Stories for January 2014

Stories for January 2014


Thursday, January 30

Confused and then Infused

Since March 6, 2009, nearly five years now, save for nine months when I was taking an oral chemotherapy medication at home, every three weeks I have been infused with some sort of chemotherapy drug. In that time, I have certainly become familiar and fairly well-known to the various staff at The Infusion Center. What follows is the most recent exchange with the receptionist in Oncology, as best as I can recall it.

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Debate Over School Budget Continues

Later start times, class size among topics at School Board public hearing.

Later start times, class size, and cuts to needs-based staffing were major themes of the testimony given at the Jan. 27 public hearing on Superintendent Karen Garza’s proposed budget.

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Board Cites Lack of Funds for School Renovations

Aging schools collide with increasing student enrollments.

While the 2015 to 2019 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) passed at the Fairfax County Public School Board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 3, many board members expressed concerns with the program.

Sharpshooting Richards Leads West Potomac Past TC

Senior guard scores 22 points, makes six 3-pointers.

The West Potomac boys' basketball team beat rival T.C. Williams on Jan. 25.

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Jim Moran: The $15 Million Congressman

During his years in Congress, Moran raised and spent about $1 million each campaign cycle.

One of the first things that happened after U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) announced he would not be running for reelection this year was that he cancelled a fundraising event.

Wednesday, January 29

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Cartoon: 10 to 20 Years

10 to 20 Years

Letter: Bonuses for All County Employees

To the Editor

Letter: Restore and Destroy?

To the Editor

Letter: Where's School System's Focus?

To the Editor

Lack of Funds for School Renovations

Aging schools collide with increasing student enrollments.

While the 2015 to 2019 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) passed at the Fairfax County Public School Board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 3, many board members expressed concerns with the program.

Winter Fun at the Mount Vernon RECenter

Get in shape and learn to skate this winter.

Although it’s open all year round, the Mount Vernon RECenter is perfect for the winter months.

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Honoring Beautification Efforts Along Route 1

SFDC presents businesses with Mary Thonen Awards.

Mehr is among several other business owners along Richmond Highway who were honored for their beautification efforts at the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation Open House and Mary Thonen Awards.

Explore Offerings at City’s Recreation Centers

Winter classes and club activities are underway at most of the city’s recreation centers.

The Day Virginia Cried

Whatever the facts prove to be, federal corruption charges leveled against Virginia's 71st governor are nothing short of astonishing. No such thing has ever occurred in the state known as the "Mother of Presidents."

Major General Marcia Anderson

Highest-ranking African-American female Army officer reflects on achievements.

Major General Marcia Anderson of the Army Reserve at Fort Belvoir is the Army’s highest-ranking African-American female.

Her Harp Provides Musical Therapy

Debbie Doyle eases stress at Mount Vernon Hospital.

Deborah Mary Doyle has been playing the harp for patients and staff of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital for the past three years.

Hybrid Tax Repealed, Senate Shakeup and Death Penalty

The second week of the General Assembly Session saw the end of the Hybrid Tax, sharpening rhetoric on Medicaid, debate on firearms safety and the death penalty, and brought clarity on the composition of the Senate.

Helping Military Families

Three weeks into session and the excitement continues, each day bringing a new group of constituents and advocates who visit my office and impress me with their passion and commitment to a wide range of social and economic issues.

Friday, January 24

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Mount Vernon Girls’ Basketball Showing Improvement

Majors have won 4 of 5, including victory over Oakton.

The Mount Vernon girls' basketball team is 9-3.

Thursday, January 23

Classified Advertising January 22, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

Wednesday, January 22

Officer Involved in Shooting Cleared

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh has informed Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, that he finds no basis for criminal liability on the part of the officer who discharged his weapon in the fatal shooting of James Bryant on Oct. 30, 2013 at 9155 Richmond Highway.

State Budget Considerations Begin

Last week, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia’s 8th District announced he would not seek re-election. For 23 years he has ably represented the progressive values of the people of Northern Virginia.

Hybrid Tax Repeal On Its Way


The General Assembly is now in full swing with action on major bills starting to move through. The first bill I introduced was the repeal of the $64/year tax on hybrid vehicles – HB4. In the last few days, the Senate approved the repeal of the Hybrid Tax. A vote by the full house comes later this week.

Work on Display

Local woodworker participates in Sugarloaf Crafts Festival.

Alexandria woodworker Benjamin Leatham will be among the more than 250 jury selected artists showcasing their works at the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival from Jan. 24-26 at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly.

