as a patient. However, and this is where the details get sketchy, within a subsequent infusion or two, I was told one day upon my arrival at the Infusion Center, that Ron, still another oncology nurse, who I had certainly seen there previously but with whom I had minimal interaction, would be taking over for Jane – who was not transferring out – and henceforth would be my new oncology nurse. Apparently, I had been traded. For another patient? For future considerations? For a lunch-to-be-paid later? To this day, nearly five years later, I’ve never been able to uncover the truth. I got along fine with Jane; I’m a very low-maintenance patient/ person; I don’t think I did anything to precipitate such a decision. Nevertheless, a deal (my word) had been struck.

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Clean for Spring

Local organization experts offer tips to help with spring cleaning.

Betsy Fein found herself in the middle of a spring fling in Fairfax recently. She wasn’t at a festival or involved in a new romance, but in the midst of organizing a cluttered bedroom that was littered with piles of shirts, pants, shoes and books. Spring often means renewal and local organizers like Fein are offering suggestions for clearing out winter clutter. From closets that are overstuffed with wool sweaters and down coats to kitchen drawers overflowing with batteries and appliance manuals, they offer suggestions for getting organized without getting overwhelmed.

Painter Debuts Children’s Book

“When I’m Not Myself” also offers insight into book production process.

Alexandria painter Kathy DeZarn Beynette’s second children’s book, “When I’m Not Myself,” was released worldwide in March.

Alexandria Painter Debuts Children’s Book

“When I’m Not Myself” also offers insight into book production process.

Alexandria painter Kathy DeZarn Beynette’s second children’s book, “When I’m Not Myself,” was released worldwide in March.

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Local Designer Honored

Alexandria tastemaker blends a variety of styles.

Old Town Alexandra-based interior designer Anna Kucera has a knack for helping her clients turn their fanciful ideas in to concrete realities.

Fairfax Arts Programs Receive Federal Grants

Seven local organizations involved in the arts and literature are receiving a total of $230,000 in federal grants from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11) said.

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‘Victims’ Rights Are a Necessity’

Honoring crime victims with walk, words and candlelight vigil.

Siobhan Russell was just 19 when her ex-boyfriend killed her. Ron Kirby, a noted regional transportation planner, was murdered in his Alexandria home in November by an unknown assailant.

Obituary: Mary Jacobs

Mary Alva McNey Jacobs, of Boynton Beach, Fla., formerly of Alexandria and Washington, D.C. died March 16, 2014. She was preceded in death by her husband of more than 70 years, David Edward Jacobs, Jr. She was the devoted mother of one daughter, Barbara. Alva was born in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1923 to Mary Irene Bartels and Walter Alexander McNey. She attended Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C. graduating in 1941.

Thursday, April 3

Classified Advertising April 2, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

Commentary: Why I Support Medicaid Expansion

As the Virginia General Assembly continues to discuss the expansion of Medicaid, the benefits and consequences of doing so have received a great deal of attention. Debates rage in the media, among businesses and around the kitchen tables of ordinary Virginians throughout the state. At our board meeting of March 25 my colleagues and I reiterated, in a bi-partisan vote, our strong support for Medicaid expansion in Virginia.

Opinion: Maintaining a Viable, Diverse Community in Fairfax County

While need for housing, childcare, healthcare and other human services have grown, these programs have faced significant cuts over past few years.

The following open letter to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors concerns housing and human services budget recommendations from the Fairfax Budget Advocacy Coalition for Housing and Human Services.

Northern Virginia Senior Olympics Mission: Living Healthy Longer

The 2014 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics will take place Sept. 13-24 at 18 venues throughout Northern Virginia. Adults 50 years of age and over who live in one of the sponsoring jurisdictions are eligible to participate.

John Marshall Bank Hires Kerry Donley

Kerry Donley has joined John Marshall Bank’s team of banking leaders. Donley, senior vice resident, will be based in John Marshall Bank’s Alexandria office.

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Community Steps in to Help Family of Navy Yard Victim

Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield coordinated the effort.

The community is stepping in to help the family of Martin Bodrog, a victim of the Navy Yard Shootings in September 2013. When Bodrog died, he was halfway through finishing repairs on his home. But thanks to neighbor John Rutherford, Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, where Bodrog was a member, and Thompson Creek Window Company, the repairs have continued.

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Special Education Graduates Could be Impacted by Possible Budget Cuts

Families will speak against these cuts at public hearing on April 10.

