Stories for July 2014

Stories for July 2014


Thursday, July 31

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LTA Stages ‘Spamalot’

Musical comedy is based on “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

The Little Theater of Alexandria is staging the musical comedy “Spamalot” Aug. 2-23. The irreverent play, which won three Tony Awards, including the Tony for Best Musical in 2005, is adapted from the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” It originally starred Tim Curry as King Arthur, David Hyde Pierce as Sir Robin and Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot on Broadway.

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Springfield Shortlisted for FBI Headquarters

Other locations are Greenbelt and Landover.

Springfield could very well be the next site of the FBI headquarters. The General Services Administration and FBI announced Tuesday that Springfield was included on the shortlist for the new FBI headquarters.

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Laurel Hill Master Plan Meets Final Approval

Construction expected to begin this fall.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve the plan to develop the site of the former Lorton prison.

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Supervisors Deny Landfill Application

Board votes against plan to extend life of Lorton Landfill.

The Board of Supervisors voted late Tuesday to reject an EnviroSolutions application to extend the life of the Lorton construction debris landfill until 2034. Supervisors voted in a 6-4 vote to deny the application, which in effect will require the landfill to close by the end of 2018.

Obituary: Franklyn Robert Caruso

Franklyn Robert Caruso of Morris Plains, N.J., 79, died July 11, 2014 at Morristown Memorial Hospital.

House Fire Causes $50,000 in Damages

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a house fire on Tuesday, July 29, at approximately 9:45 a.m., in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County.

Mount Vernon Crime Report 7-31

The following incidents were reported by the Mount Vernon Police District Station.

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West Potomac Grad Lescher To Play Baseball at Penn

Pitcher enjoys Creedence Clearwater Revival, tacos.

Q&A with West Potomac grad Billy Lescher.

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Ireton Grad Cunningham to Play Lax at Rhodes College

Ireton Grad Cunningham to Play Lax at Rhodes College

Bishop Ireton grad Kendall Cunningham will play lacrosse at Rhodes College.

Wednesday, July 30

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Foreign Nationals Immersed in Local Lifeguarding

For some, it starts out on two wheels.

Every day, Vasyl Smolii uses two different routes when he bikes to and from work at the Belle View pool in Alexandria. Coming down the hill on Belle View Boulevard is an easy ride in the morning but going back up in the evening is not as easy on the bicycle Smolii rents from his sponsor High Sierra Pools, an Arlington-based pool management company. "I must buy this bike for the summer," said 19-year-old Smolii from Ukraine.

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Serving Families For 90 Years

Pushing the boundaries has led to success, says Northern Virginia Family Services CEO.

An organization does not thrive for 90 years by chance. Northern Virginia Family Services, a county institution, has impacted families throughout the region for nearly a century with no sign of slowing down.

Column: “CanSir”

When it comes to being a cancer patient, even more so a multi-year cancer survivor, I have always erred on the side of caution. And by caution, I mean being respectful to the disease, courteous of its comings and goings, mindful of its potential damage and afraid of its intangibles. And by intangibles, I mean the unexplained and the inexplicable, and most fearfully, its power and unpredictability. Therefore, my behavior toward it has been intended to be as polite as possible; never to be perceived – in any way imaginable – as arrogant, presumptuous, in control, all-knowing and most especially, victorious.

Editorial: Finally, Marriage Rights Protected in Virginia

On July 28, 2014, in affirming that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Circuit Judge Henry F. Floyd writes: “We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.



My Day at Fort Hunt

Fort Hunt Elementary is a joyful place.

School Notes for 1/1/14

School Notes for 1/1/14.

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Governor's Mansion, Confidential

Defense team in corruption case to detail crumbling McDonnell marriage.

When he takes the stand in his own defense, former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell will read jurors an email that he wrote to his wife as their marriage was said to be crumbling.

Thursday, July 24

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West Potomac Slugger Sara Showed Power Late in Sophomore Season

Q&A: Rising junior listens to Riff Raff, ASAP Rocky before games.