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Into the Budget Fray

Bulova highlights accomplishments, challenges in annual address.

Despite the lingering impact of an anemic economy, and the regional ripple effects of federal sequestration, Fairfax County residents will see some concrete signs of progress this year.

Editorial: Extend Health Coverage in Virginia

Standing on what is essentially scorched earth, Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly have condemned hundreds of thousands of poor Virginians to living without health coverage even though it would be fully funded by Federal money for the next three years, and with Virginia paying 10 percent after five years.

Friends Forever

Since it had been more than a few months, today I summoned up the courage to Google my long-time friend and fellow stage IV lung cancer survivor, Suzanne. Suzanne and I had been years out of touch (for no real reason other than initiative and the geographic consideration that she lived in Barnstable, Ma. and I live in Burtonsville, Md.) and recently back in touch – due to our identical cancer diagnoses. I learned that she had succumbed to her disease back in October, 2013. We last had contact electronically back in the summer. She was extremely weak then, she said, too weak to talk, so e-mailing was best. In that e-mail, ultimately her last, she wrote that the most recent chemotherapy drug with which she was infused was no longer effective and that her oncologist had no other drugs left to recommend. Not that she said it in so many words, but at that point her prognosis was grim. She offered that her two boys were with her and from them she would gain great comfort. The news was very unsettling to me and I was afraid that this e-mail might be our last – and so it was.

Friday, January 17

Mount Vernon Home Sales: December, 2013

In December 2013, 106 homes sold between $1,750,000-$95,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: December, 2013

Thursday, January 16

Classified Advertising January 15, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

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Virginia Supreme Court Opens Access to Audio Recordings of Oral Arguments

Policy change overturns blackout instituted in 2008.

Members of the Virginia Supreme Court have a New Year’s Resolution — become more transparent.

Wednesday, January 15

Multiple Challenges

Mount Vernon district entering “a transformational era.”

This is the third and final part in the series on the accomplishments of 2013 and the priorities for 2014 for Mount Vernon. In this part, community leaders, appointed county officials and the district police commander offer their perspectives.

Affordable Housing for Low and Moderate Income Reisdents

Fairfax County Public Information Officer. Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA). Patterson stated that her agency does not have studies available that analyze the market for affordable independent rental housing for seniors in the Mount Vernon area.

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Continuing Revitalization on Richmond Highway

Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation Has Big Plans for 2014

Route 1 revitalization has been a major topic in Southeast Fairfax County for several years now, and the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation will continue this effort into 2014. Edythe Kelleher, the executive director of SFDC, said that the group has a lot of plans that will impact residents and business owners along the Richmond Highway corridor.

From Late Night Comedy to Your Bedroom

Why the General Assembly matters more in Virginia than most states.

The Virginia General Assembly began its annual session last week on Jan. 8. The actions of the Virginia General Assembly matter more to localities than it would in many other states. In Virginia, localities have only the power specifically granted by the General Assembly, the Dillon rule. So, for example, Montgomery County and Prince Georges County in Maryland recently voted to increase the minimum wage in those localities. They didn’t need permission from Maryland General Assembly to do so. Arlington and Alexandria might be inclined to follow suit (the District government also voted to increase the minimum wage) but do not have that power.

In Case Someone Is Wondering

I don’t mind being alive, really I don’t. Occasionally though, I receive well-intended inquiries – electronic and otherwise, from people (who know my cancer story) who are sort of wondering if perhaps I’m not. When people haven’t heard from me in a while – and this is a category of people with whom I don’t have regular/recurring interactions, but rather a group of people who reach out and attempt to touch me (figuratively speaking) every three or four months or so – there is a presumption on their part that my silence (so far as they know) is not in fact golden, but rather ominous, as in the cancer might have won and yours truly didn’t. And when I respond, their pleasure/relief at my not having succumbed to the disease is quite positive, generally speaking. Their honesty and joy in learning that I’m still alive is both rewarding and gratifying. Rewarding in that they care and gratifying in that I must be doing something right which enables me to sustain myself through a very difficult set of medical circumstances: stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, the terminal kind (is there any other kind?).

Let Sun Shine on Virginia’s Financial Disclosure Laws

State legislators turn attention to ethics in wake of McDonnell gift scandal.

As members of the Virginia General Assembly convene for the first time since last February, legislators are stampeding to introduce ethics legislation in response to the gift scandal which engulfed then Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). The revelations last spring about numerous undisclosed gifts and purported loans from businessman Jonnie Williams to McDonnell — including a $6,500 Rolex watch engraved to the "71st Governor of Virginia" and $35,000 in gifts and catering for his daughters’ weddings — shined a spotlight on Virginia’s porous financial disclosure laws.

