Stories for February 2014

Stories for February 2014


Thursday, February 27

Tease photo

Assistance Dogs: Making Connections

Service dogs and their “handlers” are teamed up through paws4people.

I was already one of those embarrassingly crazy dog people, when I first met Kyria and Terry Henry, founders of But I had no idea how little I truly knew about the bonds possible between animals and their people. After photographing puppies coming home for the first time, dogs sharing their favorite pastime and pets who are older and/or ill, I really thought I knew all about the animal/people connection.

Tease photo

Virginia Laws Help Local Governments Conceal 911 Calls from Public

Police agencies refuse to release audio from 911 calls, prompting questions about transparency.

When city officials in Alexandria released the audio of a 911 call in a high-profile murder case, many people interpreted the move as a step forward for transparency in a commonwealth known for opaque government.

Wednesday, February 26

Pedestrian Killed On Richmond highway

William Godfrey Jr., 68, of Alexandria was struck as he crossed Richmond Highway near the Backlick Road intersection on Feb. 20. A 58-year-old woman driving a Honda Civic struck Godfrey as she was traveling north on Richmond Highway. Godfrey was pronounced dead at the scene. Alcohol may have been a factor on the part of the pedestrian, police said.According to Fairfax County’s pedestrian safety information website, 10-20 people on average are killed every year, with another 300 injured. In 2012, there were 201 pedestrians involved in accidents in Fairfax County, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. As of July 2013, there were 98 pedestrians involved in crashes. In June 2013, a pedestrian crossing two lanes of still traffic Richmond Highway was hit by a marked police car traveling in the southbound left turning lanes. According to police, the 60-year-old Alexandria man was not in a crosswalk. The man received non-life threatening injuries. Fairfax County operates a Fairfax County Pedestrian Program. The following information is advice given from their Pedestrian Safety portion of the website at

Tease photo

Woodlawn Needlework Exhibit Starts March 1

Woodlawn, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will showcase the work of skilled needlers from across the country, including objects created by First Ladies and First Family members, during the site’s annual needlework show that begins on Saturday, March 1. “After celebrating the 50th anniversary of the needlework show last year, we wanted to do something special that would build on that excitement and success this year,” said John Riley, interim director of Woodlawn. “This year’s program will feature a blend of contemporary and historic needlework that is as impressive in its craftsmanship as it is in its historical significance.” In addition to hundreds of high quality needlework items on display throughout the Woodlawn mansion, the work of First Families on loan for the special exhibit, “Needlework and the White House: A First Family Tradition,” includes a rug by Barbara Bush, napkins embroidered by Edith Roosevelt, and Dolley Madison’s pin cushion. Visitors will also see needlework ornaments from the 1991 White House holiday display.

Tease photo

Seeing How Slaves Lived

In observance of African American History Month, Mount Vernon Estate offers a Slave Life specialty tour once a day throughout the month of February. The tour provides insight into the lives and contributions of the slaves who built and operated the plantation home of George and Martha Washington. The tour includes living quarters, working gardens as well as reproduction clothing, tools, furniture, cookware, ceramics, and children’s toys of the many enslaved individuals who lived there. Inclusion of the slave quarters provides a complete history of what life was like on the plantation; both those who owned it as well as those who toiled there. While there, visitors may run into the last serving valet to the late General Washington, Christopher Sheels (portrayed by Jonathan Wood). He walks the plantation as one of the important people from Washington’s world. More than 300 slaves “contributed heavily to the success of Mount Vernon,” Wood said. Seeing a live actor portray the character of one of the enslaved individuals guides visitors toward an understanding that Washington, while a great national hero, was also a conflicted individual. “General Washington did not free his slaves until his death” and the display of the slave quarters is a “part of telling his whole story,” Wood added.

Budget Process: Get Involved

Chairman gives blueprint for community engagement in Fairfax County budget process.

In Fairfax County, when we adopt the budget, we are investing in the priorities and needs of the community. At the center of this open and transparent process is community engagement. It is critical that we have the community at the table with us when we are considering changes to the budget that the County Executive released for advertisement at our Board Meeting on Feb. 25. Below are some opportunities to learn about the budget, ask questions and make suggestions during the months of March and April. I look forward to hearing from you.