West Potomac rising junior Jamie Sara plans to play baseball in college.

Slugger Sara Showed Power Late in Sophomore Season

West Potomac rising junior listens to Riff Raff, ASAP Rocky before games.

West Potomac’s Jamie Sara found his power stroke late in his sophomore season, hitting five of his six home runs near the end of the 2014 campaign. Three of his homers came in a single game against South County.

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Pet Connection July 2014

Our readers submitted photos of their adorable pets.

Frodo and Sam have become best friends – sort of. My husband and I adopted Frodo from Home Alone Cat Rescue several years ago. He is part Maine Coon and part American Bobtail, with a funny short tail. He may have been mistreated by a previous owner because he is afraid of everything, especially ceiling fans. He quickly became comfortable in our home as an “only cat.”

Dogs, Cats and Even Horses

Humane Society of Fairfax County seeks adopters.

According to the Humane Society of the United States 2013 Annual Report, 118,328 animals were cared for last year by the Humane Society and its affiliates, through disaster relief, cruelty interventions, wildlife rehab centers and more. But that number doesn't count the local rescue groups around the country who work to protect, shelter, and rehabilitate animals and adopt them out to homes, including many in Northern Virginia.

Letter: Planners, Please Rescue Us

Letter to the Editor

Letter: Police Need Review Board

Letter to the Editor

Mount Vernon Crime Report

The following incidents were reported by the Mount Vernon District Police Station.

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Express Lanes, Rapid-Bus Transit Planned for I-66

Improvements will be made from Capital Beltway to Haymarket.

Express lanes and rapid-bus transit could be coming to Interstate 66, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on July 17.

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Give Blood, Give Back to Community

Paul VI student hosting blood drive in Clifton.

When Mitch Kiefer was 6, his 3-year-old brother Brent was diagnosed with leukemia. Brent recovered, but Kiefer remains committed to helping others suffering from similar illnesses. Now, Kiefer, a student at Paul VI Catholic School in Fairfax, is planning a second blood drive in Clifton in honor of his brother.

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Springfield Pet Store Shares Importance of Good Nutrition

Felix & Oscar provide natural pet food.

Nikki Logan and Matt O’Leary, employees of Felix & Oscar, a natural pet food store in Springfield, admit that their pets probably eat better than they do sometimes. “With all of the processed and artificial stuff that’s in fast food, I would definitely say yes,” Logan said.

Wednesday, July 23

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Across Northern Virginia, Men Pull Larger Paychecks than Women

Trend is more prominent in wealthier areas.

When Lola Arce de Quintela first moved to Oakton 20 years ago, she noticed something about the way men and women arranged their professional careers around their family lives in Northern Virginia. Men took high-powered jobs with large paychecks, while women often dropped out of the workforce to take care of growing families. If women had full-time jobs, she says, they would often select positions that were not as demanding so they could focus their time and attention on their children while husbands and fathers pulled in six-figure salaries.

A New Approach to Adoptions at AWLA

New Approach to Adoptions

People seeking to adopt animals from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria may notice some changes in the shelter's approach to adoptions. By partnering with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to evaluate its adoption process, AWLA discovered that some of its previous policies and procedures were likely screening out people who could have been great adopters.

Week in Alexandria: 7/23/14

Highlights of the week in Alexandria.

Boat Club, City Strike Deal

Land-swap concludes decades of feuding between the two organizations.

The feud between the Boat Club and the city dates back for decades, a conflict that involved the city threatening the use of eminent domain and the Boat Club winning a case against the city at the Virginia Supreme Court.

Letter: Waste of City Resources

Along with all Alexandria residents, I recently received in the mail a brochure from the Alexandria Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, Resource Recovery Division. The purpose of the brochure was to provide information about the city's trash collection and recycling.

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Puppies Destined for Important Work

Bred, donated and/or rescued for assistance dog training by, these "baby pictures" will be shared with the children and veterans matched with each dog.

Cross County Trail Renamed to Honor Connolly

“Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail” unveiled at ceremony in Lorton.