Lynn Ruiz’s daughter Lydia, who has Down syndrome, will be graduating from Fairfax County Public Schools this June. Ruiz, a Springfield resident, had originally planned for her daughter to participate in an employment program that helps students with special needs transition into adulthood.

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Integrated Health Care Now Provided at Gartlan Center

Primary and behavioral health care clinic celebrates grand opening

The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc. celebrated the integration of primary and behavior health care at the Gartlan Center at the clinic’s official grand opening on March 27.

Wednesday, April 2

Letter to the Editor: Proposal Affects Public Safety

To the Editor: Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) has the power to destroy neighborhoods. With its latest proposals for Sherwood Hall Lane, it will do just that: speeds will increase, our neighbors will lose their on-street parking, and pedestrian travel will become hazardous, altogether altering the character of the road by making it less residential. Proposed changes include removing most street parking, adding bike lanes narrower than the current lane, and adding continuous turn lanes. Their proposals seem to be a solution in search of a problem. FCDOT’s information sheet says they want to make the road “more pedestrian and bicycle friendly,” but most of their proposals will have the opposite effect.

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Letter to the Editor: Up Close

The OspreyCam on Little Hunting Creek in Stratford Landing within our own community ( has infrared capability and as such will operate 24/7, save for occasional computer glitches.

Letter to the Editor: Route 1 Traffic Problems

To the Editor: Wake up politicians in Northern Virginia: we need four lanes on Route 1 in both directions that are usable. Traffic is backing up further and further at Kings Crossing and the Costco/Wal-Mart location near Hybla Valley. The back up at Kings Crossing causes commuters to take Fort Hunt, Quander Road to Sherwood Hall Lane. Sherwood Hall Lane is now backed up from Route 1 past the Sherwood Regional Library almost every afternoon.

Letter to the Editor: Re-Striping Plan Hurts Homeowners

To the Editor: The overarching problem with FCDOT’s and VDOT’s proposal for Sherwood Hall Lane is that it is concerned exclusively with the imagined needs of bicycle riders of whom there are only a handful and with passing through commuters of whom there are already far too many. The residents of the neighborhoods stretching from Route 1 and Gum Springs to Ft. Hunt Road, which include Hybla Valley [Frances and Schelhorn], Sherwood Estates and Hollindale are being told to accept changes to the road that will only degrade the neighborhood further and, therefore, decrease property values. The first degradation occurred in the early ‘70s with the widening of Sherwood Hall Lane from a little two lane road to what we have now. We lost property and many fine trees but at least we got sidewalks [we do have walkers and runners] and on street parking.

Letter to the Editor: Thank You To WPHS

To the Editor: Recently, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry issued a communication to exceptional schools in the U.S. that support public diplomacy efforts by hosting high school exchange students sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. AFS has just learned that West Potomac High School received this commendation from Secretary Kerry, and we want to express how proud we are to work in educational partnership with this outstanding school and its visionary leaders.Nearly 30 years ago, I was welcomed into a U.S. high school as an exchange student from Argentina.

West Potomac’s Barnes, Lescher Befuddle T.C. Williams

Wolverine pitchers combine for 12 strikeouts during 4-1 victory.

West Potomac pitchers limited T.C. Williams to three hits on Tuesday night.

UCM Spring Gala Raises More Than $170,000

Hundreds of community members celebrated United Community Ministries’ 45th Anniversary at its annual Spring Gala on Saturday, March 29, at the Madison Building Atrium, U.S. Patent and Trademark Building, in Old Town.

Local Farm Provides Fresh Food for Underserved Populations

Arcadia hosts mobile market and camp for children.

For many, spring symbolizes fresh flowers, new beginnings and baseball, but for those who work at Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, located on the grounds of the Woodlawn Estate in Mount Vernon, spring means another season of working to ensure that all members of the community have access to fresh, healthy food.

SWAN: Support Women Artists Now

An evening of empowerment and energy.

To commemorate Women’s History Month in March, the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association featured an evening of women-performed arts including poetry, dance performances, visual arts, and music.

Letter: Multiple Needs

To the Editor

Sheriff Awards Employees

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office held its annual Employee Awards and Promotion Recognition Ceremony at the Office’s headquarters on Mill Road on March 25.

Sheriff Awards Employees

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office held its annual Employee Awards and Promotion Recognition Ceremony at the Office’s headquarters on Mill Road on March 25.

Obit: Patricia Ann Rohrer

Patricia Ann Rohrer, a popular and well-known Alexandria pianist for many years, died Feb. 26, 2014 at her home in Alexandria.