High Five

I made it. It’s five years after receiving a terminal diagnosis on February 27, 2009 from my oncologist: stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, accompanied by a "13-month to two-year" prognosis. Let’s be honest, medical professionals don’t toss around the word "terminal" because you’re going to be treated at an airport. Presumably, they know their facts and figures as well as the patient’s present condition, confirmed by a variety of diagnostic results from X-Rays, CT Scans, P.E.T. Scans, lab work and of course the ever-popular biopsy, so their diagnosis/prognosis is a bit more than an educated guess. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to every rule and until proven otherwise, I was not about to succumb to their statistics. Still, based on the best medical knowledge available at the time, this patient (yours truly) was given a limited life expectancy and encouraged to take the vacation I had always dreamed of – for obvious you’re-life-is-now-shorter-than-you-ever-imagined-type reasons, and yet, five years hence, here I am.

Tease photo

Bulova: ‘This Will Be a Challenging Budget’

Fairfax County average homeowner will see tax bill increase $330 under County Executive’s proposed $7 billion budget.

Fairfax County Executive Edward Long, Jr. unveiled a $7 billion budget proposal Tuesday that reflects his "cautious and deliberative approach to budgeting," a result, Long said, of continuing uncertainty over federal spending and sluggish commercial tax revenues.

Letter to the Editor: A State ‘Religion?’

To the Editor: Public opinion on the subject of marriage is being systematically “stamped-out” in Virginia. Where it conflicts with the will of the State, conscience holds no bearing — so says the Obama faction. This causes me to think a mistake was made (inadvertently, I’m sure) when the editorial, written by Mary Kimm, was published in the Feb. 20 edition of the Gazette. It was placed under the subject heading, “Opinion,” which surely offends the worldview of those (like Obama) who’ve gone to such great lengths to ensure there is no opinion, beyond that of the State. In response to her curious recital, I submit the following observations: Homosexuality is religion. It is dark, humanist religion. The religion of those who hate God. It is agnosticism (Gk., ignorance), deliberately carried into practice, by those “in pursuit of a vain thing.”

Tease photo

Hollywood Comes to Fairfax

How to use Hollywood-style portrait techniques to photograph adoptable animals.

Animals at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter were given the celebrity treatment on Feb. 23 when a team from the non-profit Shelter Art Foundation taught shelter staff and volunteers how to use Hollywood-style portrait techniques to photograph their adoptable animals.

Giving Bianca a Second Chance

A Fairfax County Animal Shelter happy ending.

Bianca, a nine-year-old, female, German shepherd mix dog, had been living her life on the end of a chain in a rural part of Virginia. In late January, an unknown stray dog approached Bianca and attacked her. Bianca’s owner came outside and in an attempt to stop the attack he hit both dogs with a shovel, striking Bianca over the head and injuring her. Rather than pursue vet care, the owner drove Bianca to the local pound and surrendered her. For the next 36 hours, Bianca sat with no medical care, until a sympathetic staff person called the shelter’s rescue partner at the Highland County Humane Society in rural Virginia.

Tease photo

‘We Will Not Tolerate Unsafe Driving’

Police want motorists to get the message from their new cruiser.

There’s a new weapon in the Fairfax County Police Department’s arsenal, but this one has four tires and an engine. It’s a new cruiser covered with messages warning people not to drive impaired or distracted. It was unveiled on Friday, Feb. 21, at the Sully District Station, and the station’s commander, Capt. Ed O’Carroll, explained its significance.

Commentary: Schools, Medicaid at Issue in State Budget

Last week, the initial skirmish over the state budget erupted in the Virginia legislature. The proposed House and Senate budgets are significantly different in how they address elementary-secondary education. Virginia provides about 23 percent of Fairfax County’s public school funding. The federal government pays about 5 percent and the remainder comes from Fairfax County, which is largely funded by real estate taxes. The only Northern Virginia County with lower real estate taxes is Arlington County.

Letter to the Editor: Letting Domestic Violence Victims Down

To the Editor: State Senate Bill 510 — prohibiting individuals who have been convicted of the misdemeanors of stalking, sexual battery, or assault and battery of a family member, from possessing a firearm for a period of five years following their conviction, after which their gun rights would be automatically restored — passed the Virginia State Senate with bipartisan support. It then went to a sub-committee in the House of Delegates, where it quickly died.