Thursday, January 9

Classified Advertising January 8, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

Wednesday, January 8

Living With My Decisions

On multiple occasions throughout my nearly five years of being treated for stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, my oncologist has given me opportunities to stop and/or take a break from my treatment, or to consider alternatives to the normal protocols – for the expressed (literally) purpose of sustaining/enhancing the unexpected, above-average quality of life I have mostly experienced during my nearly non-stop, every three-week chemotherapy infusions which began in early March, 2009. The goal being to enable me to enjoy my life and not be subjected to/beaten down by the ravaging and debilitating effects of chemotherapy.

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Kitchen Organization for the New Year

Local organizers, designers and culinary experts offer smart tips for making space and clearing clutter.

If organizing an unruly kitchen, one where there never seems to be enough space for storage containers and pots and pans, is on your list of resolutions this year, the project might be less daunting than you think. From creating a system for grouping spices to keeping plates in easy reach, local experts share secrets for a well-maintained kitchen. Hang pots and pans inside pantry doors, says Sallie Kjos of GreyHunt Interiors in Chantilly. "It organizes them, but decoratively can look effective."

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Top Designs of 2013

Local builders look back on their most impressive spaces.

From outdoor patios with the comforts of indoor family rooms to a stark white bathroom replete with Carrara marble flooring, local designers said they’ve created some spectacular living spaces in 2013. Their personal favorites may be surprising, and include a lot of kitchens and bathrooms.

Letter: Favoring Heavy Rail

Del. Scott Surovell has long advocated extension of the Metro Yellow line along the Richmond Highway through Mt. Vernon to Ft. Belvoir as the best solution to engender a long list of urbanistic, spatial, aesthetic, environmental and financial improvements to the entire corridor. He asked recently that others provide their opinion on the matter as the final steps in the study are reaching their conclusion and I am pleased to do so.

Letter: Ensure Qualified Appointments

At the Dec. 3, 2013 meeting of the Board of Supervisors, at Supervisor Hyland's request, the prospective re-appointment of Elizabeth Martin to an at-large seat on the County Wetlands Board was deferred and letters sent to the BOS in opposition to her re-appointment (including from me) were referred to the County Attorney's Office so that they can investigate allegations in those letters concerning actions by the Wetlands Board and Ms. Martin, and report back to the Board of Supervisors.

Trendiest Color for 2014: Radiant Orchid

Local designers offer tips on using this exotic hue tastefully and share their own color predictions.

It has been called exotic, vibrant and even magical. Now it has been named the 2014 color of the year: orchid, or radiant orchid to be exact.

Honoring Best in Business

New award recognizes outstanding non-profit organization.

Distinguished chamber members were recognized at the annual Holiday Biz Awards Celebration hosted by Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce.

Week in Alexandria: 1/08/14

Highlights from this week in Alexandria.

Decriminalizing Suicide

General Assembly to consider abolishing common-law crime of suicide.

Suicide is illegal in Virginia, one of the few states that has not yet abolished the English common-law tradition of criminalizing the act of intentionally causing one's own death.

State Legislators Head to Richmond

Proposed bills and priorities include ethics reform and ABC transformation

As the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 8, several delegates from Fairfax County have written bills that tackle some of the issues they believe are important to Virginians.

Twisted Psychology

TC teacher sentenced to year for inappropriate contact with female students.

TC teacher sentenced to year for inappropriate contact with female students.

‘Task Force Smile’ To Help Critically Ill Military Children

For more than a decade, Alexandria resident and Realtor Linda Wolf has been collecting toys for hospitalized children in the Washington D.C.- metropolitan area. An independent volunteer and toy collection organizer at National Children’s Medical Center for 11 years, she moved her efforts over to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) with a program she started, “Task Force Smile,” under the non-profit America’s Adopt a Soldier.

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Style and Harmony on a Bookshelf

Clever ideas for organizing bookcases.

Whether one’s bookshelves house a literary library or a mixture of photos and media equipment, most do double or triple storage duty. Because bookshelves are multifunctional, however, it is easy to end up with a chaotic and unorganized space.

Setting the Tone

First redevelopment proposal of waterfront plan heads to City Council.

Developer Carr City Centers wants to build the Cummings Hotel, a five-story building with 120 hotel rooms, a restaurant and a meeting room.

Bathroom Organization for New Year

Simple strategies for storing bathroom essentials.