On National Trails Day on June 7, the Cross County Trail, which goes through each district in Fairfax County, was renamed to the “Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail” in honor of U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly’s work to build the trail.

Fairfax County Updates Green Building Policy

New policy is result of new technology for green rating systems.

The green building policy in Fairfax has been updated, requiring higher standards for residential, retail, office and other construction projects seeking approval for rezoning in the county.

Food Truck Changes Considered in Fairfax County

Public Hearings are July 30 and September 9

On June 17, the Board of Supervisors voted to move forward with a proposal to make changes to food truck regulations.

Archive Provides ‘Insight into the Reality of Segregation’

Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive dedicated at George Mason.

Civil Rights activists Edwin Henderson, Lillie Jessie and Ralph Smith joined numerous other Virginia residents who lived through the Civil Rights movement and provided their stories during a dedication ceremony for the Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive on July 7.

Give Blood, Give Back to Community

Paul VI Student Hosting Blood Drive in Clifton

Kiefer, a student at Paul VI Catholic School in Fairfax, is planning a second blood drive in Clifton in honor of his brother.

Julie’s Datery Debuts At Del Ray Farmers’ Market

Julie’s Datery began selling the dates at the Del Ray Farmers’ Market on Saturday, July 12.

Thursday, July 17

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Mount Vernon Nights

The Annandale Brass took the stage at Grist Mill Park to perform “A Slice of Americana” on Friday evening, July 11.

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FHYAA Names Jackson Casey Memorial Scholarship Winners

Clare Spitnale and Darien Pickett were named the winners of the 2014 Jackson Casey Memorial Scholarships, according to The Fort Hunt Youth Athletic Association. The two were selected from a pool of applicants, all of whom were asked to describe in 750-1,200 words the life lessons they learned through their participation in Fort Hunt youth athletics.

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Pierson-El Ready To Compete Against the Best

Versatile football star to play slot receiver, return kicks at University of Nebraska.

During his four years as a member of the West Potomac varsity football team, DeMornay Pierson-El helped the Wolverines capture a share of the 2011 Patriot District championship as a sophomore receiver, led the team to a playoff berth as a junior running back in 2012, and kept West Potomac competitive as a senior quarterback in 2013. He also played defensive back and returned kicks along the way. As a senior, he earned second-team all-state honors as a defensive utility player.

Police Seeks Suspects in ATM Scams

Detectives are asking for the public’s help in recognizing suspects linked to a series of compromised automatic teller machines (ATMs). Skimming devices were detected on at least four different ATMs across Fairfax County in recent weeks.

Commentary: Celebrating Huntley Meadows Wetland Restoration

On May 10, more than 60 people gathered on the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria to celebrate the recently completed wetland restoration project.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: June, 2014

In June 2014, 152 homes sold between $2,050,000-$107,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: June, 2014



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Saying Goodbye at Halley Elementary

School says goodbye to a ‘true humanitarian.’

Since Halley Elementary School opened in the 1990s, Phoebe Boatright has been at the school inspiring students and helping the Lorton community. This June, Boatright retired after 46 years in education. Students, staff and parents at Halley say they will miss Boatright, who worked as a counselor at the school.

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Expect HOV Lane Closures This Summer

Construction of 95 Express Lanes continues.

Drivers planning on using Interstate 95 to get to their vacation destination, or even just to get to work, should prepare for overnight and weekend HOV lane closures from Washington, D.C. to Dumfries as construction of the 95 Express Lanes continues.

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Celebrating the ‘Best of Braddock’

Braddock District residents honored for service.

From 10-year-old Rohil Bhinge, who helped raise funds to complete a handicap accessible playground, to Norma Heck, who was one of the first five homeowners of North Springfield in 1955, the Braddock District is full of exceptional citizens.

Fairfax School Board Elects Chairman, Vice Chair

Tamara Derenak Kaufax and Ted Velkoff elected to lead Board.

Tamara Derenak Kaufax (Lee District) and Ted Velkoff (at-large) were elected chairman and vice chair of the Fairfax County School Board on Thursday night, July 10, following an abstention from some members in the election of chairman. Both will serve in their positions for one year.