Mount Vernon Pets

The Mount Vernon Gazette presents it's winter/spring pet edition, featuring readers' pet photos

Tease photo

Grand Champions

On Feb. 22, at Gar-Field's Dance Invitational in Woodbridge, the Carl Sandburg Middle School Dance Team competed in the middle school category against local dance teams from Fairfax County Public Schools and Prince William County Schools.

The Mardula Pet Parade

Francis and Susan J. Mardula of Alexandria have volunteered for 21 years at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Susan Mardula writes: Our lives have truly been enriched by the animals we have adopted over the years and by the wonderful animal caring people we met through our volunteer work.When my husband and I first met, we each had pets with “S” names. We continued the tradition over the years.

Column: Amusings

Many people wonder about George Washington's Grist Mill, which is on Mount Vernon highway up near Route 1. In fact, many people have no idea where his Grist Mill was/is. Even more people have no idea what the heck a Grist Mill is in the first place. So, I will humbly educate you (I went to Trinity College, and am qualified). A Grist Mill is where crops such as wheat, corn, oats and a few unavoidable dandelions are ground into powder, to be used for some purpose that escapes most people.

Mount Vernon Pets

’The Mount Vernon Gazette presents it's winter/spring pet edition, featuring readers' pet photos.

School Notes

Timothy Bryan Long graduated with a master of business administration degree through Averett University's Graduate and Professional Studies Program. Christopher Fry, who studies electrical engineering, and Jocelyn Griser, who studies mathematics, were named to the dean’s list at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Shannon Frydenlund was named to the president’s list at Clemson University. Shannon, a graduate of West Potomac High School, is majoring in elementary education. Leah Griser, Sophia Naide and Phoenix Wilson have been named to the honors list at Mary Baldwin College. Anna Dixon, who majors in nursing, and Carolyn G. Lucas, who majors in theatre, were both named to the dean’s list at DeSales University. Victoria Polchinski received academic honors from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University by making the university's dean's list for the fall 2013 semester. Matthew Heller, a fourth-year student in the ASL-English interpretation program in RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf, made the dean's list for the fall 2013 semester. Kathleen Wyskoczka was named to the deans' list/honor roll at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wyskoczka is a junior pre-mild/moderate disabilities K-6 major in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Michael Patrick Flynn was named to the dean’s list at Texas Lutheran University.

Thursday, February 20

Tease photo

West Potomac’s Thompson Qualifies for States

Senior will compete on vault in Virginia Beach.

West Potomac's Monica Thompson will compete at the state gymnastics meet.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: January, 2014

In January 2014, 61 homes sold between $1,785,000-$95,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: January, 2014

Tease photo

Money on the Shelves: Jurisdictions Take Variety of Approaches to Funding Libraries

Some have recovered from the recession, others are still struggling.

What is the future of the neighborhood library?

Wednesday, February 19

Letter to the Editor: Still an Idea Worth Pursuing

To the Editor: On Feb. 6, my letter in the Gazette made the suggestion that the county and state should recycle all of the sand we find in our street gutters that was spread to improve traction for vehicles during snowy weather. My letter apparently struck a nerve with my down-the-street neighbor Paul Siegel who replied in last week's Gazette. Mr. Siegel sarcastically characterized my suggestion as the "independent invention of recommended Action C1-2 in Chapter IV of the Little Hunting Creek Watershed Management Plan of 2004" that was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2005. He conceded that, 9 years later, recommended Action C1-2 has not been acted upon.

Obituary: Richard Alan DeMello

On Feb. 11, 2014, Richard died at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was a loving husband for 42 years of Sharon (Henault) DeMello; loving father of Shawna Dillon (James Dillon); cherished member of the Henault family; a friend to so many. Richard is survived by a brother, Leon and a sister, Karen DeMello. Richard was an electronics engineer in communications for the Department of Defense, Navy.

Tease photo

Winter Fun

Families, children, and teens took full advantage of the snow. Some took this time to build snow men in front of their homes. While others engaged in the other activities. A local mother and son chose to go sledding together.