Cluttered bathrooms where the medicine cabinet contains everything from batteries to old toothbrushes and a linen closet where towels and sheets are intermingled with flashlights and scrub brushes can be the bane of anyone’s existence. However, a new year can offer a fresh start in one of the most-used rooms in one’s home.

Taylor Run Neighborhood

Caroling and the bird census at Taylor Run Neighborhood.

New Leadership for Democrats

Clarence Tony elected chairman of the Alexandria Democratic Committee.

Only a few weeks ago, Democrats swept all five of Virginia's statewide offices — largely with the help of organizations from Northern Virginia.

Much To Be Done

Perspectives from those working on community’s front lines.

In this second in the series the leaders of private organizations also ranked transportation improvements, expansion of health care services, and funding the needs of public school programs at or near the top of their lists.

Association of Retirees Elects Officers

Dutzman honored for 15 years of service.

More than 70 members and guests joined Police Chief Earl Cook and Fire Chief Adam Thiel in attending the annual Alexandria Retired Police, Fire and Sheriff's Association holiday celebration Dec. 12, where the 2014 officers were sworn in for the coming year.

Alexandria's New Book Shelf

DreamDog Foundation creates citywide literacy program.

Passionate about sharing the gift of reading, the DreamDog Foundation intends to get books into the hands of every child in need in the City of Alexandria through its new literacy program called Alexandria's Book Shelf.

Bulletin Board for 1/8/14

Bulletin Board for 1/8/14

Alexandria Bulletin Board for 1/8/14

Winter Programs offered in Alexandria.

Surovell Offers Government Reform Bills

Del. Scott Surovell (D-44) is introducing five bills for consideration by the General Assembly designed to close loopholes identified by ethics abuses identified during 2013.

Alexandria Calendar for 1/8/14

The Alexandria Calendar for 1/8/14

Thursday, January 2

Classified Advertising January 1, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

Wednesday, January 1

Ceramic Therapy for a Wounded Warrior

Art assists veteran’s recovery.

His treatment at Fort Belvoir includes vision and speech therapy, treatment to improve his memory and physical training. All of that is helping, Meadows said, but he surprises everyone when he identifies the key to his ongoing recovery — ceramics.

Julie Crenshaw Van Fleet Dies at 61

Longtime Old Town resident Julie Crenshaw Van Fleet died Dec. 18, 2013 at her home in Alexandria.

Santa's Helpers

BFSPA makes holidays bright for area children.

BFSPA makes holidays bright for area children.

Priorities for ‘14

Elected officials cite accomplishments and challenges.

This is the first in a three-part series on the accomplishments of 2013 and the priorities for 2014 for Mount Vernon by local and state elected officials. Community leaders will share their observations in subsequent parts.

Looking to Hear from Readers in New Year

As local, weekly newspapers, the Gazette Packet’s mission is to deliver news readers need close to home, to help readers enjoy great local places and events, to advocate for community good, to call attention to unmet needs, to provide a forum for dialogue on local concerns, and to celebrate and record milestones and events in community and people’s lives.

Alexandria Bulletin Board for 1/1/14

Alexandria Bulletin Board for 1/1/14.

Mount Vernon Military Notes for 1/1/14.

Mount Vernon Military Notes for 1/1/14.

Mount Vernon Bulletin Board for 1/1/14

Mount Vernon Bulletin Board for 1/1/14.

Hoping for an Angel

Rising Hope volunteer needs help for his son.

A volunteer with years of service at Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church which aids the needy along the Route 1 corridor, Abderrahim Lahlou believes people can be angels.

Letter: Targeting Seniors

To the Editor

Letter: Future of Woodlawn

To the Editor

Holiday Cheer Spreads to Homebound Seniors

Senior Services of Alexandria’s elves were spreading holiday cheer to homebound Alexandria’s seniors.

More Challenges For Metro Station

Series of setbacks have delayed Environmental Impact Study of Potomac Yard station.

The future is uncertain for the Potomac Yard Metro station, a long-planned stop on the blue and yellow lines between the Braddock Road station and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport station.

Looking at the Year Ahead

In looking ahead for what Alexandria will be facing in 2014, a number of issues have carried forward from last year.

Alexandria Calendar for 1/1/14

Alexandria calendar for 1/1/14.

Firefighters and Friends collect more than 3,500 toys for area children.

Christmas came a few days early for more than 100 children from local Head Start programs as they picked out toys during the annual Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue toy drive Dec. 17 at Penn Daw Station 11.