Obituary: James Milton Higgins

Alexandria native James Milton Higgins died on July 7, 2014, after a hale and hearty 90 years of life.

Wednesday, July 16

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West Potomac Grad Pierson-El Ready to Compete Against the Best

Q and A: Versatile football star to play slot receiver, return kicks at University of Nebraska.

West Potomac graduate DeMornay Pierson-El will play football at Nebraska.

Financial Education for College Students

Local experts offer budget tips to keep students out of debt.

As the summer wanes, many recent high school graduates are preparing to head to college. For those who are living away from home for the first time, this means newfound independence. But that freedom brings responsibility — especially when it comes to money.

Numbers Indicate Stable Market

June home listings climb, with slight dip in sales; average, median prices continue to inch up.

The Northern Virginia market recorded increased inventories, providing buyers with more choices. Nonetheless, buyers are challenged by affordability and accessing credit.

Between Halves

At present, July 12th, I’m halfway, approximately, between my last CT Scan which showed a previously unseen silver-dollar sized growth in my lower left lung and my next CT Scan scheduled for August 6th, one month earlier than my usual three-month interval in order to make an evaluation sooner rather than later; to determine if this is new growth or nothing more than old growth that is now visible due to the combination of shrinking tumors and dissipating fluid opening up the viewing area, so to speak. Apparently, the chemotherapy drug, Alimta, with which I’ve been infused every three weeks since last September appears to be doing its hoped-for job: shrinkage.

Eight FCPS Students Win College-Sponsored Merit Scholarships

Eight Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) graduates from the class of 2014 have been named winners of college-sponsored scholarships by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Recipients of college-sponsored scholarships from the NMSC, with their probable career fields in parentheses, are:

Inova Fairfax Hospital: #1 in D.C. Metro Area

For the third year in a row, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus has been ranked as the #1 Hospital in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area by U.S. News & World Report. Inova Fairfax also jumped in rankings to #2 in the state, and earned national recognition as #33 in the country in Gynecology and #42 in Neonatology. The annual U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, now in their 25th year, recognize hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients. “Three years in a row as #1 is an outstanding accomplishment and we are proud of our hospital’s dedicated physicians and staff who provide the best of care to our patients every day. I’d like to congratulate our staff, particularly within Inova Women’s and Children’s for their impressive and well-deserved national rankings,” said Patrick Christiansen, PhD, chief executive officer, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus.

Editorial: Save a Little, Help Others Prepare for School

Virginia’s tax holiday on school supplies is a good reminder to donate supplies and dollars for children who need help arriving at school prepared.

Virginia’s tax holiday on school supplies and clothing is Aug. 1-3, and it makes sense to take advantage of the savings, and to spread the wealth around.

Thursday, July 10

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School Board Decreases Suspension Time

Student Rights and Responsibilities revised.

Starting this fall, suspensions for certain student offenses in Fairfax County will decrease, thanks to a revision of the school system’s Student Rights and Responsibilities [SR&R]. The school board voted unanimously at the end of June to change the discipline handbook, which will now focus on in school suspensions to preserve time in school. Offenses that come with mandatory punishments are decreased under the updated handbook.

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Fairfax Updates Green Building Policy

New policy is result of new technology for green rating systems.

The green building policy in Fairfax has been updated, requiring higher standards for residential, retail, office and other construction projects seeking approval for rezoning in the county.

Wednesday, July 9

Classified Advertising July 9, 2014

Read the lastest ads here!

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A New Work Order

Local designers help create organized and stylish home offices.

Whether it’s a nook, in the kitchen or a designated room, a home office is the place were ideas come to life. Local designers dish about the secrets to creating a workspace that is organized and functional yet stylish. “You’re going to spend a lot of time in it so aesthetics do matter,” said Patricia Tetro of BOWA in McLean.

You Can Run, But You Can’t Win?

Fairfax County fires attorney for winning city council seat.