Tease photo

Winter Landscapes

White Oaks Park in Alexandria offered quiet reflection after the snowstorm hit the area last week. Fallen leaves float in the ice-covered water. White Oaks Park is in the wooded area of Alexandria on Devonshire Road.

Editorial: Fundamental Freedom To Choose To Marry

Virginia is historically slow in extending rights.

In 1967, Virginia was one of 16 states that banned interracial marriage and had criminal penalties for violators. Mildred Jeter, an African-American woman, and Richard Loving a white man, married in 1958, were convicted and banished from living in Virginia for 25 years to avoid serving a one-year prison sentence. On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, overturned the convictions of Mildred and Richard Loving, declaring the ban on interracial marriage unconstitutional.

Until Further Notice

Not to state the obvious (which I readily admit I do), but to be given a terminal diagnosis: stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, along with a rather disappointing prognosis: "13 months to two years" is a challenging set of extremely unexpected (given my immediate family’s medical history) circumstances. I don’t want to say that I live under a dark cloud – because I don’t like the negative implication or reaction it conjures, but I definitely feel as if I have a metaphorical sword of Damocles hanging over my head; which I only refer to as an-out-of-context Three Stooges reference wherein a non-Stooge was innocently standing under a pie which Moe had thrown to the ceiling and there it stuck, hanging precariously over the character’s head. Now I still don’t know the proper historical context of the sword of Damocles, I only know the Three Stooges version, but there was some imminent danger involved (not death, mind you), but rather a falling pie which ultimately landed flush on the character’s face as she looked up to make further inquiries. Nevertheless, pie issues/references notwithstanding, having seen my oncologist today while being infused and receiving a big smile/ "you’re going great"/thumbs-up set of gestures/reactions while reclining in my Barcalounger with a chemotherapy I.V. dripping medicine into my right arm, is the kind of super-positive feedback with which I can live. Along with my every-three-week pre-chemotherapy lab work and my every-three-month CT Scan followed by my every-three-month face-to-face appointment with my oncologist, this is how I roll. Worrying about upcoming tests, waiting anxiously for results, trying not to anticipate good, bad or indifferent; living day to day and trying to appreciate my good fortune and the unexpected above-average quality of life with which I’ve been blessed – for a terminal cancer patient, that is.

Tease photo

How Red Is the 10th District?

Wolf’s retirement sparks crowded political stage as both parties vie for coveted Congressional seat.

U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf’s announcement in December that he would not seek reelection to an 18th term in Congress came as a surprise to both Republicans and Democrats. Wolf’s retirement notice instantly set off a feeding frenzy among politicians maneuvering to gain the Northern Virginia Congressional seat.

Tease photo

Envisioning a Launch Pad for Young Adults

Paws4people develops pilot for former foster children, others.

Imagine if in your childhood, it was normal for a social worker to show up unexpectedly, hand you a big black garbage bag and tell you to pack your things.

Obituary: Peter C. Williams

Peter Carrington Williams, a prominent attorney and director of community service projects for the Alexandria Rotary Club, died suddenly Feb. 13 while helping a neighbor clear snow from a driveway on Collingwood Road. He was 67.

Commentary:Budget Debate Begins

This week in Richmond brought some surprises, good news and some frustration. First the good news. On Sunday, the House and Senate announced their budgets signaling the beginning of budget negotiations. Senator Puller was able to secure language to prioritize funding for preliminary engineering and environmental studies necessary to continue the U.S. 1 Multimodal Transit Analysis Study. I am hopeful we can keep that in the final budget once the negotiations begin. Second, the Senate budget amendments also proposed some Senate Republicans’ alternative way to provide insurance coverage to low income Virginians using a “revenue recovery fund” instead of an outright Medicaid expansion. There is some bipartisan support for expanding coverage, but it is not clear if there are enough votes to get legislation through the House of Delegates.

Commentary: Funding Successes in Senate

On Sunday, Jan. 16 the Senate Finance Committee presented its biennial budget for 2014-2015. In a year of fiscal constraints, projected revenue shortfalls and deep partisan divides in the legislature, I have to commend my fellow senators for coming up with a budget that balances policy initiatives, pre-existing responsibilities and financial reality. I was proud to be appointed to three subcommittees of the Finance Committee: General Government & Technology, Health and Human Resources, and Transportation.