Letter: The Ultimate Flim Flam Job

A letter to the editor.

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County Honors Its Heroes

Chamber of Commerce hosts annual Valor Awards.

The 36th annual Valor Awards, honoring public safety heroes, was presented by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner on Monday, March 31.

New Arrivals at Animal Shelter

Rescued dogs need adopting.

In its role as an emergency placement partner for the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria added 10 dogs and four rabbits to the shelter on Wednesday, Marach 26.

Night Honors Women’s Contributions to Community

Ten women were recognized by the Commission for Women for their contributions to the Alexandria community at the Salute to Women Awards at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Monday, March 31.

Elementary School Students Partner with ASO

Orff Ensemble works with El Sistema consultants in workshops.

John Adams Elementary School in Alexandria and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra held their second week-long El Sistema workshop during the week of March 24.

Commentary: Special Session Begins Work on State Budget

Last week, we returned to Richmond for the first day of our special session to finalize Virginia’s two-year, $90 billion budget.

Commentary: Aumsings

My wife and I live just a couple of blocks from the Mount Vernon mansion and property.

AWLA Summer Animal Camp

Children and animals, a natural connection.

The AWLA offers a Summer Animal Camp for 3rd/4th, 5th/6th, and 7th/8th graders.

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Keeping up with Neal Gillen

Potomac attorney, open-water swimmer doesn’t slow down.

The fog was thick in San Francisco as waves crashed against the rocks in the Pacific Ocean. It was a cold morning and 73-year-old Neal Gillen found himself fighting against the current, gulps of salt water burning his mouth. Far from his Potomac home, he was heading for Alcatraz.

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Seniors Rush to Yoga

Yoga teachers, research point to health benefits for seniors.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on any given Tuesday or Thursday morning, 84-year-old Lola Wulchin can be found slowly stretching into a downward facing dog pose or lunging into a warrior one posture. The Vienna resident has been a yoga devotee at East Meets West Yoga Center in Vienna for slightly more than two years. In fact, she credits twice-weekly, gentle yoga practice with boosting her health and improving her quality of life. "I had been bothered by a lot of neck pain from arthritis," said Wulchin. "I had seen a pain management doctor who gave me shots, I had physical therapy, but I still had neck pain and very little range of motion."

How to Age in Place Safely

Local experts suggest techniques and programs that can help seniors stay in their homes longer.

The AARP reports that nearly 80 percent of adults age 65 and older want to remain in their current homes as long as possible. That population is growing. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging, the population 65 years or older numbered 39.6 million in 2009. By 2030, that number will grow to about 72.1 million. While people are living longer and healthier lives, there are still barriers to aging in place, including medication management, self-care, socialization and transportation. But there are innovative strategies and initiatives to help combat these roadblocks.

Commentary: Meetings To Review Legislative Actions

On April 3, I will be hosting my first of three Post-Session Legislative Wrap Ups. Please join me to discuss what happened this past session as well as to discuss the ongoing budget battle and Medicaid expansion.

2014 Generation-to-Generation Gala

Senior Services of Alexandria hosted their annual Generation-to-Generation Gala last Saturday evening at the Mark Hilton in Alexandria. The 2014 honorees were Patty Moran and her daughter Kate along with Lonnie Rich and Marcia Call and their daughter Sara Rich.

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Accessibility on a Different Level

New lower-level in-law suite becomes primary living space.

How can you tell when in an-law suite is outperforming the usual requirements? Well, for starters, when the owners themselves decide to occupy the new accommodation as their primary living space.

Notes from the Producer: The Thousandth Night

The script of “The Thousandth Night” by Carol Wolf arrived in the mail unsolicited and unexpected almost 20 years ago, and I immediately knew I wanted to produce it.

Tuesday, April 1

Thanks, Coach…

…my Certified Holistic Health Coach, Rebecca Nenner, that is. (Visit for information leading to a healthier lifestyle.) More than a coach, Rebecca is my friend – and has been for many years. A former co-worker at the Connection Newspapers, Rebecca is as passionate about health and fitness as I am about the Boston Red Sox. She has been my guiding hand now for over five years, most especially when I was first diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer back in February, 2009. Although there are no whistles involved in her coaching, there are phone calls, e-mails, YouTube videos, Webinars and miscellaneous other advisories regularly landing in my in box. To say Rebecca has saved my life might be an overstatement, given that I am being treated by an oncologist; however, she has given me an alternate perspective on what I can do to help my body survive my treatment and live like I have a present and a future, a gift if ever there was one.