Like many lifelong City of Fairfax residents, Nancy Fry Loftus is proud of her hometown’s character and charm — a Norman Rockwell postcard of small-town life in the heart of an increasingly urban, diverse and bustling region.

Not That I’ll Ever Be Out, But…

“Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.” Although this quote is from Michael Corleone from “The Godfather: Part III,” it very much characterizes my daily struggle being a terminal cancer patient; non small cell lung cancer, NSCLC, is like that, almost always. Even though I don’t want to think about the fact that I have cancer, or not let it affect my judgment on life – or perspective; or let it impede my path to a happier existence, more often than not, it does.

Editorial: Hurray for Full Day Mondays

Hoping that later start times for high schoolers follows quickly.

For decades, Fairfax County schools have sent elementary school students home after half a day on Mondays. This was never a good idea, and it has been more damaging to family schedules and student learning with the increase over the years of two-income households and greater economic diversity.

Annual Flushing Program Begins Sunday

Virginia American Water has scheduled its annual hydrant flushing to begin in Alexandria on Sunday, April 6, through the end of May.

John Marshall Bank Hires Kerry Donley

Kerry Donley has joined John Marshall Bank’s team of banking leaders.

Celebrating Independence at Mount Vernon

An American Celebration at Mount Vernon honors nation’s independence with several historical activities.

George Washington (portrayed by actor Dean Malissa) welcomed guests to Mount Vernon estate the morning of July 4.

Sharing the World of Dragonflies

PJ Dunn, a naturalist at Huntley Meadows, powers up his presentation on Dragonflies and Damselflies, but "mostly dragonflies."

Letter: Conflicts of Interest

A letter to the editor

Letter: West Potomac Crew in Jeopardy

A letter to the editor

Letter: Restore Invasive Management Funds

A letter to the editor

‘About a Girl’ at Capital Fringe Fest

Play got its start and support from Little Theatre of Alexandria.

Sex, Drugs and Texas 1985 — What’s not to like? A lot if you’re abused, pregnant and still in high school. That pretty much sums up “About a Girl,” which is set in the fictionalized town of Highland, Texas, and dramatizes what happens when everything you have been taught about the world is challenged.

Deputy City Manager Evans to Retire

Deputy City Manager Michele R. Evans is retiring after three decades of service to the City of Alexandria, effective Aug. 1.

World Cup Fever

Area soccer coaches, players share 2014 World Cup viewing experiences.

Garza is among the local residents who have closely followed the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Tuesday, July 8

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World Cup Fever

Area soccer coaches, players share 2014 World Cup viewing experiences.

Area soccer players and coaches have followed the 2014 World Cup closely.

Commentary: County Falling Behind on Its Housing Goals

On June 9, the Residential Studio Committee of the Fairfax County Planning Commission voted to recommend that the review of the Zoning Ordinance Amendment for Residential Studio Units be tabled. This recommendation will be voted on by the full Planning Commission at its July 24 meeting and it is almost certain that it will be adopted. After months of committee hearings and community meetings throughout the county, the RSU amendment will be quietly put to rest.

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Commentary: Area Nonprofit Guides Entrepreneurs to Start-Up Success

For many working poor, the challenges of conquering the barriers to education, childcare and transportation are too great to overcome. Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), the nonprofit known for providing food and shelter, health and dental access, and Head Start programs for more than 36,000 local residents a year, also is working to alleviate poverty with its innovative entrepreneurship program.

Monday, July 7

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All-Star Baseball Tournaments Underway

District 9 All-Star Baseball Tournaments got underway on June 21 with Fort Hunt Little League fielding teams at the 10U, 11U, Majors, Intermediate and Juniors Divisions

National Competitor

In June Elizabeth Klein of Fort Hunt traded her graduation cap for a swim cap. Instead of walking across the stage and receiving her high school diploma, Elizabeth chose to attend the 2014 USA Special Olympic Games and swim for gold.

Wednesday, July 2

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July 4th Festivities in Fairfax County

A list of celebratory events taking place on July 4th.

A list of parades, fireworks and family-friendly events taking place this Friday, July 4.