Tease photo

Schools’ Band Director Honored

Jane Morgan, the band director at Stratford Landing Elementary School and Waynewood Elementary School, has been named the 2013-14 Elementary Band Director of the Year by the Fairfax County Band Directors Association. Morgan has been teaching band at Stratford Landing since 1999, and said she has learned a great deal from her students. It is her students that have brought her the most joy in her position, Morgan said. “It’s great to see what the kids accomplish and how far they go,” Morgan said. “They just keep me fresh every day.” Morgan has also taught middle and high school students.

Tease photo

Oratorical Winner: Jacob Atagi

Jacob Atagi, is the winner of this year's American Legion Post 24 Oratorical Contest. A freshman at West Potomac High School, Atagi represented Post 24 at the 17th District American Legion Oratorical Contest Jan. 25 at McLean Post 270.

Tease photo

Honoring George Washington

Mount Vernon was visited by many Monday all hoping to honor General George Washington. Members of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry’s Old Guard fired a 21 gun salute in honor of Gen. George Washington on Monday morning at the Mount Vernon Estate. Gov. Terry McAuliffe was in attendance at the Monday morning wreath laying at Washington's tomb in Mount Vernon.

Monday, February 17

Editorial: Fundamental Freedom To Choose To Marry

Virginia is historically slow in extending rights.

In 1967, Virginia was one of 16 states that banned interracial marriage and had criminal penalties for violators. Mildred Jeter, an African-American woman, and Richard Loving a white man, married in 1958, were convicted and banished from living in Virginia for 25 years to avoid serving a one-year prison sentence

Thursday, February 13

Letter: Correcting Error on Mental Health Services

Fairfax County serving more people now.

A Feb. 11 editorial by Mary Kimm, referencing reporting by Michael Pope, makes an incorrect assertion that our services to people with mental illness in Fairfax County have been “dramatically cut back.”

Richmond Report: Ethics Reform Falls Short

An ethics reform package passed the Virginia Senate on Monday. Unfortunately, the bill lacks teeth and is only a small step toward restoring public confidence in state government.

Wednesday, February 12

Tease photo

UCM Marks 45th Anniversary

Organization will increase outreach this year

Many people think of United Community Ministries as just a food bank and a thrift store, executive director Shirley Marshall said. “That is all they know about us. A lot of what we are trying to do this year, on our 45th anniversary, is say, there’s a little more to us than that actually,” Marshall said. As UCM marks its 45th anniversary, Marshall said the organization is increasing outreach efforts to make sure they are known in the community.

MVCCA Lists 2013 Actions

The Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations released the following summary of their work in 2013. Standing committees of the council that provided the substantive work on a given issue are shown in italics. Source:

Tease photo

Thirty Travel to Richmond

VIC Raises Issues of the Poor

Calling for expanded mental health services and greater access to Medicaid for the most vulnerable in the Mount Vernon community, a 30-member delegation from VIC traveled to Richmond, Feb. 6, to speak with area legislators.

Commentary: Session Midpoint: Twelve Bills Marching On

As we approach the midpoint of this session, I have more good news. Twelve of my bills have passed the House, are poised to pass, or are causing changes:

Commentary: Seven Bills To ‘Crossover’

The 2014 Session continues to roll along with new excitement every day — we’ve tackled issues as diverse as ethics reform and hunting on Sundays. I’ve been proud to support my good friends Senators Creigh Deeds and George Barker in their campaign to bring reforms to the mental health system in Virginia and bring much needed help to those suffering without a way to get the help they need.

Mental Health and Budget Items in Richmond

You most likely heard that my colleague, Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County), underwent a horrible ordeal last fall with his son Gus, who was suffering from severe mental illness. The Deeds family had realized that Gus needed urgent help and were doing everything they could to ensure his well-being, but a psychiatric bed could not be found for him when it was desperately needed. In a horrific turn of events, Gus critically stabbed his father and then took his own life.

Tease photo

Students Honored at Science Fair

The following West Potomac High School students received awards for their projects at the school’s science fair on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Letter to the Editor: Why Not Recycle Sand and Salt?

To the Editor: I was pleased to read Mr. Spiegel’s independent invention of recommended Action C1-2 in Chapter IV of the Little Hunting Creek Watershed Management Plan of 2004.

Tuesday, February 11

An Unexpected Present

Not that I minded it in the least (in fact, I appreciated it in the most), but I received my first senior discount the other day. I was fast-fooding at my local Roy Rogers restaurant when the unexpected kindness occurred. Considering that I’m not at the age yet when such discounts are typically available, I certainly did not (do not) presume that my appearance somehow reflects an age which I am not. In truth, I don’t believe it does. So even though I didn’t ask for the age-related discount, I was offered/given it nonetheless. As the cashier tallied my bill, she then spoke the price and adjusted it downward 10 percent for my surprise "senior" discount. On hearing the lower price and the reason for it, I immediately responded: "Oh, you’re giving senior discounts to people over 40?" To which she replied, while looking me directly in the eye: "No. Over 30." Laughing at her quick-thinking quip, I thanked her again for the discount and commended her on her excellent answer/customer service.

Tease photo

Home Design: What the Pros Know

A look inside the homes of some of the area’s top builders.

Remodeling industry professionals spend their days helping clients create dream homes, adding quartzite counter tops and outdoor, stacked stone fireplaces, turning ideas and photos into functional, chic living spaces.


The Northern Virginia Regional MATHCOUNTS competitions were held on Saturday, Feb. 1, at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke and at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria. This year, because of the exceptionally large number of students participating, the Regional competition had to be split between two venues.

Friday, February 7

Tease photo

Cartoon: Absolute Proof Global Warming is a Hoax

Absolute Proof Global Warming is a Hoax

Commentary: Speak Up for Pollution Restrictions

Virginia is not immune to the dangers of climate change. In recent years, we have seen the damage sea level rise and storm surges have caused in our lowland areas. The science is clear that we must cut carbon to the levels scientists say are safe to address these issues.

Classified Advertising February 5, 2014

Read the latest here!

Thursday, February 6

Editorial: Pet Photos, Stories for Pet Connection

The Pet Connection, a bi-annual themed edition, will publish Feb. 26. We invite you to send us stories about your pets, photos of you and/or your family with your cats, dogs, hamsters, snakes, lizards, frogs, rabbits, or whatever other creatures share your home or yard with you.

Editorial: For Nonpartisan Redistricting

Virginia is a purple state, gerrymandered to bleed red.

Consider that in statewide elections, Virginia voters have chosen Democrats in the last two presidential elections, for U.S. Senate, for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. Almost none of these elections was by a wide margin, but it’s clear that Virginia is a purple state leaning blue.

Wednesday, February 5

Tease photo

Nine Candidates Vying for Attention in 8th Congressional District Democratic Primary

Race to replace Jim Moran is expected to be competitive and expensive.

It's been three weeks since longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) announced that he would not be seeking a 13th term in Congress, opening up an epic primary fight that is now starting to take shape.

Obit: Gladys Seisler

Gladys Seisler, a retired elementary and special education teacher from Long Island, N.Y., and a 21-year resident of Alexandria, died on Jan. 28, 2014 after six years battling fourth stage breast cancer.

Bank Makes Donation to Police Foundation

$6,500 raised for Fallen Officers Memorial.

Officials from John Marshall Bank gathered Jan. 30 to present a check for $6,500 to Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook and Police Foundation Chairman Willem Polak to go towards the building of a Fallen Officers Memorial at APD headquarters.

Senior Housing Options

One size doesn’t fit all.

Senior Services of Alexandria’s (SSA) Feb. 12 Speaker Series is about “Senior Housing: New and Innovative Solutions.”

From a Mentor’s Perspective

My journey as a mentor began in early 2010. I felt called to become more involved in the local community and I have always had a passion for helping kids in need.

Free Seminar Addresses Heart Health

For Inova Alexandria Hospital’s Chief of Cardiac Surgery Dr. Linda Bogar, matters of the heart are a passion she shares with our patients every day of the year.

Editorial: Few Thoughts on General Assembly Action

Yes, allow homeschoolers access to programs in public school.

It’s possible that this is not the right bill exactly, and in general, we favor local control. But it is wrongheaded of public schools to force families into a take-it-or-leave-it position.

Letter: Need Help For Dog Fire Victims

To the Editor

Virginia Health Department Forecasts Seasonal ‘Stomach Bug’

Statewide data monitored by the Virginia Department of Health indicate that norovirus was arriving in Virginia just in time for the cold weather.

Pet Photos, Stories for Pet Connection

The Pet Connection, a bi-annual themed edition, will publish Feb. 26. We invite you to send us stories about your pets, photos of you and/or your family with your cats, dogs, hamsters, snakes, lizards, frogs, rabbits, or whatever other creatures share your home or yard with you.

Tease photo

Consistent Bedtimes Linked to Improved Wellbeing in Children

Local experts offer suggestions for helping youngsters get a good night’s sleep.

When the clock strikes 9 on any given evening, 13-year-old twins Timothy and Danny Gulyn and their 11-year-old twin brothers, Christopher and Jonathan, know that it’s time for bed. Whether they are on vacation during the summer or at their Arlington home on a school night, the siblings follow a consistent routine that has them tucked-in at the same time every day.

‘Ella’ has Scatitude

MetroStage production runs through March 16.

Based on the book by Lee Summers and conceived and directed by Broadway royalty Maurice Hines, “Ella” takes the audience on a musical journey through the celebrated singer’s life.

Transfer of Power in State Senate

The Virginia Senate underwent a significant transfer of power last week following the elections of Senators Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun) and Lynwood Lewis (D-Accomack).

Piece of Mind

Today I was eating a Tootsie Roll, and while chewing it, felt something sharp against my gum. Knowing my candy, sharp I should not feel, so immediately I stopped chewing in hopes of locating the sensation; which I did. It turns out that I broke off the top half of a previously (years ago) installed dental crown. Fortunately, the crown was still in my mouth, so I was able to retrieve it. Upon closer examination of it and the now crown-less tooth, it appears that the crown and the tooth are completely intact (undamaged) and perhaps a simple re-cementing at the dentist’s office awaits, a repair achieved much less expensively than replacing the entire crown. (I can hope, can’t I? After all, I am a cancer patient; hope is what I do.)

Tease photo

Helping Area Residents Sign Up for Health Insurance

More than 50 volunteers who are helping local residents sign up for health care insurance were recognized by state and local leadership last Saturday. To date, these Certified Application Counselors (CACs) have helped more than 500 individuals with the new Marketplace system, overcoming barriers of language, technology and understanding the new health care law. The volunteers were thanked for the commitment and service:

Tease photo

How to Fix I-66?

More lanes, bus rapid transit, rail, spot improvements proposed.

It’s said that nothing’s certain but death and taxes – but most of the time, traffic congestion on I-66 can be added to that list. So VDOT’s seeking input from the public on how best to alleviate it.

Hyland Leads Annual ‘Tour’

Economy, development and budget among major topics.

Instead of a bus, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland took community members on a virtual smart car tour this year at the district’s 27th annual town hall.

Wolverine Marksmen Win 3rd in a Row

The West Potomac Rifle Team won its third consecutive match on Saturday, to improve its record to 3-1.

Students Celebrate African American Pride Week

West Potomac’s Black Student Union spreads awareness.

Students at West Potomac High School are spreading awareness of African American History Month by hosting events and activities that promote African American culture and history.

Leading Inova Mount Vernon

Inova’s Mount Vernon Hospital medical director, Dr. Donald Brideau, is the hospital’s interim CEO.

Bills Are Moving Forward in Richmond

Several of my bills moved in the Virginia House of Delegates last week and we saw some political theater in Richmond. Several of my ethics bills are either passing or being incorporated into "omnibus" ethics legislation.


Most everyone has heard the story about George Washington's feat of throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac River.

Chamber Salutes New Chairman

United Way's Haggerty takes the helm for 2014.

The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce officially welcomed United Way Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Joseph V. Haggerty as its 2014 Chairman of the Board at the Chairman's Community Reception Jan. 23.