Cheer Team Takes Top Honors at National Harbor

The Panther Cheer Club from Carl Sandburg Middle School in Alexandria took home top honors this weekend, March 29 and 30, at the annual Battle at the Capitol, a destination national performance cheerleading and dance championship.

Obituary: Heinz Kestermann

Heinz Kestermann, 83, died Feb. 15, 2014.

Focusing on Children with Autism

We recognize this Wednesday, April 2, as World Autism Day, taking a moment to raise awareness around the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S. Autism incidence in the U.S., and in Northern Virginia in particular, is reaching astounding levels.

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Full-Day Mondays Start in September

Teachers promised planning time.

Full-day Mondays for all. After 40 years, Fairfax County Public Schools will give all elementary students "full Mondays" for more learning time — and more recess. During a School Board meeting Thursday, June 26, Superintendent Karen Garza said Mondays were cut in half for elementary students since 1972. "While not everyone tonight will embrace the change, we will engage the stakeholders," she told the board.

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Climate Change Could Affect Drinking Water

Residents could see — and smell — a very different Potomac River by 2040.

Drinking cups of clear tap water could be a luxury people are less likely to take for granted in the near future as climate-change culprits affect the waterways — and water bills.

This Week in Alexandria

Highlights of this week in Alexandria.

St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School Graduates 119

The St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School Class of 2014 was collectively accepted to more than 170 colleges and universities, including 12 Ivy League acceptances.

Along the Postal Route

Mario Viray had already been at the post office for almost two hours pulling down the mail, which is sorting the first class mail into his 400 metal dividers with addresses. This constituted his delivery units for Route 105 in Rosemont.

Renovated Courts at Montgomery Park Open to Public

The courts at Montgomery Park are open to the public again after a major renovation.

Wild Horses and Burros Visit Lorton

Adoption event is one of many across the country.

Typical dog owners may not think of comparing their furry companion to a wild horse or burro, but the comparison isn’t too far-fetched.

Look Out Below

I think I know what a rampaging bull feels like; and I don’t mean one on Wall Street, either. I mean one in the figurative sense: when one has a need, an overwhelming, unstoppable-type urge, to scratch that itch, to gratify that which has been delayed. What am I talking about? (You sound like my wife, Dina.) I am talking about food. More specifically, I am talking about a side effect I’ve been experiencing of late from the chemotherapy drug Alimta, with which I’ve been infused every three weeks since late September, 2013 (successfully I may add, given the shrinkage noted in my most recent CT Scan).

UCM-Battelle Awards Scholarships to Local Graduates

United Community Ministries-Battelle Scholars for 2014 are funded by a grant from Battelle. The competitive college scholarships are designed to encourage low-income graduating high school seniors at Mount Vernon High and West Potomac High Schools to pursue college studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

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'Service Above Self'

Rotary Club contributes $90,000 to local nonprofits.

The Rotary Club of Alexandria, in partnership with the Alexandria Day Nursery and Children's Home, continued its decades-long tradition of awarding grants to local nonprofit organizations with the presentation of more than $90,000 to 32 organizations at the annual Contributions Day luncheon June 17 at Belle Haven Country Club.

Focusing on Financial Planning

Estate planning is a strategic process that pairs your ability to take care of your loved ones’ futures while at the same time taking care of yourself.

Just Another Day in Jail

Once again, the William G. Truesdale Detention Center in Alexandria provides the best housing and security for another alleged international terrorist.

New Deputy Chiefs at Police Department

Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook has recently promoted Tammy Hooper and Dianne Gittins from the rank of Captain to Deputy Chief of Police, effective immediately.

City Seeks Public Comment on Renaming of Park

The City of Alexandria is seeking public comment on a proposal to rename 1 & 7 East Del Ray Avenue Pocket Park, located at the intersection of E. Del Ray and Commonwealth Avenues, the Judy Lowe Pocket Park.

Changing Climate In Richmond

THE GOVERNOR announced the new commission Tuesday in Virginia Beach on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, where the governor signed Executive Order 19, convening the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission.